Frequently Asked Questions

  1. General
  2. Parking
  3. Shuttle

Who do I call if I have questions?

  1. Questions related to parking reservations and shuttle tickets can be directed to or 303-629-6859.
  2. All other questions related to hiking Quandary Peak and McCullough Gulch can be directed to or 970-668-4060.

Can I park at Quandary Peak and McCullough Gulch outside of the program season?

Before June 17 and after September 17, 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.

I used to park at the McCullough Gulch Trailhead, why can’t I park there now?

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.

Google Maps directs me to a different trailhead than the one I made a reservation for. What’s the deal?

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.

Can I park on the road or highway?

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.

Where can I park if I want to do a night hike or start my hike before 5am? Can I still park at the Quandary Peak Trailhead?

While we don’t encourage hiking at night due to risk of injury and getting lost, there are some people who enjoy activities such as 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 5am without a reservation, you will be ticketed.

Please call or email the Summit County Open Space & Trails Department at 970-668-4060 / 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.

I’m hunting in the area. Where can I park?

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

Is Blue Lakes included in the paid parking and shuttle system?

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.

How can I find trail conditions?

Third-party websites, such as 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. 

Do you recommend I take the shuttle or pay to park for my hike?

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 onsite McCullough Gulch shuttle only runs from 9am to 4:15pm.

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.