News Flash

Summit County Government

Posted on: May 11, 2022

Quandary Peak and McCullough Gulch Parking Reservations Begin June 1; Shuttle System Begins June 15

Quandary Peak Pic 1

Visitors will be Required to Purchase a Shuttle Ticket or Reserve a Parking Spot to Visit Quandary Peak and McCullough Gulch Trails

Contact: Nicole Valentine, Director of Communications, Summit County Government

SUMMIT COUNTY – The second year of the Quandary Peak and McCullough Gulch pilot program will begin on June 1. This program is a continuation of last year’s efforts to address challenges related to limited parking, public safety, and emergency vehicle access. 

The 2022 pilot program will begin on June 1 and extend through September 30. Visitors can make either full day or 3.5-hour parking reservations at the Quandary Peak Trailhead to access either Quandary Peak or McCullough Gulch from June 1 to September 30. During this time, parking at Quandary Peak Trailhead will be by reservation only, and violators will be ticketed and/or towed. Summit County and the Town of Breckenridge jointly own the Quandary Peak trailhead. A shuttle service will also be offered beginning June 15 and will run through September 18. 

“We know that the Quandary Peak trail is one of the most popular 14er hikes in the country and has outgrown the capacity of the parking area at the trailhead, resulting in a number of issues for hikers and residents of the area,” said Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence. “Over the last several years, it became an incredibly dangerous situation for hikers. Illegal parking on county roads blocked access to the trailhead for emergency vehicles. We have been in need of a solution for quite some time and were very pleased with the results of the pilot program from last year. Our staff has taken community and visitor input into consideration as we made revisions to revamp the program for this season and we are pleased to offer a shuttle and parking program for 2022.”

To improve the overall operations, efficiency, and general satisfaction of the shuttle and parking reservation programs, Summit County (including the Sheriff's Office), the USDA Forest Service, Towns of Breckenridge and Blue River, and Colorado Springs Utilities have met regularly since 2021 to discuss and vet solutions to the challenges posed at Quandary Peak and McCullough Gulch. Below provides an overview of the new 2022 pilot program. 

Shuttle Information

  • A shuttle service will be offered June 15 to September 18, and will operate every thirty minutes from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., 7 days a week. 
  • The shuttle drop off/pick up location in Breckenridge will be at the Breckenridge South Gondola Parking Garage. It is $15 to park in the garage all day. Passengers are encouraged to be dropped off, walk, bike, or take the Town bus for a free option.
  • Shuttles will operate on a first come, first serve basis. Passengers simply need to book the appropriate date and can board at any time on that date. 
  • Visitors can purchase a shuttle ticket to visit Quandary Peak or McCullough Gulch at Shuttle tickets can be purchased up to two weeks in advance, starting June 1.
  • Round trip shuttle fares are $5 for residents and $15 for visitors.
    1. Summit County residents must create an account on a minimum of 48 hours in advance to receive a discount code that can be applied during payment. Proof of Residence will be required to receive the discounted rate. Acceptable documentation includes, but is not limited to, a Driver’s License, Utility Bill, Lease Agreement, or Pay Stub with the customer’s name and a Summit County address. 
  • Passengers will be required to show payment confirmation to be able to board the shuttle at the South Gondola Parking Garage in Breckenridge and the Quandary Peak Trailhead. Users will need to download or print their shuttle reservation confirmation due to lack of connectivity at the Quandary Peak Trailhead. 

Parking Reservation Information

  • From June 1 to September 30, 2022, a parking reservation will be required to park at the Quandary Peak Trailhead. 
  • Visitors can make a parking reservation at the Quandary Peak Trailhead at Quandary Peak Trailhead parking reservations include a full day or a 3.5-hour option.
    1. Full day (5 a.m. – 3 p.m.)
      • $25 non-peak days (Monday-Thursday, excluding holidays), $50 peak days (Friday-Sunday, plus holidays).
    2. Short-term (3.5 hour time slots)
      • $5 non-peak days (Monday-Thursday, excluding holidays), $20 peak days (Friday-Sunday, plus holidays).
      • Short-term reservations are encouraged for McCullough Gulch hikers only, as the average hike time for Quandary is six hours.
  • Parking after 3 p.m. is free and first-come, first-served. No reservation is required to park in the lot after 3 p.m.
  • Parking reservations can be made up to two weeks in advance, starting May 18. 

Be Prepared – Tips for Hiking in the Area

  • Quandary Peak Trail is a 6.6-mile heavily trafficked out and back trail that is rated as difficult. It takes most hikers 5-7 hours to hike depending on ability, fitness, and acclimation to high elevation. 
  • McCullough Gulch Trail is 2.7-mile out and back trail that is rated as moderate, and can take approximately 2-3 hours to hike.
  • Hikers are encouraged to start early and should be prepared to descend before midafternoon when thunderstorms are common and dangerous  above tree line.
    1. Free parking after 3 p.m. is intended for local access, not for summit hiking. Hiking Quandary Peak at this time of day poses increased risk of thunderstorms and adverse conditions on the peak. Hikers are highly discouraged from attempting to summit the peak after 3 p.m.
  • Hikers should bring plenty of food, water, and  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 mid-week to avoid some of the crowds.
  • Dogs are allowed on both trails but must be kept on a leash. Visitors bringing dogs are encouraged to 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 areas.

For more information on the pilot program and shuttle schedule, and to sign up to receive updates, visit the project webpage


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