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County asks hikers to abide by parking rules at popular trailhead to reduce safety concerns
Katherine King, Open Space & Trails Department
Robert Jacobs, Summit County Road & Bridge
SUMMIT COUNTY – The Dillon Ranger District of the White River National Forest opened McCullough Gulch Road on Friday, providing access to a popular starting point for Quandary Peak and McCullough Gulch Trail hikers. With the road now open, Summit County urges hikers to respect parking regulations by parking in designated parking spaces, and not in the right of way.
Summit County has worked with the U.S. Forest Service this year to improve parking signage and to install a new gate in hopes of alleviating parking problems and providing greater clarity about where parking is not allowed. In the past, illegal parking on McCullough Gulch Road has blocked the right of way, preventing access by emergency vehicles, recreational users, Summit County Road & Bridge workers and Forest Service personnel.
“We encourage Summit County residents and visitors to take advantage of the amazing network of trails we have here, but it’s important to use common sense and be respectful at trailheads,” Summit County Open Space & Trails Senior Resource Specialist Katherine King said. “When parking areas are full, we ask that you not block gates, driveways or trail access. At a minimum, it impedes travel on a public road. At worst, it could lead to a substantial, unnecessary delay in a rescue or firefighting effort.
“Quandary Peak and McCullough Gulch are two of the most popular trailheads in Summit County, and parking is often full by mid-morning. If there are no legal parking spaces left, it’s good to consider alternative trails. Check in with the Dillon Ranger District, local visitor centers and town and County websites to find plenty of hikes with high peaks and gorgeous scenery,” King added.
McCullough Gulch Road (County Road 851) is a dirt road located about 7.5 miles south of Breckenridge, just off Blue Lakes Road, on the north side of Quandary Peak. The Quandary Peak Trailhead on McCullough Gulch Road, located one-quarter mile north of Blue Lakes Road, is operated by Summit County Open Space & Trails. The McCullough Gulch Trailhead is along the road about 1 mile beyond Blue Lakes Road. During summer months, the portion of the road on federal land is open to motor vehicles, hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking.
Public parking is allowed in several spots on McCullough Gulch Road where the road is wide enough to accommodate it. Parking is not permitted in narrower sections. New signage indicates locations on McCullough Gulch Road where parking is prohibited. Vehicles parked illegally on the road are subject to citation by the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. Recreational users are encouraged to park in Quandary Peak Trailhead parking spaces before parking on the road.
To contact the Dillon Ranger District of the White River National Forest, call 970-468-5400, or stop by the visitor’s center at 680 Blue River Pkwy., Silverthorne. To explore a variety of online trail maps, visit www.SummitCountyCO.gov/1131/Maps. Several local outdoor retailers and bookstores carry a variety of local trail maps and trail guidebooks.