SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Are you planning to climb Quandary Peak? Summiting the popular fourteener will now require you to take a free shuttle or reserve a parking space.
Summit County government officials announced the pilot program, which starts on July 30 and will 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, according to Summit County.
The Quandary Peak parking lot will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 27 and 28 in order 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.
“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,” said Commissioner Tamara Pogue. “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, added Pogue.”
According to the announcement, Summit County, the town of Breckenridge, the U.S. Forest Service, and other stakeholders have been studying the parking situation since the fall of 2020, interviewing hikers as well as 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,” Mayor Eric Mamula. “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.”
- 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 either need to reserve a parking spot at Quandary Peak trailhead or take the Quandary Peak Shuttle in from Breckenridge to the Quandary Peak lot in order to catch the McCullough Gulch shuttle.
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. It is unclear what time the website will be live that day.)
Quandary Peak Parking Lot Reservations:
- Half-day shift: 4am-11:30am ($20)
- Half-day shift: 12pm-7:30pm ($20)
- Full-day shift: 4am-7:30pm ($50)
- 3-hour shifts starting at 4am ($5) – These spaces are for McCullough Gulch hikers
McCullough Gulch Trail
Summit County government officials said 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.