A Troll in the Woods

(updated summer 2020 with new location!)

A fun walk for families and adults alike to the Breckenridge troll awakens your child-like adventure and rewards you with imagination and intrigue. And it’s fairly easy and short. After visiting the Troll, you might want to enjoy the other trails that lead around it.

The Breckenridge troll’s name is Isak Heartsong, and he was fashioned by Danish artist Thomas Dambo. Together with volunteers who gathered scrap wood, Dambo created this 20-foot giant that has a kind heart made of stone. It sits in a rock quarry, gathering stones and creating beautiful cairns to balance against the back drop of pine and aspen.

He didn’t survive his first location (see that info below.) Too much success and too many tourists trampled his first neighborhood, prompting the Breck residents to request his new location. So, being a good Troll, he moved.

New Troll Location

Isak is easily found Instead just to the southeast of downtown Breckenridge. You can get there through a variety of ways. Technically, there is no parking at the Troll, but we’ve always managed to park doing off-peak times. Because of this, it’s best to walk or take public transit.

Once you get to the trailhead for Isak, the trail itself is very easy. Much of it is elevated or along rock. It is not maintained in the winter, so you may need traction devices on your shoes. The total loop to Isak is no more than 1/2 mile.

Transit to the Troll

Hop on the Breck Free Ride for an easy ride to the Trollstigen Trailhead. This is also a good way to see other places in Breck without having to worry about parking. If you must park, park at South/North Gondola Lots and F-Lot. During peak, the lots fill by 10:00am. For the best experience which also includes free parking, you’ll want to park in the Satellite Lot via I-70 and ride the Breck Free Ride into town. The Breck Free bus leaves from the Gondola regularly to see Isak.

Walk to Isak

With heated walkways, LED crosswalks, and pathways from downtown Breck to Isak, it’s an easy 15-minute walk.

From the Welcome Center at 203 S Main St, head south toward Peak 9. Take a left at Boreas Pass. Pass Railroad Park. The Trollstigen Trailhead is in the southeast corner of the Stephen C West Ice Arena at the Illinois Gulch trailhead. Point your GPS to 189 Boreas Pass Rd, Breckenridge, CO 80424. Follow the Troll foot prints.

After Saying Hi to Isak, Hike!

Before heading back into town, take advantage of the other trailheads at Isak. You can head along the creek, ove a small mountain, and into the woods for another couple of miles. We found this cool shelter, or maybe it was more art?, right along the Illinois Creek Low trail. Once you’ve worked up a bit of an appetite, head back into town.

What Trolls Eat

When you’re finished enjoying this heart-warming giant, his wickedly delicious stick hair style, and his charming grin, head back along the trail. Either walk into town for another couple of miles, or drive to Main Street and grab some lunch. The best bite in town? The mac n cheese at The Canteen, which *I’m sure* is what Isak would eat. It’s troll-ific.

———–Old Information Below———–

Old Location Information and Pictures Are Below

A fun walk for families and adults alike to the Breckenridge troll awakens your child-like adventure and rewards you with imagination and intrigue. And it’s fairly easy and short.

New directions!–>All you need to do is hike or bike from the Breckenridge Welcome Center to the Illinois Gulch trailhead on the south end of Breckenridge and head off.

A bonus! Watch this video of the previous approach.

There’s a place recommended below to catch some great lunch at where I’m sure Isak would eat if he were to get hungry.


Getting to the Breckenridge Troll (previous description)

These are the directions to the old site. The undulating trail of less than a mile starts across from Breckenridge’s bike park next to the Wellington neighborhood. Signs easily point the way (“This way to the troll!”) down the East Wellington trail whose trailhead is across from the bike park. Parking is easy. Point your GPS to 710 Wellington Road, Breckenridge (off Stables Rd. and behind the Breckenridge Equestrian Center).

Troll Trail Conditions (previously)

Head on the trail toward the neighborhood and away from the bike park through an aspen grove (best for fall color in September!), across a stone path, through a pine forest, and into a rock quarry. Follow the “Troll this way” signs all the way around the piles of rock until you see Isak’s head popping up through tall cairns and rock piles.

You may need to take your turn to take a picture. In the meantime, scramble the piles, do a bit of mini-bouldering, and get your hands and clothes covered in fine clay silt. Or just wait your turn, stay clean, and take your selfie. See if you can get an angle that no one else has yet enjoyed.

Enjoy your walk to the Breckenridge Troll, and post your pictures below. What did you like best about the Breckenridge troll walk?

~See you on the trail


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handsome hiking couple

Chris and Steve, the empty-nesting nomads, travel the world, one month at a time, housesitting and Airbnbing along the way. We uncover urban walks, great hikes, and vegan/vegetarian eats that other guide books miss. And we throw in a bit about Forex trading along the way.

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