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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > White River National Forest > Dillon Ranger District

Quick Facts

Quandary Peak

Average Time: 7 hours
Beginning Elevation: 10,807 Feet (3294 Meters)
Difficulty: More Difficult
Elevation Gain: 3,460 Feet (1078.6 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 14,265 Feet (4348 Meters)
Length: 3.0 Miles (4.8 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 47
Usage: Heavy
USGS Maps: Breckenridge




Satellite and Topo Map




General Description

Quandary Peak is very unique. Although the hike is long, Quandary is one of the easier 14'ers to ascend. You should begin your hike early in the morning. There is always a strong chance of afternoon showers accompanied by LIGHTING. Be aware of the exposure.

The elevation at the trailhead is 10, 807 feet. The top of Quandary peak is 14, 265 feet. The view is spectacular. From the top of Quandary Peak you can view the Gore Range to the north, a fabulous view of South Park, Holy Cross to the west, and Grays and Torreys to the east.

Directions from Breckenridge: Follow Highway 9, 8 miles south. Turn off Highway 9 onto Blue Lakes road (Forest Road #850). Turn right on McCullough Gulch Road (Forest Road #851). Travel on Forest Road 851, one mile to the white arrow on the left side of the road. Parallel park on the right side of the road. Follow the jeep road up to the intersection with the Wheeler trail. Turn right as marked with post with white arrow. Follow the Wheeler trail 1/4 miles to the point of ridge to the trail that intersects to the left. Turn left on that trial and follow it to the the main ridge line of Quandary Peak. Follow ridge line to the summit.

Directions from Beaver Creek: Travel 34 miles east on I-70 to the first Frisco exit (#201). Turn right and drive through Frisco to Hwy 9. Turn right on Hwy. 9 and follow about 9 miles to Breckenridge. Continue on Highway 9, 8 miles south of Breckenridge. Turn off Highway 9 onto Blue Lakes road (Forest Road #850). Turn right on McCullough Gulch Road (Forest Road #851). Travel on Forest Road 851, one mile to the white arrow on the left side of the road. Parallel park on the right side of the road. Follow the jeep road up to the intersection with the Wheeler trail. Turn right as marked with post with white arrow. Follow the Wheeler trail 1/4 miles to the point of ridge to the trail that intersects to the left. Turn left on that trial and follow it to the the main ridge line of Quandary Peak. Follow ridge line to the summit.

Directions from Vail: Travel 34 miles east on I-70 to the first Frisco exit (#201). Turn right and drive through Frisco to Hwy 9. Turn right on Hwy. 9 and follow about 9 miles to Breckenridge. Continue on Highway 9, 8 miles south of Breckenridge. Turn off Highway 9 onto Blue Lakes road (Forest Road #850). Turn right on McCullough Gulch Road (Forest Road #851). Travel on Forest Road 851, one mile to the white arrow on the left side of the road. Parallel park on the right side of the road. Follow the jeep road up to the intersection with the Wheeler trail. Turn right as marked with post with white arrow. Follow the Wheeler trail 1/4 miles to the point of ridge to the trail that intersects to the left. Turn left on that trial and follow it to the the main ridge line of Quandary Peak. Follow ridge line to the summit.



Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Open Updated: 1999-06-22 18:13:00.0


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Filed By: Jill Malkowski (Broomfield , CO)
Difficulty:
Number of People Encountered: 25-50 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Quandary Peak is a complicated mountain, It offers many routes of varying difficulty to the summit, but for those new to hiking and climbing the 14ers this mountain is a popular destination. Following its east ridge, it’s a straightforward hike leading to a steeper, final summit pitch which gives those who make it to the top some amazing views of the Tenmile as well as the nearby Mosquito Range. There’s a lot to like about this mountain, The " New Trail " is straightforward, relatively short, soft dirt and clearly marked. Out of all the 14ers I have climbed this by far has offered the most scenery the entire accent. Breaking through treeline, a sharp, long neighboring ridge follows you as you head west. The summit pitch comes into view fairly soon after you leave the trees, looking like a massive pyramid that was filled with snow. About 1/2 mile past tree line heading up the trial head we encountered two mountain goats, they seemed unconcerned we were coming up on them and just looked for alternate ways around our group while walking right past us. Quandary’s elevation will test even the fit. With three ridges each with 1000 ft in elevation gain I started having doubts if I was even going to make it to the summit. Quandary's summit has some of the most majestic 360 views I have ever seen, we spent over an hour having lunch and taking in the peacefulness before making our descent.
Conditions: 4 snow fields several patches of ice
Water Availability: I took 70oz pack however could have used 120oz
Recommended Clothing: With all climbs dress in layers and be prepared for sun, wind , rain and snow. Sharp descent over several fields of rocks and deep holes so wear good hiking boots that fit well
Suggested Accessories: hiking poles and spikes

Difficulty:
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Great hike. The hike was easy except for the steep climb from about 13,000 feet to the summit. We live at the beach in NC so we took it slow as not to get altitude sickness. It took us 4 hours and 20 minutes to get to the top. 2 hours on the return. We started at a higher trail head. When you turn of of HWY 9 onto 851, follow the signs for the trailhead. When you reach the main parking area with the Quandry Map, contunie up the dirt road .5 miles and look for a brown sign w/ a white arrow (looks like a 4 wheeler path). PArk along the side of the road and begin your hike here. It saves nearly 1,000 ft of elevation gain.
Conditions: As soon as we reached the summit we heard thunder so our stay was short. We arrived on the summit at 11:20am. Plan to be heading down by 12:00 like the locals say to avoid afternoon thunderstorms.
Water Availability: We had a 2 liter camel-back each.
Recommended Clothing: Even in the summer it is cool so dress in layers. I started in a short sleeves shirt and then added a long sleeve fleece. I had to use the rain jacket on the return due to hail and rain.
Suggested Accessories: trekking poles

Difficulty:
Number of People Encountered: 25-50 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Toughest part is final 3/4 mile: 20-25% pitch over loose rocks and it was tough to make out the trail. Lower section was easier and BEAUTIFUL - three seperate plateau's (each with a lake). Several friendly dogs with groups went swimming. I parked at the first sign on 9 that said "Quandry Peak". Don't do that. Follow the directions and keep going a little and you will find 850, then 851 and you will save 3 miles of walking and 1600 feet of elevation change by parking at the proper trailhead. From my wrong trailhead, I did get to see the miners' cabin with the Trespassers Will Be Shot on Sight sign.
Conditions: Early July and there are still some snow fields above 13,000'. A few fallen trees, but the trail is mostly in great shape. You will have to step on a few wet rocks to traverse some small creeks towards the upper lake, but not difficult to navigate.
Water Availability: I carried two 32 oz. Gatorade bottles which was sufficient for the 7 hour round trip. It would have been faster but for the extra 3 miles at the bottom. Note that coming down is NOT much faster than coming up due to the rocky nature of the trail up top - no loping down the hill.
Recommended Clothing: Definite place for sunscreen and be prepared for afternoon showers and wind. Tough boots rule the trail here - running shoes are ok for the first mile or so. After that tough foot gear is required to navigate the rocks and snow.
Suggested Accessories: Fishing is available, a hiking stick is a good idea. Ice axe not necessary and I would NOT recommend this at night. I took my GPS for altitude and trail reference. I also lost it at the bottom of the rock climb at 13500'. Once booted up, it's got my name and phone number and I'll pay to get it back.



Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Hiking & Walking Quandary is one of the easiest 14'ers in Colorado to climb.
Yes
ICON Mountain Climbing Quandary Peak
Yes



Related Activities
Breckenridge General Forest Area - The Breckenridge General Forest Area includes the area around the town of Breckenridge.



More Information

Visitor Information:

Summit County Chamber of Commerce, 011 S. Summit Blvd. , Frisco, CO, 80443, Phone: 800-530-3099, Fax: 970-668-1515

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