Colorado Resort Free Summer Lift Rides
Copper Mountain, one of Summit County, Colorado’s 4 ski resorts, offers free daily chairlift rides to 11,375 feet. Bikes can be taken for $15, and lunch is available.
There are 4 major ski resorts in Summit County, just an hour’s drive from Denver, Colorado. All four offer bargain summer chairlift or gondola rides, and one of them, Copper Mountain, provides chairlift rides free of charge.
Copper Mountain Resort Near Frisco, Colorado
Copper Mountain Resort is just 5 miles west of Frisco on Interstate 70. Although skiing is still the primary attraction at Colorado’s high mountain destinations, they are increasingly broadening their activities to appeal to year-round visitors as well. Copper Mountain is no exception.
In addition to chairlift rides, Copper Mountain offers championship golf, miniature golf, go-kart rides, Quad power jump, horseback riding, road and mountain biking, hiking and a climbing wall. A wide variety of accommodations are available, and the resort also hosts Guitar Town, a 2-day free concert that features some of the best guitar players in the country.
American Eagle Chairlift
Located near the Mountain Adventure Center, the American Eagle Chairlift starts at an elevation just under 10,000 feet. Riders must have tickets, but these are available free of charge during the summer at the next door Adventure Center’s Guest Services desk. The lift consists of 4-person chairs, and the ride to the top takes about 10 minutes. The scenery is spectacular, and riders will want to bring their cameras. The lift operates from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm daily, weather permitting.
The chairlift delivers passengers to a developed area at 11,375 feet. There is a restaurant, the Solitude Station BBQ, which serves hamburgers, soups, and pizza, mostly under $10. Soft drinks, beer and wine are also available, and lunch can be enjoyed on tables under the pines. Gray Jays are plentiful in the area and will try to sample your lunch.
Halleluja Self Guided Nature Trail
Just above the chairlift station, a short road leads to the Hallelujah self-guided interpretive nature trail. The one-mile trail leads up through conifers to a talus slope where hikers can spot Golden-mantled ground squirrels, Yellow-bellied marmots and Pikas, as well as a variety of birds. Wildflowers are also abundant throughout the area.
The marmots, which spend most of their life hibernating through the long high mountain winters, are active in July and August, eating and storing up fat. The hampster-like Picas, or “rock rabbits”, on the other hand, do not hibernate, and spend the summer collecting grasses for their long winter meals.
Birds likely to be encountered on the trail include Gray Jays, Mountain Chickadees, Swainson’s Thrush, Dark-eyed Juncos, and Northern Flickers.
Interpretive signs along the way describe the history of the area (Ute Indians lived in the valley for 6,000 years until the discovery of gold forced them onto reservations), and provide information about the wildlife.
Using the Copper Mountain Chairlift to Access Biking Trails
There are a number of trails down the mountain reserved for bicycles and “Digglers”, and bicyclists can have their bikes carried to the top for $15. The Mountain Adventure Center rents “Digglers” for $15 per hour or $27 for 3 hours. A “Diggler” is a bicycle-sized scooter that can be used by riders on the bicycle trails, and the rental fee includes free transportation of the scooter on the chairlift.
The bicycle trails are rated easy, intermediate and advanced terrain. Helmets are required for all wheeled use of the trails, and are provided with rentals.
Summer Adventures at Copper Mountain Ski Resort
Colorado’s ski resorts are quickly becoming year-round tourist destinations, offering everything from mountain biking to concerts. Copper Mountain, just an hour’s drive from Denver, provides a wide range of summertime activities. Free use of the American Eagle chairlift for hikers, bikers, and sightseers is an added incentive to visit.