quandary peak
Quandary Peak in July, 2010. The summit has only gotten more crowded; (photo/Richard Johnson via Flickr)

Climbing Colorado’s Most Popular 14er Will Now Cost $50 Just for Parking

Want to become one of the estimated 50,000 hikers who summit Quandary Peak every year? Better line your pockets to pay for parking.

Last year, local officials implemented a fee system at the uber-popular Quandary Peak Trailhead. Now, they get ready to re-introduce the plan for the hiking season. There will be a few changes, however, including charging a fee for a previously free shuttle.

The fee schedule starts on June 1, 2022, and includes a wide range of charges based on time limits and typical peak hours.


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Full-Day Parking: 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • $25 non-peak: Monday through Thursday
  • $50 peak: Friday through Sunday and holidays — Juneteenth (June 20), July Fourth, and Labor Day (Sept. 5)
  • Full-day reservations are encouraged for Quandary hikers, as the average hike time is 6 hours

Short-Term Parking: 3.5-hour Timeslots

  • $5 non-peak: Monday through Thursday
  • $20 peak: Friday through Sunday and holidays — Juneteenth (June 20), July Fourth, and Labor Day (Sept. 5)

ParkQuandary.com, which consolidates the site’s fees and reservation protocols, encourages short-term reservations for McCullough Gulch hikers.

Meanwhile, the 14,265-foot peak’s Breckenridge-based shuttle service will cost users for the first time. Round-trip shuttle fare is $5 for Summit County residents and $15 for non-locals. The bus runs 7 days a week, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., from June 15 to Sept. 18. Departures take off from the Breckenridge South Gondola parking structure every 30 minutes.

Currently, parking for Quandary Peak is free and open to all comers on a first-come, first-served basis. (If you can find any, that is.) But be advised, you won’t get in this summer without a reservation.

Starting May 18, you can reserve your spot via Park Quandary up to 14 days ahead of your visit. The park will require reservations from June 1 to Sept. 30.

Parking will remain free on a first-come, first-served model after 3 p.m. each day. No car bivvies allowed, though — the Quandary Peak Trailhead lot closes each night from 12 a.m. to 4 a.m.

Regulating traffic on Quandary Peak looks like a no-brainer from a resource management perspective. Last June, Summit Daily reported the mountain’s visitation surged throughout the season regardless of traditional peak hours like weekends and holidays.

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Sam Anderson

Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.