Beginning July 30, hikers to Colorado’s Quandary Peak and McCullough Gulch trailheads will be required to take the free shuttle or reserve a parking space. These efforts are part of a pilot program for Summer 2021 to help address issues with limited parking and access at Quandary Peak and McCullough Gulch Trailheads.
The pilot program will begin on July 30 and run through Oct 31. A free shuttle will be offered from Breckenridge’s Airport Road parking lot for hikers to Quandary Peak. Parking at Quandary Peak and McCullough Gulch Trailheads will be by reservation only, and violators will be ticketed and/or towed.
“The use of the Quandary Peak trail has skyrocketed in the last several years and outgrown the capacity of the parking area at the trailhead, resulting in a number of issues for hikers and residents of the area. It has become an incredibly dangerous situation for hikers. Illegal parking on county roads blocks access to the trailhead for emergency vehicles. We have been in need of a solution for quite some time.
Furthermore, hikers have had to arrive at the Quandary parking lot at 4:00 a.m. in order to get a parking space. Our new Quandary Peak Shuttle and Parking reservation system should help eliminate these issues while meeting our goals of providing more equitable access to trails and encouraging sustainable modes of transportation.”
– Commissioner Tamara Pogue
While Quandary Peak and McCullough Gulch trails are maintained by the U.S. Forest Service, the parking area and roads are jointly owned and operated by the County and Town of Breckenridge. The County, Town of Breckenridge, the U.S. Forest Service, and other stakeholders have been studying the situation since the fall of 2020, interviewing hikers and residents for feedback on issues in the area. The study resulted in the Quandary Peak, McCullough Gulch, and Blue Lakes Trailheads, Transportation and Visitor Use Management Action Plan that included the shuttle and parking reservation system as proposed solutions.
“One of the main issues in managing wilderness areas is the need to balance the equity and availability of access with the needs of public safety and the fragile environment, we see this path forward as a way to continue to ensure access to Quandary and McCullough Gulch while protecting the area and those who visit it. In Breckenridge, we continue to promote car-free trips whenever possible, and we hope that the shuttle will be a popular way to sustainably access Quandary.”
– Mayor Eric Mamula
- The Quandary Peak shuttle is free and will operate from the Breckenridge Airport Road Lot from 5:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., 7 days a week, and will run every 30 minutes.
- The shuttles are operated on a first-come, first-served basis. The last pickup at the Quandary Peak trailhead is at 7:00 p.m.
- McCullough Gulch trail shuttles will run from the Quandary Peak Trailhead to McCullough Gulch Trailhead and back. Hikers will need to reserve a parking spot at Quandary Peak trailhead or take the Quandary Peak Shuttle in from Breckenridge to the Quandary Peak lot to catch the McCullough Gulch shuttle.
How to Make a Parking Reservation
To make a parking spot reservation at Quandary Peak trailhead, visit Parkquandary.com. *Note the website will go live on Monday, July 26, for reservations beginning July 30.
Quandary Peak Parking Lot Reservations:
- Half-day shift: 4 am-11:30 am ($20)
- Half-day shift: 12 pm-7:30 pm ($20)
- Full-day shift: 4 am-7:30 pm ($50)
- 3-hour shifts starting at 4 am ($5) – These spaces are for McCullough Gulch hikers
How to Hike McCullough Gulch Trail
Visitors to McCullough Gulch trail area will need to reserve a parking space as well or ride the shuttle, which will be offered from the Quandary Peak Trailhead. A limited number of spaces in the Quandary Peak parking area have been designated as short-term reserve for McCullough Gulch trail area, or hikers can catch the Quandary Peak shuttle from the Airport Road parking lot in Breckenridge and then board the McCullough Gulch shuttle at the base of Quandary.
Be Prepared – Tips for Hiking in the Area
- Quandary Peak Trail is a 6.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail rated as difficult and can take 4-7 hours depending on your ability.
- Hikers are encouraged to start early and should be prepared to descend before midafternoon when thunderstorms are common and are dangerous when above tree line.
- Hikers should bring plenty of food and water as well as layers. It can get extremely cold on the summit, particularly if it rains. Sturdy close-toed shoes are recommended.
- Quandary Peak is the most popular hiking route in the area and is heavily trafficked in the Summer. Visitors are recommended to hike it mid-week to avoid some of the crowds.
- Dogs are allowed on the trail but must be kept on a leash. Visitors bringing dogs should reserve a parking space and not ride the shuttle. Please bring poop bags and clean up after your pet.
- Hikers should be advised that there is no cell phone service at the base of Quandary Peak, at McCullough Gulch, and in the trailhead parking area.
Hikers are advised that the Quandary Peak parking lot will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday, July 28 and 29, to prepare the area for the new parking reservation system. Parking will be limited, and visitors are encouraged to avoid hiking Quandary on these days.
For more information on the pilot program and shuttle schedule, visit: Summitcountyco.gov/1446/Quandary
Individuals can also call the Quandary Peak Parking and Shuttle hotline for information: 970-668-4169