Do I Need 4WD for Travel to Breckenridge?

by | Oct 28, 2023 | Winter

What You Need to Know About Traveling to Breckenridge

Got a ski trip to Breckenridge planned this 2023-2024 ski season? Incoming guests often ask “Do we need a 4WD in the winter to access our vacation rental?” The answer is important and the fix can be simple!

The vacation home driveway is a common place to get stuck when snow and ice are on the ground, even though all vacation homes are plowed with each new storm that drops at least 3-4 inches on the ground.

HOWEVER, it’s very important to understand that the driveway is only one small part of your vacation in Breckenridge. In-town roads and highways can quickly turn into scenes of winter travel disaster during a snowstorm. Cars in ditches, cars with spinning tires and cars sliding backwards are not uncommon scenarios in the winter months for drivers who are not prepared!

The safest and easiest way to travel to/from the high country is to use the shuttle service if possible, but if you plan to drive yourself, you MUST HAVE a 4WD/AWD vehicle or traction devices on hand.

It’s important to note that it’s also illegal to travel on the highways without 4WD/AWD, snow tires or chains any time the Traction Law goes into effect. Is is pretty much guaranteed that any time snow starts to fall on I-70, the traction law will go into effect. See below for more Colorado Traction Law information.

Are you planning to fly into DIA and rent a vehicle for travel up from Denver? You need to be aware that most rental car companies do not have an entire fleet of vehicles with 4WD/AWD, and they most definitely do not have snow tires on their vehicles. They may tell you the vehicle has all-season tires, but those are not the same as snow tires.

If you are traveling to Breckenridge in the winter in a vehicle that is not 4WD/AWD, here are some options:

  1. Take a shuttle from DIA to your vacation home. Summit Express and Peak One are just two of the companies offering shuttle transportation for approximately $65/person one way. If your vacation home is on a free bus route, you can visit Breck without a vehicle and have access to easy transportation to the Gondola and Main Street shops and dining. Grocery shopping will really be your only hassle, but you can use a grocery delivery service to have groceries stocked and ready to go upon your arrival. Our staff offers a very limited service with limit of 5 items and is only available 1pm-6pm Mon-Thur. There are Lyft and Uber drivers in town, but often in limited number.
  2. Do homework ahead of time and have traction devices on hand for your vehicle if a snowstorm pops up during your stay. Chains are the most commonly known traction device, but there are some easier-to-use alternatives you may not know about such as tire socks and tire treads. We recommend purchasing a device and knowing ahead of time how to use it. Best case scenario, you won’t need it and can return the devices after your trip. Chains purchased locally cannot be returned, so plan ahead and bring them with you same as the cold weather gear you are planning to use while here.

Please plan ahead! We hope that it snows nearly every day this winter! Without a crystal ball, no one can tell you what kind of experience you will have driving to or around in Breckenridge, but it is a fact that you and those around you on the roadway are much safer when you have proper traction. We are not responsible for your travel or difficulty in the driveway of your rental property. It is up to YOU to be prepared for safe travel in winter weather.

We have a comprehensive list to help you prepare for your ski or winter trip to Breckenridge as well as tips for beginner skiers, free activities and other winter activities besides skiing.

All articles on the Breck Mountain Rentals blog are updated for the 2023-2024 ski season so that you have the “latest and greatest” information for your visit. We welcome your questions at

For more information on the Colorado Traction Law: Passenger Vehicle Traction Law 03.31.2020