Breckenridge Troll Hike: Full Guide 2023

In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the Breckenridge Troll Hike, one of the most popular hikes in Summit County.


Let’s get started.

Sign for the trailhead
Sign for the trailhead

Two Different Breckenridge Troll Hikes

There are a couple of different routes you can take to reach the Breckenridge Troll, Isak Heartstone.


Here are the two popular options:

Illinois Gulch Trailhead

This is the most common and direct route to reach the Breckenridge Troll. The trail starts at the Illinois Gulch Trailhead, located at the end of Illinois Gulch Road off Boreas Pass Road.


  • Distance: Approximately 0.8 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation gain: Minimal
  • Directions: From Breckenridge, head south on Main Street, turn onto Boreas Pass Road, and then turn left onto Illinois Gulch Road. The trailhead is at the end of the road.


From the trailhead, follow the well-marked path through the forest. You will come across a few wooden bridges before reaching Isak Heartstone. This route is suitable for hikers of all ages and abilities.


Iowa Hill Trailhead

For a slightly longer and more scenic hike, you can start from the Iowa Hill Trailhead. This route takes you on a loop that includes the Trollstigen Trail and part of the Illinois Gulch Trail.


  • Distance: Approximately 2 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Elevation gain: Moderate
  • Directions: From Breckenridge, head north on Main Street, turn left onto Wellington Road, and then turn left onto Royal Tiger Road. The trailhead is on the left side of the road.


From the Iowa Hill Trailhead, follow the trail uphill and make a left onto Trollstigen Trail. Continue on Trollstigen until it intersects with the Illinois Gulch Trail. Turn left onto the Illinois Gulch Trail, and you’ll soon come across the Breckenridge Troll. To complete the loop, continue on the Illinois Gulch Trail until it reconnects with the Iowa Hill Trail, then follow it back to the trailhead.


Both of these routes offer a pleasant hike through the beautiful Breckenridge landscape and lead you to the enchanting Isak Heartstone. Choose the one that best suits your preferences and enjoy your adventure!

breckenridge troll
Breckenridge Troll

What To Expect from the Hike?

The Breckenridge Troll Hike is an enchanting and unique experience that takes you on a journey through the scenic forests of Breckenridge, Colorado.


This magical hike leads you to the famous “Isak Heartstone,” a 15-foot tall wooden troll sculpture created by Danish artist Thomas Dambo in 2018.


Here’s what you can expect from this whimsical adventure:

1. Natural Beauty

As you embark on the trail, you’ll be surrounded by the natural beauty of Breckenridge’s stunning landscape. You’ll hike through lush pine forests, cross charming wooden bridges, and marvel at the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.


2. Art and Creativity

The highlight of the hike is undoubtedly meeting Isak Heartstone, the gentle giant who resides in the woods. This impressive work of art, crafted from recycled materials, will captivate your imagination and spark a sense of wonder. Take time to appreciate Dambo’s intricate craftsmanship and the message of sustainability behind his creation.


3. Photo Opportunities

Don’t forget to bring your camera! The Breckenridge Troll Hike offers numerous photo opportunities, including pictures with Isak Heartstone himself. Capture the memories of your adventure and share them with friends and family.


4. Wildlife Spotting

Keep an eye out for the local wildlife that calls the area home. You might spot squirrels, chipmunks, or even deer along the trail. Remember to respect their habitat by observing from a distance and not feeding the animals.


5. Trail Etiquette

Ensure that you follow proper trail etiquette during your hike. Stay on the designated path, pack out any trash, and be respectful of other hikers enjoying the experience.


6. Nearby Attractions

Once you’ve completed the Breckenridge Troll Hike, take time to explore the nearby attractions. The town of Breckenridge offers a variety of activities, including shopping, dining, and outdoor adventures like skiing, mountain biking, and more.

Building of the troll
Building of the troll

Where Is Breckenridge Troll? Location/Directions

Isak Heartstone, the Breckenridge Troll, is located in Breckenridge, Colorado, near the Illinois Gulch Trailhead.


Here are the directions to reach the troll:


Directions to Illinois Gulch Trailhead:

  1. From downtown Breckenridge, head south on Main Street.
  2. Turn left onto Boreas Pass Road (County Road 10).
  3. Continue on Boreas Pass Road for approximately 0.7 miles.
  4. Turn left onto Illinois Gulch Road. You will see a sign for the trailhead.
  5. Drive to the end of Illinois Gulch Road, where you will find a small parking area and the Illinois Gulch Trailhead.


Once you have reached the Illinois Gulch Trailhead, follow the well-marked trail through the forest for about 0.4 miles. The path will lead you across a few wooden bridges before reaching Isak Heartstone, the Breckenridge Troll.


Keep in mind that parking at the trailhead is limited, so it may be a good idea to arrive early or use alternative transportation like biking or walking from town if you’re staying nearby.

Other creations by the artist Thomas Dambo
Other creations by the artist Thomas Dambo

Best time to visit Breckenridge Troll

The best time to visit the Breckenridge Troll depends on your personal preferences and the type of experience you’re looking for.


Here are some suggestions based on different times of the year:

Spring (April – June)

Spring is a beautiful time to visit the Breckenridge Troll, as the snow begins to melt and the area starts to come alive with budding trees and blooming wildflowers. The trails may be muddy or slushy during this time, so make sure to wear appropriate footwear.


Summer (July – August)

Summer is an excellent time to visit the troll, as the weather is typically warm and sunny, and the trails are dry and easy to navigate. This is also the busiest time of year in Breckenridge, so expect more crowds on the trails and at the troll. Visiting early in the morning or late afternoon can help you avoid the busiest times.


Fall (September – October)

Fall brings cooler temperatures and stunning foliage to Breckenridge, making it a picturesque time to visit Isak Heartstone. The changing colors of the aspen trees create a magical backdrop for the troll. Be prepared for cooler temperatures, especially in the mornings and evenings.


Winter (November – March)

Winter visits to the Breckenridge Troll can be a bit more challenging due to snow and ice on the trails. However, if you’re comfortable with winter hiking and properly equipped with warm clothing and appropriate footwear (such as snowshoes or microspikes), a visit during this time can be a unique and peaceful experience. Be aware that daylight hours are shorter, and temperatures can be quite cold.

Breckenridge Troll City
Breckenridge City

Fun Facts About Isak Heartstone

Isak Heartstone is a fascinating and enchanting work of art that has captured the hearts of many visitors.

Here are some fun facts about this unique wooden troll sculpture:

  • Created by Thomas Dambo: Isak Heartstone was designed and built by renowned Danish artist Thomas Dambo, who is known for creating large-scale sculptures using reclaimed and recycled materials.


  • Made from recycled wood: The sculpture is constructed primarily from scrap wood, including pallets, fallen trees, and construction debris, highlighting the importance of sustainability and repurposing materials.


  • 15 feet tall: Isak Heartstone stands at an impressive height of 15 feet, making him a gentle giant that visitors can’t help but admire.


  • Originally built in 2018: The Breckenridge Troll was first constructed in 2018 as part of the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts. However, due to its popularity and the impact on the surrounding neighborhood, it was dismantled and later rebuilt in its current location near the Illinois Gulch Trailhead in 2019.


  • Inspired by Scandinavian folklore: Isak Heartstone’s design is inspired by the trolls found in Scandinavian folklore. These mythical creatures were believed to live in the forests and mountains, often guarding treasures or causing mischief.


  • Name meaning: The name “Isak Heartstone” has a special meaning. “Isak” is a common Scandinavian name, while “Heartstone” refers to the large stone heart-shaped centerpiece incorporated into the sculpture, symbolizing love, compassion, and the connection between humans and nature.


  • Part of a global family: Isak Heartstone is one of several similar troll sculptures created by Thomas Dambo around the world. These sculptures can be found in locations such as Denmark, South Korea, and Puerto Rico, among others.


These fun facts add to the charm and allure of Isak Heartstone, making a visit to the Breckenridge Troll an unforgettable experience for all ages.

The Lodge at Breckenridge
The Lodge at Breckenridge

Hours & Entrance Fees

The Breckenridge Troll, Isak Heartstone, is located on public land and is accessible to visitors free of charge. There is no entrance fee required to visit the troll or hike the surrounding trails.


As for the hours, since it’s an outdoor attraction in a public area, there are no specific opening or closing times. However, it’s recommended to visit during daylight hours to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Early morning or late afternoon visits can help you avoid the busiest times, especially during the peak summer season.


Keep in mind that parking at the Illinois Gulch Trailhead is limited, so it’s a good idea to arrive early or consider alternative transportation like biking or walking from town if you’re staying nearby.

DoubleTree by Hilton Breckenridge
DoubleTree by Hilton Breckenridge

Accommodations near Breckenridge Troll

Breckenridge offers a variety of accommodations to suit different budgets and preferences.


Here are some options for luxury, mid-budget, and budget-friendly accommodations near the Breckenridge Troll:


The Lodge at Breckenridge

Address: 112 Overlook Dr, Breckenridge, CO 80424

Perched high on a ridge with stunning mountain views, this boutique hotel offers upscale rooms and suites, a spa, on-site dining, and complimentary shuttle service to downtown Breckenridge.



DoubleTree by Hilton Breckenridge

Address: 550 Village Road, Breckenridge, CO 80424

This comfortable hotel features well-appointed rooms, an indoor pool, hot tubs, a fitness center, on-site dining, and is within walking distance to the ski lifts and downtown area.



The Wayside Inn

Address: 165 Tiger Rd, Breckenridge, CO 80424

This budget-friendly inn offers simple yet comfortable rooms, some with kitchenettes, and is located a short drive from downtown Breckenridge and the ski area.

Remember to check the availability and current rates for these accommodations, as they may vary depending on the time of your visit.

Breckenridge Troll

Btw: have you already been to the amazing Everglades and Francis S Taylor Management Area, or to Lake Haiyaha? No? You definitely should!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is The Breckenridge Troll Still Open?

Yes, the Breckenridge Troll, known as Isak Heartstone, is still open and can be visited year-round. The troll was initially built in 2018, then dismantled and relocated to its current location near the Illinois Gulch Trailhead in 2019.


Where Is The Breckenridge Troll?

Isak Heartstone is located near the Illinois Gulch Trailhead in Breckenridge, Colorado. The troll is situated along the Trollstigen Trail, which starts from the trailhead at 1001 Boreas Pass Road, Breckenridge, CO 80424.


How Long Is The Breckenridge Troll Hike?

The hike to the Breckenridge Troll is relatively short and easy. From the Illinois Gulch Trailhead, the round-trip hike to the troll along the Trollstigen Trail is approximately 0.8 miles (1.3 kilometers) with minimal elevation gain.


Can You Bring A Dog On The Hike?

Yes, dogs are allowed on the Trollstigen Trail leading to the Breckenridge Troll. However, it’s important to keep your dog on a leash and clean up after them to ensure the area remains clean and enjoyable for all visitors.


How Many Trolls Are In Breckenridge?

There is currently one troll in Breckenridge – Isak Heartstone. This wooden sculpture is part of a series of similar troll sculptures created by Danish artist Thomas Dambo, which can be found in various locations around the world.

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