Summer is reaching the half way point and my list of things to do seems to be growing with reckless abandon. Of course I have the best intentions for seeing all of these fabulous places and getting to that moment of actually summiting the peak that lovingly stares back at me every morning as I brew coffee, but somehow life always seems to get in the way. Well not today because I am going to climb a mountain, and not just any mountain, it’s time to summit a 14er.
Colorado is world famous for 14er’s and the daunting amount that we contain within our state. There are a total of 53 14ers that call Colorado home. My choice for today is Mt. Quandary Peak located just south of Breckenridge, Colorado. If you are brand new to mountaineering or you simply have been too busy, possibly lazy like myself, to get up any other peaks this summer Mt. Quandary is the perfect place to start. It is considered to be among the more gentle 14ers listed as a Class 1. The Eastern Ridge is the easiest and most frequented trail to the summit.
The trailhead is very easy to locate just 8 miles south of Breckenridge on Highway 9 take a right onto Blue Lakes 850 Road, then take another right on McCullough Gulch 851 Road. You will run into trailhead parking on the right and the spot the start of the trail just to the left, marked by a trail sign. If you are attempting this hike on a weekend you will definitely see the cars before you see the trailhead. This hike is popular because the views are simply breathtaking. Getting up the extra 30 minutes early will allow you to beat the crowds and make it back down in time for happy hour.
Mt. Quandary starts off as a dirt trail weaving in and out of the forest. Follow the well built trail ascending the Eastern Ridge; you want to climb on the south side of the peak. Once you cross timberline you will need an extra layer or two as you will be completely exposed for the remainder of the hike. Mt. Quandary has a few false summits; these optical illusions have you thinking you have reached the top only to find out you were wrong. Don’t get discouraged and keep climbing. Mt. Quandary is only 3.1 miles to the summit. The final ascent is thru a boulder field which is the home to Alpine Mountain Goats, black tongues, black horns & white hair you can’t miss them.
On top the views of the Ten Mile Range span out in every direction. Looking far to the northeast you can see Mt. Grays and Mt. Torreys. Then spin toward the south and you’ll see Mt. Lincoln and Mt. Bross. Made it. Now you just have to climb back down.
- 89 Miles West of Denver
Where to park?
- Quandary Peak Trailhead or road side
- 14,625 Ft.
- 10,850 Ft.
- 3,450 Ft.
- Difficult – Strenuous
- 6.2 miles round-trip
- Hiking, Mountaineering, Photo-OP, Dogs Allowed on Leash
- Ten Mile Range, View south of Mt. Lincoln & Mt. Bross, View Northeast of Mt. Grays & Mt. Torreys, Town of Breckenridge