It’s one of Colorado’s most unique attractions: the Breckenridge Troll. Both young and old, this wooden masterpiece is winning hearts for all who visit. It’s nestled in the trees of the Rocky Mountains and is a fun adventure for those who wish to see him.
The troll in Breckenridge is a noteworthy stop whether you’re planning a vacation in Breckenridge or you’re on an epic Colorado road trip.
If you’re wondering how to get to the Breckenridge Troll, who made it, what there is to do in the area and if it’s worth it, this guide is for you!
First, an introduction…
Meet Isak Heartstone – the Breckenridge Troll
The Breckenridge Troll, named Isak Heartstone, was created by Thomas Dambo, a Danish artist. He’s built over 50 other trolls around the world, all made out of scrap materials. The artist wants to help people understand the value of recycling, using scrap wood from the local area to create Isak.
Originally created in August 2018 for the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts. Isak’s first home was near a trailhead in a neighborhood. But because of his quick rise in popularity, it brought a lot of heavy traffic to a quiet neighborhood so the troll was taken down in November of 2018.
The city of Breckenridge (or Breck, as the locals call it) found a new home for him in 2019, and Thomas Dambo returned to reconstruct Isak at his current home.
Breckenridge Troll location
Just south of downtown, the Breckenridge Troll is located at the Trollstigen Trail in Breckenridge.
If you’re wondering how to get to the Breckenridge Troll, it’s pretty easy. Isak Heartstone is about a mile from the lively downtown area.
While official city directions will tell you to walk or bike to the troll from the Welcome Center, it’s not necessarily easy or accessible for everyone to do so. If you’re traveling with small children, the walk uphill for almost a mile in high altitude is wearing. I highly recommend the alternative method listed below.
If you are up for an adventure and you do walk to the troll, you can park somewhere downtown and use the GPS on your phone to navigate to the Breckenridge ice arena. The trailhead is at the end of the parking lot.
If you’re into mountain biking or have bikes available to you through your vacation property, you can bike to the troll, too! Again, use GPS to navigate to the ice arena.
Easiest way to get to the Breckenridge Troll
The best directions to the Breckenridge Troll is to take a free shuttle from downtown, which is what I highly recommend! Parking in most places in downtown is cheap – from $1/hour to $5 for the day, depending on the location. Then hop on the free shuttle!
Free Ride Breckenridge Main Street Trolley runs every 30 minutes from 11:12 am to 7:42 pm. (As of the publish date of this article.) Check trolley schedule and pick up info for your vacation.
Parking near the troll of Breckenridge
If you park downtown, I’d recommend finding street parking or one of the many parking lots. If you navigate to the Breck Welcome Center, there’s plenty of parking in the lots just to the southwest.
Alternatively, you can park near the BreckConnect Gondola, which is a short walk to the free trolley pick-up, or a longer hike to the troll. Pay attention to parking meters signs on how to pay to park.
Note: There is a parking lot near the troll of Breckenridge, but most of the lot is reserved for the nearby ice arena and the Illinois Creek Trail. (The Trollstigen Trail and Illinois Creek Trail begin at the same spot.)
So can you park near the Trollstigen Trail? Yes. If there’s space. Keep in mind to follow local laws and signage, and respect the local community.
Breckenridge Troll hike
Once you get to the Trollstigen trailhead, it’s just an easy .25 mile stroll to see Isak Heartstone. The Breckenridge troll hike is more of a stroll! (Ha!)
The Trollstigen Trail is one-way to allow a good flow of heavy traffic. So as you enter stay to the right and follow signs to the troll.
The troll hike in Breckenridge is relatively flat, and is a mix of dirt, stone pavers and wooden planks. During summer and when the weather is dry, the hike should be accessible to wheelchairs, strollers or most other mobility accommodations.
The hike may be tricky for wheels if the trail is muddy.
Troll in Breckenridge during winter
Some say Isak likes the snow, and others say the photos near him are even better with a white blanket of snow surrounding him.
With that in mind, the city of Breckenridge does not clear the snow from the trail in the winter. So use caution if you’re planning to see the troll of Breckenridge when there’s snow on the ground.
Best time to see the troll of Breckenridge
Good news! The famous Breckenridge wooden troll is open 24/7 and is free to the public.
Keep in mind it’s a big tourist attraction so there’s often musicians or artists near the Trollstigen Trail for entertainment. Might want to keep a few dollar bills handy.
Because it’s the area’s top outdoor public art exhibit, it can get very busy. If you can go during a weekday, it will ensure less crowds to see the troll. Otherwise, try visiting the troll in early mornings or later in the evenings when there’s less congestion in the area.
Tips for visiting the Isak Heartstone Troll
To ensure you have an awesome time visiting Isak, follow these tips:
- Stay on the trail to help preserve the ecosystem within the forest.
- Follow the leave no trace principles. Anything you take with you to the troll, be sure to take back out.
- Be aware of local wildlife and do not feed the animals. Keep wild animals wild by not feeding them or trying to touch them. It can change their behavior and create dangerous conditions for humans and animals alike.
- Do not climb on the troll. There are signs with that reminder, but let’s all do our part to preserve Isak by not climbing or sitting on him.
- Have fun taking photos! You can climb the hillside behind him to come under his arm for some fun shots.
- Be patient and wait your turn on the hiking path and while taking photos. Just be kind. 🙂
- You’ll need less than an hour to visit to the Breckenridge Troll. Add extra time in your day to get there based on your transportation and parking preferences.
- Bikes are not allowed on the trail. Leave them at the entrance as they’re not permitted to go on the trail.
- Dogs are allowed on the trail – and in pics with Isak! Just be sure to pick up after your dog and don’t let your dog climb (or pee) on him. Oh, and leashes are required in Breck so follow that rule too.
Things to do in the area
There’s so much to do in Breck, with a few attractions near the troll.
Hike the Illinois Creek Trail (immediately next to the Breckenridge Troll trail)
The trailhead starts at the same spot as the Trollstigen Trail, so if you have a bit more time and are wearing comfortable walking shoes, you could hike the trail. It features a river as you walk the trail. If you’re up for a little more adventure, you can hike to the top of Little Mountain for amazing views of Breck.
High Line Railroad Park & Museum
Kids and train-lovers will enjoy visiting this fun attraction, located right next to the ice arena. It’s just a short walk from Isak Heartstone. The small museum is full of history on trains first coming through Breckenridge. A train-themed park is adjacent to the museum for little kids to get their wiggles out.
If you’re parking and walking, biking or trolleying to the troll, then visiting Downtown Breck is an absolute must! Grab some ice cream after a long walk – or local brews! Take a ghost tour, shop for vacation souvenirs or grab a meal in the downtown area. So fun!
Here’s more things to do in Breckenridge in summer to round out your vacation plans.
The Giant Troll welcomes you!
The artist, Thomas Dambo, built the Breckenridge Troll and with the city’s support, all are welcomed to see this cool troll in the Colorado mountains. This guide has walked you through how to get there, the history of Isak and many more tips for seeing the troll.
Have fun at one of Colorado’s most unique attractions: the troll in Breckenridge!
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