Quandary Peak: The Ultimate Hiking Guide

quandary peak hiking

One of the most exciting summits to conquer in Colorado is Quandary Peak. Situated south of Breckenridge, Quandary Peaks reaches 14,265 feet. It’s famous for its stunning views and is classified as relatively manageable to climb. 

Before you arrive at the trailhead, you need to have a parking reservation or a shuttle ride. Other mountains that are similar in height are Kite Lake, Torreys Peaks, Mt. Elbert, and Grays Peak.

Getting to Quandary Peak

Given its high appeal, the parking at Quandary Peak tends to be limited. You also need to complete an online parking reservation for the entire summer months of June to September. When stationed in Downtown Breckenridge, visitors can use the reservation shuttle-based system when planning hikes to Quandary Peak. Beginning in late May, tourists can begin to conduct reservations.

Parking and Shuttle Reservation

If Quandary Peak is your destination, you can do a full-day reservation from 5 am to 3 pm. The fee is $25 from Mondays to Thursdays, which doesn’t include holidays. Those who prefer to go late in the week can book on Fridays to Sundays with a fee of $50, which includes holidays.

Past 3 pm, the parking is free and on a first-come, first-serve basis. However, those intending to hike Quandary Peak are advised to go early. In the afternoons, the weather may change and bring thunderstorms so the risk of experiencing inclement weather is higher. On average, it usually takes hikers 6 hours to climb Quandary Peak.

parking at hiking trails

Needing a Reservation

You may wonder why hiking Quandary Peak requires a reservation. The system was started by the Summit County Open Space & Trails when a steady increase in visits was observed for Quandary Peak over the past years. They decided to implement a reservation system to guard public safety.

Some vehicles park illegally and may block access to the roads if an emergency occurs. They may also hinder the residents to obtain help or accessing security around their neighborhood. The new systems are designed as a response to these pressures. Hikers are protected and benefit from these safety measures. They now obtain legal access to the trailheads.

Information on Shuttles

When planning to visit Quandary Peak, you may opt to ride a shuttle. All you need to do is select a date of when you’re planning to take the shuttle ride. Reserving the time is unnecessary. For boarding, it’s on a first-come, first-serve basis. You need to present proof of payment.

The shuttle operates 7 days each week from 5 am, to 5 pm. It runs between Breckenridge South Gondola Parking Structure and Quandary Peak.

Making a Parking and Shuttle Reservation

The cost for a Quandary Peak roundtrip for residents is $5. Residents must also submit proof of residence at parkquandary.com. For visitors who want to proceed similarly, the fee is $15. 

making reservations for shuttle bus

Visitors must present proof of payment to be permitted to board the shuttle. Dogs are also permitted to ride the shuttle. It’s strongly recommended to do a parking reservation when arranging a hike with your furry companion.

Things to Remember Prior to Hiking Quandary Peak

It’s in your best interest to be fit before climbing Quandary Peak given that it’s 6.6 miles. It’s graded as a difficult trail and may take hikers between 4 to 7 hours to complete depending on their skill.

As mentioned previously, an early hike is advised so the descent will occur before mid-afternoon. Thunderstorms usually occur late in the day and can signal danger.

When planning to hike, you should be prepared with food and water as well as extra layers. Hiking the summit can be cooler temperatures, especially if a downpour occurs. Sturdy closed-toed footwear is ideal.

During the summer season, Quandary Peak can be full of crowds given its popular status in Breckenridge. If you’re a visitor, it’s best to schedule a hike in the middle of the week to avoid the heavy foot traffic.

Note that cellphone service is non-existent when you’re at the base of Quandary Peak or situated in the trailhead parking. Hikers must rely on a physical map or have a hiking guide downloaded.

Leave No Trace 

When visiting Quandary Peak, follow the Leave No Trace principle to help in the preservation and protection of this magnificent peak.

hiking with dogs

Bringing a Dog

If you prefer to bring your dog, it must be kept on a leash. Owners have to bring bags to clean up after their dogs, to ensure that the trail is kept clean. Visitors with dogs are advised to make a reservation at the parking space, not the shuttle. 

Do remember that the trail above treelines hosts more boulders and sharp rocks. This can hurt your dogs’ paws, or make it difficult for them to navigate the path. Your dog may also have a hard time keeping up with you. 

You can review the guide to Dog-Friendly Breckenridge to find pet-friendly trails that are suitable for your furry companions. 


People often get excited when spotting wildlife. Photographing them in their habitat from a distance away is generally fine, but please avoid disturbing them. Always keep a safe distance to protect yourself and the wildlife. Approaching, chasing, following, or feeding the wildlife is highly discouraged. Remember that it can sacrifice your safety to photograph an animal up close. 

When accompanied by your dog, keep a tight hold on their leash. Never leave food pieces behind and dispose of food packs properly. 

Bottom Line

Quandary Peak is one of the featured hiking spots you shouldn’t miss in Breckenridge. Just make sure to plan and book the reservations before hiking. If you need a place to stay in Breckenridge during your next vacation, contact Bighorn Rentals!

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