Quandary Peak

 East Ridge
Difficulty Class 1 
Ski/Board: Intermediate, D3 / R1 / II  
Risk FactorsExposure: Low
Rockfall Potential: Low  
Route-Finding: Low  
Commitment: Low  
Start10,850 feet
Summit14,272 feet
Total Gain3,450 feet
RT Length6.75 miles
SheriffSummit: 970-453-2232
Last UpdatedApr 2023
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There's limited parking at the Quandary trailhead and it requires a reservation. View the trailhead for more information.


Between June 17th and September 17th, a reservation is required to park at the Quandary Peak trailhead. There are a small number of spots and the cost is $30 - $55. Your other option is to use the Quandary shuttle service, provided by Breckenridge. It's $7, runs 5:00am - 4:30pm, and your reservation allows you to board the shuttles any time throughout the day. Shuttle parking/pickup is at the South Gondola lot parking structure in Breckenridge. To purchase trailhead parking or a shuttle ride, visit The site should be open for reservations on June 1st. For questions or comments about the Quandary parking situation, we encourage you to contact Summit County Open Space & Trails at Email or 970-668-4060. You can also contact the U.S. Forest Service Dillon Ranger District at Email or 970-468-5400.
From Breckenridge, drive 8 miles south on Colorado 9. Turn right (west) on the 850 (Blue Lakes) Road. Trailhead parking is on the right, just after you leave the highway. If you took the Breckenridge shuttle, it will drop you off here. To begin your hike up Quandary Peak, follow signs from the parking area and walk up the 851 road 0.1 miles to the signed trail on the left.


1 is a view of this route from the southeast. From the parking area, walk up the McCullough Gulch 851 road a short distance and turn left onto the marked trail - 2. Ascend into the forest, pass a large boulder ( 3), turn right and follow the great trail through the forest - 4. Above 11,300', pass through clearings ( 5) and climb a hill where the trees begin to thin out. Continue to the crest of the east ridge, near 11,600' - 6. Walk another 0.2 miles to the base of a slope - 7.

Follow the trail toward the left (south) side of the ridge and gradually ascend back toward the ridge crest - 8 and 9. Near 12,800', re-gain the ridge ( 10) and continue west to a 13,150-foot point on the ridge - 11.

Staying on the ridge, walk along a flat section and begin your ascent of the final 1,000 feet - 12. The route is obvious - stay on the ridge where you can see across Quandary's upper east slope to your right - 12, 13, 14 and 15. Gain the summit ridge and walk over to the top - 16, 17 and 18.

In Winter

To avoid possible avalanche terrain between 11,800' and 13,000', do not follow the summer trail left (south) to the south side of the ridge. Instead, ascend the slope in 7 to gain a 12,100-foot point and continue along the ridge crest to reach the 13,150-foot point shown in 11.


This is a popular ski route. Through June, the upper and lower east slope bowls usually have decent snow coverage.


Quandary's east ridge is one of the easiest Colorado 14er routes but make sure you are properly prepared. If you're new to the 14ers, check out the Getting Started section.
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18

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Caution: The information contained in this route description may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this route description provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the route description author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

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