Living in Frisco: A Real Estate and Lifestyle Guide to Frisco, Colorado

A charming burg popular with families largely because of its excellent schools

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The first question that comes to mind—isn’t there already a town of Frisco on a bay in California? Yes, there is and that turns out to be a good story.

A train route to run from St. Louis to San Francisco was in the planning stages in 1880. In a marketing ploy, the town hung a sign, “Frisco City,” to convince railroad engineers to incorporate a stop here. The train never came but the name stuck.

Frisco hasn’t lost its spunk. The small town of 3,000 residents calls itself “Main Street of the Rockies” and the quaint downtown is indeed a slice of Americana. Ringed by soaring mountains, Frisco offers purple mountain majesty, family fun, great dining, music venues at an affordable price, with home prices topping out in the US$1 million to US$3 million range.

No ski resort: No problem

There is no Frisco ski resort but here is the reality. World-class skiing at Copper Mountain is all of 7 minutes away. Breckenridge is 15 minutes with Keystone and the Loveland areas a whopping 20-minute drive. The resorts plus Frisco are served by a free bus service that loops through all the destinations every 30 minutes or so.

More fun to be had right in town

First a shout out to the Frisco Adventure Park. In winter, it is a delightfully old school and kid-friendly facility with multiple undulating tubing lanes of snow descending some 1,200 feet with a people mover, similar to those see in airports, taking families back to the top of the hill again and again. The terrain is also ideal for toddler skiers and folks looking to get their “ski legs” back before tackling the neighboring terrain. Come summer, mountain bikers take over.

And more:

  • Frisco’s Nordic Center

Located just minutes from Main Street, the center has 19 miles of trails for skate skiing and classic cross-country with an additional six miles for snowshoeing. There is no fat-tire biking allowed here, but head on over to Breckenridge’s facility to pedal away.

  • Peak Trails

A difficult 15-mile-out-and-back to Breckenridge for hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers, featuring stands of Aspens, gurgling creeks, and lovely Rainbow Lake. The lake is a pleasant two-mile stroll from downtown Frisco if breaking a sweat isn’t on the day’s agenda. Keep an eye out for moose and amazing birdlife. More ambitious hikers can bag the peak of Mount Royal, the regal mountain sentry overlooking town. This is a steep leg-burner but the views from the top are worth the oxygen deprivation. Dogs are welcome on these trails.

  • Frisco Bay Marina

Part of the 3,300-acre Dillion Reservoir, the marina is located on the eastern end of Frisco’s Main Street and certified “clean” by the state for offering environmentally-friendly boat and paddling sports. There’s no swimming, but there is a sandy beach and waterside dining.

  • Speaking of dining

This small town offers big dining. Vinny’s serves up pasta, yes, but is acclaimed for Chef Vincent’s gourmet farm-to-table creations of locally sourced meats and vegetables. Rocky Mountain Coffee Roasters has been around for just shy of 20 years and Bread+Salt is the town’s breakfast nook of choice.

Schools Rule in Summit County

The Frisco Public School System is top rated. Summit County also offers the Peak School, a private academy based in Frisco, with small class sizes and the outdoors as its classroom.

Neighborhood Watch: Bill’s Ranch

Arguably, Frisco’s most unique and historic enclave is Bill’s Ranch, a five-minute walk from vibrant Main Street yet nestled in the mountains and laced with paved bike paths and bucolic trailheads. Lot sizes here vary to as large as two acres. Here you will find new construction priced as high as US$3 million, co-existing with more modest historic structures. It also backs up to Mount Royal Mountain and Peak One, with its system of hiking and mountain-biking trails.

The area got its name when the mining boom went bust and the town’s population plummeted to 10. One of the holdouts was dairy farmer Bill Taylor. In order to create buyers for his milk, he offered free land and a cabin to wealthy Denver families. There weren’t many takers. Fortunately, one was the Reverend Dexheimer, who was as persuasive as he was religious, and he convinced six other hardy families to venture to the 147-acre Bill’s Ranch.

There was no plat. Newcomers claimed one of five cabins or any building spot that appealed to them. The neighborhood still retains that freewheeling vibe without reams of strict homeowner association restrictions. The result remains a charming mix of old and new.

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