Parking Guide for Hike Quandary

Quandary Peak
& McCullough Gulch

Frequently Asked Questions

2024 Quandary Peak & McCullough Gulch Pilot Program Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Information

Questions related to hiking Quandary Peak and McCullough Gulch can be directed to openspace@summitcountyco.gov or 970-668-4060.

For parking reservations and shuttle ticket questions, contact hikequandary@spplus.com / 970-977-7231.

For all other questions or general hiking tips, contact
openspace@summitcountyco.gov / 970-668-4060.

General Information

Before June 15 and after September 15, 2024, parking is free and first-come, first-served at the Quandary Peak Trailhead. There is absolutely no parking on McCullough Gulch Road and Blue Lakes Road any time of year. Illegal parking is enforced with $100 fines.

The McCullough Gulch Trailhead is not a formal trailhead. This trail access point is located on a County Road (McCullough Gulch Road). In Summit County, it is illegal to park on County Roads. The Sheriff’s Office increased its enforcement presence here due to numerous public safety issues stemming from blocked roadways.

Currently, Google Maps takes you to a former Quandary Peak trailhead located on McCullough Gulch Road. DO NOT PARK HERE! You will receive a ticket if you do. Public parking is only allowed in the large parking lot directly off State Highway-9 (there will be signs clearly indicating where to park).

Please note that the Quandary Peak Trail starts across from the former trailhead and is well signed.

No. Both access roads in the area (Blue Lakes Road and McCullough Gulch Road) are County Roads and it is illegal to park here. Parking is also illegal (and unsafe) on State Highway 9. Illegal parking is enforced.

While we don’t encourage hiking at night due to risk of injury and getting lost, there are some people who enjoy activities like nighttime photography and sunset/sunrise hikes.

For sunset hikes, you may park at the Quandary Peak Trailhead for free between 3pm and 12am. We encourage you to bring a headlamp and check weather forecasts before doing a sunset hike. Please note, no overnight parking is allowed between 12am and 4am, so you must leave the trailhead after your hike.

For sunrise hikes, you must make a parking reservation for the Quandary Peak Trailhead. While parking reservations begin at 5am, you are able to start your hike earlier WITH a reservation for the day of your hike. If your car is in the lot after 5 am without a reservation, you will be ticketed.

For other nighttime activities between 12am and 5am, we encourage you to make a parking reservation for the day of your hike (if you anticipate finishing your hike after 5am). Please call or email the Summit County Open Space & Trails Department at 970-668-4060 / openspace@summitcountyco.gov for more options on nighttime parking.

As a reminder, there is absolutely no parking on County Roads, including Blue Lakes Road and McCullough Gulch Road.

Please call or email the Summit County Open Space & Trails Department at 970-668-4060 / openspace@summitcountyco.gov for more information on prolonged parking for hunting trips.

No, Blue Lakes is not included in the paid parking and shuttle system at this time. Please park in designated areas to access Blue Lakes and DO NOT park on Blue Lakes Road – it is illegal and parking is enforced.

Third-party websites, such as 14ers.com and All Trails, may have trip reports posted and are a great resource to check trail conditions prior to your hike. We highly recommend you use these resources to plan your route and see if there are any trail alerts. In addition, we strongly encourage you to check the weather before you start your hike using apps such as Open Summit, the Weather Channel, or even the weather app on your phone. Keep in mind that your phone probably won’t forecast conditions at the summit. The weather changes quickly and thunderstorms beginning around noon are extremely common, even if your phone doesn’t show that.

It all depends on what you are looking for!

For Quandary hikers, we strongly recommend that visitors use the full-day parking reservation or take an early shuttle (before or around 7am). This will allow enough time for you to hike (average round-trip hike time is 6 hours) and enjoy the summit before the afternoon thunderstorms roll in.

For McCullough Gulch hikers, we strongly recommend that visitors use the short-term (4-hour) parking reservation or time their shuttle rides appropriately to ensure you make it back to Breckenridge before the last shuttle departs from the Quandary Peak Trailhead at 4:30pm. Please note the McCullough Gulch shuttle only runs from 8am to 4pm.

In general, we recommend taking the shuttle if you can, as it is a more sustainable transportation option (you’ll be helping reduce vehicle emissions!). Plus, the Quandary Peak trailhead has limited parking.

Parking

Parking reservations can be made at www.hikequandary.com.

Visitors can make a parking reservation two weeks ahead of their intended hike date (starting at midnight two weeks before the hike date). Reservations can be made starting June 1, 2024.

Yes, you may cancel your parking reservation at hikequandary.com up until your reservation begins. We encourage you to cancel your reservation if you are unable to make it, so someone else may utilize your spot. You will receive a 100% refund if you cancel prior to your reservation.

Please make your reservation under “RENTAL”. Once you have your rental car license plate number, log back into your account after making a reservation and update the license plate number under the “VEHICLES” tab. Parking attendants will use your license plate number to check your reservation, so it is important to update your plate number after you have picked up your rental car. If you cannot update your license plate number before your hike, please leave your printed receipt face up on your dash.

You do not need to display your parking receipt. Our parking lot enforcement technology works with license plate recognition. Correctly entered license plates will be recognized. Please see the answer to the previous question if you do not know your license number.

No. If you have a reservation, you may park in any designated space at the Quandary Peak Trailhead on a first-come, first-served basis.

You may begin your hike earlier than your reservation begins IF you have a reservation for that day. Please note there is no overnight parking from 12:00am to 4:00am.

Violations can be paid online at https://violations.spplus.com/.

To dispute a violation please visit https://violations.spplus.com/.

For inquiries concerning your violation please email hikequandary@spplus.com.

At this time, there are no ADA-designated parking spaces at the Quandary Peak Trailhead. However, if you are seeking ADA accommodations for transport to Quandary Trailhead, please contact the Summit Stage’s Mountain Mobility Paratransit Service. Travel must be scheduled at least one day in advance by calling 970-389-1041, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday – Friday.

Please email proof of residency to hikequandary@spplus.com a minimum of 48 hours in advance of your reservation. Proof of residency can include any documentation such as a driver’s license, lease, utility bill, etc. SP Plus will then email you a code to apply to your reservation during the checkout process. If you plan to hike Quandary Peak or McCullough Gulch this summer, we highly recommend sending in your documents as early as possible to be ready to go when you want to make a reservation.

Shuttle

During the 2024 summer season, the shuttle runs from June 15 to September 15. The Breckenridge to Quandary Peak shuttle runs 5am to 5pm, and the on-site McCullough Gulch shuttle (Quandary Peak Trailhead to McCullough Gulch) runs 8am to 4pm. The last shuttle from the Quandary Peak Trailhead will depart at 4:30pm.

Shuttle tickets can be purchased at www.hikequandary.com. Reservations can be made for a specific day, but not a specific time. You may board the shuttle at any time on the day of which you have a reservation.

Please use the QR code from your reservation confirmation or print out your reservation and bring it with you on your hike. Please keep in mind there is NO cellular service at the Quandary Peak Trailhead.

Visitors going to McCullough Gulch will take the same shuttle from Breckenridge as hikers going to Quandary Peak, and then board a second on-site shuttle at the Quandary Peak Trailhead to go to McCullough Gulch. Visitors will not need to purchase a second shuttle ticket for this on-site shuttle. This on-site shuttle is free and included with a parking and/or shuttle reservation. Please note the McCullough Gulch shuttle runs from 8am to 4pm daily.

The shuttle picks up at the South Gondola Parking Structure (80 North Park Avenue) in Breckenridge, at the northeast side of the garage at ground level. It is free to park with the one-time code you will receive with your shuttle reservation. You are welcome to park anywhere in the garage for the day. For carless options, we encourage you to take free public transit (Summit Stage/Breck Free Ride), walk, or bike to the garage.

Yes. Dogs do not need a ticket to ride the shuttle, but shuttles do fill up on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of which you have purchased a ticket for yourself. We strongly suggest making a parking reservation if you plan to hike with your dog.

In an emergency, please dial 911. Cell service is best higher up on the trails where you may be able to place a call for an alternative pick-up. We encourage hikers to appropriately plan ahead and develop an itinerary based on hiking ability level, weather conditions, and day of hike (e.g., Saturday when shuttles will fill up quicker vs. Tuesday). The last shuttle of the day leaves at 4:00pm from the McCullough Gulch Trailhead and 4:30pm from the Quandary Peak Trailhead.

The ride from Breckenridge to Quandary Peak is about 20 minutes.