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Quandary Peak

Difficult
 4.4 (144) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A popular and easy 14er just outside Breckenridge.


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Map Key

6.4

Miles

10.3

KM

Out and Back

14,184' 4,323 m

High

11,006' 3,355 m

Low

3,169' 966 m

Up

3,178' 969 m

Down

19%

Avg Grade (11°)

87%

Max Grade (41°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

The multitude of mountain goats on this mountain provides a dangerous distraction for curious dogs, so leashes might actually be a good idea on this one.

Overview

Quandary Peak is one of the easiest and most accessible Fourteeners in Colorado. Just 20 minutes from downtown Breckenridge and around 2 hours from Denver, the trailhead can be reached by any 2WD car. Unlike many other 14ers, a summit of Quandary does not require driving over any sketchy mountain passes.

Need to Know

While an easy 14er, Quandary Peak is still an undertaking for the average person. Bring sun protection and plenty of water! Expect 1.5-2 hrs for fast trail runners and 4-6 hrs for the average hiker.

Note: Even though land management says dogs are to be leashed, you'll see many dogs and few leashes.

Description

From Breckenridge, drive south on CO 9 for 8 miles. Turn right onto the Blue Lakes Road (850). This can be fairly tricky to find: it's immediately before a sharp left turn on a switchback headed up Hoosier Pass, just as the grade gets steep. Map link to the parking lot can be found here - w3w.co/leaner.transitions.c…

NOTE:
1 - There is a different trailhead for Quandary, right off CO 9 and closer to Breckenridge. It is better marked but its trail is less often traveled due to steeper grades.
2 - As of July 30, 2021 you *must* purchase a parking pass (half- day or full day) in advance in order to park here. There is no cell signal from the parking lot, so purchase your pass up to 14 days in advance from this site - Parkquandary.com
3 - If you don't want to pay to park (or reservations are full) You can utilize the Quandary Peak shuttle which 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.

There is a parking lot just to the right. To get to the actual trailhead: from here things become pretty apparent

From the parking lot, there is a large sign indicating a short hiking path that will take you from the lot to a dirt road (CO851). Turn right and walk up the road to the clearly marked TrailHead (just opposite a very small parking lot), heading west nearly parallel to the road. The trail is clear, easy, and relatively low grade. In about 0.3 miles there is a large boulder to the right of the trail. Turn right around it. The trail is clear during the summer months, but in the event that it is covered with snow it's easy to miss this turn. After gaining about 700 vertical ft, you'll start to pass through some clearings, some of which are fairly flat, at 11,300'. The trail crosses some abandoned mining roads, but clear signs should keep confusion to a minimum.

At 11,700' the trees become sparse. The ridge pops into view around 11,800'. The trail brings you along the left side of the ridge. Follow the switchbacks up towards the ridge proper, which you should reach at around 12,400'. From here the summit is visible and it's more or less impossible to get lost. At 13,100', angle left along some flats to stay on the ridge. From here the trail gets rockier but is still clear; the grade gets steeper but is still manageable. At 13,400' ft trail stops switchbacking and heads more or less straight up until you hit the 14k' mark. From here, continue up along the summit ridge and celebrate!

Flora & Fauna

You'll find yourself above tree line for the vast majority of this hike. While the wildflowers aren't that remarkable, the overly friendly mountain goats and marmots are. For those unfamiliar with the former, mountain goats are sodium-deprived brutes and will go to great lengths to acquire any salty fluid, including drinking any human or dog urine they come across.

History & Background

Quandary Peak, while lumped in with the Mosquito Range Fourteeners, is the only 14er truly in the Tenmile Range. It is consistently one of the most crowded routes every summer.

Contacts

Shared By:

Matthew Coye with improvements by Joe Carpenter

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 144 votes

#1

in Blue River

#23

Overall
  4.4 from 144 votes
5 Star
52%
4 Star
38%
3 Star
9%
2 Star
1%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Blue River

#10

in Colorado

#23

Overall
362 Views Last Month
55,292 Since Mar 19, 2015
Difficult

0%
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16%
12%
71%
1%

Photos

A couple takes a nice rest among the wildflowers before the final ascent to Quandary Peak.
Jul 9, 2017 near Brecken…, CO
A happy goat admires the views from the Quandary Peak Trail.
Jul 9, 2017 near Brecken…, CO
A curious mother mountain goat, baby in tow, chilling right on the trail. These creatures won't hesitate to check you out.
Mar 2, 2015 near Brecken…, CO
on Quandary Peak Trail
Jul 24, 2019 near Brecken…, CO
Upper Blue Lake and the spillway sit peacefully below the Continental Divide.
Jul 9, 2017 near Brecken…, CO
Bask in the gorgeous views of North Star Mountain from the ridge on Quandary Peak.
Feb 2, 2017 near Brecken…, CO

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Minor Issues 4 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Sep 12, 2021
Erik Stitt
6.5mi — 3h 54m
Aug 5, 2021
Sean H
Aug 2, 2021
Huzefa Badaruddin
7h 00m
Jul 25, 2021
Mary prunty
With Matt 6.4mi — 5h 00m
Jul 11, 2021
Isabelle Thibault
Beautiful Views. tough climb, all uphill
Jul 8, 2021
Dayag Anashiym
Couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day or season. The rain this year has made a surreal ultra green Colorado experience. Happy goats abound. — 7h 00m
Nov 21, 2020
Dan Shanley
First hike 3.1mi — 1h 34m
Oct 18, 2020
Shireen B
Beautiful fall weather and windy. Just did a portion of the trail.