McCullough Gulch Trail

MODERATE 766 reviews

McCullough Gulch Trail is a 6.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Breckenridge, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
6.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,578 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

nature trips

skiing

snowshoeing

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

From Breckenridge head south on route 9 for 7.6 miles to Blue Lakes Drive (#850). Turn right onto Blue Lakes drive and continue for about 100 yards to McCullough Gulch Rd.(#851). Turn right and continue for 2.2 miles, staying left at the y-junction, to the parking area at the trailhead.

9 days ago

This was a beautiful hike. Pretty easy hike with nice waterfall views.

hiking
16 days ago

We love this hike! Have done it twice in summer. Parking can be tough. Moderate. Tricky at times. Waterfall is stunning! Saw several mountain goats. Last bit from falls to lake is a scramble up rocks but worth it.

hiking
2 months ago

Fun hike. A bit of light scrambling to get to the lake - numerous social trails (so pay attention to find your way back down easily). Parking fills up early.

snowshoeing
2 months ago

Went snowshoeing here on 12/29/18 and loved it. No super steep slopes, not crowded, 4 to 5 ft of snow (powder as you get farther along). Only challenging part of trail is the distance since the road leading to the trailhead is closed it adds about 2 miles one way.

hiking
3 months ago

This is an incredible trail -- but in the winter, it was TOUGH! We went today (12/18/18), and the entire trail was covered with snow. The first 2 miles, which we had parked at the entrance to Quandary Trail and had to walk to the Gulch trail, was fairly easy and very flat. Then, to the lower falls, was 1 mile, and it was extremely hard. We had hiking boots, but the snow was about 3-4 feet deep. Thankfully, it was pretty compacted down, but we kept sinking in every other step. The views were spectacular, which is why it's absolutely worth 5 stars. I would not otherwise recommend in the winter, unless you don't mind sinking in to the level of your knee!! Wish we could have gone to see the waterfalls, but sadly, the trail was so covered with snow that I wasn't able to continue.

4 months ago

Did this hike at the end of September. Loved the waterfalls! The views on both sides of the trail were stunning. On the North side we could see white mountain goats grazing along the ridge. So many views on this trail.

4 months ago

Wonderful hike to the top with my 8and 4 year old children 6/4/16. Great views of the water falls!!

4 months ago

Wonderful hike to the top with my 8and 4 year old children 6/4/16. Great views of the water falls!!

4 months ago

Wonderful hike to the top with my 8 and 4 year old children.

hiking
4 months ago

I want on this hike on October 12th. It was definitely the end of prime hiking season. I’m glad I went with someone that was knowledgeable about the trail because the snow and wind made the trail disappear. But I was a beautiful hike. Not super challenging but beautiful views. If you hike this this time of year, prepare for all types of weather.

hiking
4 months ago

Awesome trail. Moderately difficult with beautiful views and nature. Hiked 10/26/18 and the trail was good. Some snow but compressed. Absolutely need spikes due to ice. Did it with a four month old baby strapped to chest. A little dodgy at parts, especially ice near the end, but on a 55 degree day it was perfect.

5 months ago

I loved this trail! We hiked it in late September and it was gorgeous. The second lake is magnificent - a beautiful blue and rimmed with rocks. We didn’t make it to the third lake but I will next time.

hiking
5 months ago

This is a fantastic hike with a ton of water along the way. Beautiful waterfalls and a great lake at the top. My ten-year-old, seven-year-old, and dog are able to do this pretty well, but we live at 6000 feet. This is not the easiest hike with a lot of rocks and some steep climbs, but it is very worth it. We went on a Thursday and arrived at about 8 and parking was easy. By the time we got down about three and a half hours later the parking was a nightmare.

hiking
5 months ago

I was here last year and some improvements to the trail have been made. However, it can still be difficult to stay on near the top because it is almost solid rock. I started at 8:30 this morning and had the lake to myself along with a mountain goat. Please be aware that although the lake is only 1.4 miles from the trailhead it is steep. Also, there is a .7 mile walk from the parking lot to the trailhead.

5 months ago

Such a beautiful hike! It’s maybe on the more difficult side of moderate, but nothing too crazy. For the best experience, carry on past the waterfall to the lake at 11,900 ft! So serene, and we got to see our first mountain goat!

hiking
5 months ago

Wonderful trail. challenging in spots, beautiful and stunning. great moderate trail for hiking and birding

Breathtaking from the beginning!
Yes amazing as good as it gets!
Be sure to walk around the other side of the gold miner’s cabin you will see on the left on the way up the trail....tracks laid at a mine entrance. Takes your mind back to the days...

A new bridge was finished on this trail August 2018 by the United States Air Force Academy Class of 2019 Mechanical and Civil Engineering classes in cooperation with the Colorado Department of Wildlife. The plaque on one side is in honor of this major engineering achievement along the Mculliugh Gulch Trail near Breckenridge CO South on HY 9 almost to the beginning of Hoosier Pass.
The plaque on the other side honors Eric Dube a local physical therapust...outdoor enthusiast originally from near Boston who died suddenly from heart failure in November 2017. Eric was only 30 years old!

5 months ago

Starts with a walk on a forest service road. Don’t despair - there is a real trail. It is beautiful. Don’t stop at the first sight of the falls. The trail keeps going to the top and then a bit further is the small lake that feeds the falls. Terrific views. Worth every bit of effort.

5 months ago

Beautiful views but I would definitely say this trail is more than moderate but not quite difficult . It’s easy to go off the trail with the different terrain but if you use the app you should be fine. I made it to the second lake which is definitely worth it. Extremely windy today and semi cold.

5 months ago

Excellent trail overall. Good views. Made it to the second lake above tree line. It is a deeper lake. No fish in it i could see. It was easy to lose the trail in spots due to the amount of paths made by previous people going off the main trail. My wife and I briefly got lost but back tracked. Not a big deal but be aware.

hiking
6 months ago

Nice moderate trail, rocky in some spots with a few steep climbs. Higher altitude than I’m used to hiking, so had to pace myself. Great views of pines and aspens that had bright yellow leaves, but nearing end. Small waterfall still flowing and nice backdrop for pictures. We went to the first lake which was crystal clear. Saw some goats high on the ridge at various spots along the hike.

6 months ago

Great moderate hike with waterfalls, and three lakes - most people stop at the first one though so if you keep pushing on you'll have two beautiful turquoise lakes to yourself.

Perfect day today. Was able to see yellow leaf aspens still.

6 months ago

We really enjoyed this trail.

6 months ago

Just as the last 2 reviews stated the first 1/2 mile was flat and uninteresting, but a welcome break returning. We hiked to the first lake and the trail was moderate and the falls and views at the lake were mesmerizing. We decided to continue to the second lake which was not a maintained trail and difficult to follow. There was some cairns to help but the trial is overgrown and parts were more rock climbing than hiking. The views on the hike were incredible and we met a mountain goat on the trail. The second lake was a disappointment, as it was most dry. It was 3.1 miles to the second lake with 1400 feet elevation gain. We lost the trial a couple times retuning but eventually found our way. Unless you want to views, skip the second lake this time of year. I am sure it is beautiful in the late spring or early summer.

hiking
6 months ago

Read the "getting there" carefully. GO to the LEFT at the trailhead junction sign. First part on road is boring, but once it is a single track trail, the hike through the woods, to the waterfall and lake were awesome. I didn't realize there were multiple lakes, so I missed that, but I was mesmerized by the mountain goats. Three sets of mamas with their babies. They sure blend into the rocks if you don't know they are there. LOVED the goats...pics and more info here: https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/09/17/roadtrip-to-the-rockies-breckenridge/

hiking
6 months ago

Great trail. The first part was an old 4-wheel trail, so I was a little disappointed. But keep pushing on, and it's a fun hike through trees, over rocks, and just a bit challenging. We made it to the second lake, and my husband made it to the third. Didn't see any goats today, but there's always next time. Colors were beautiful today.

6 months ago

Great trail. Excellent views. Lakes are amazing. Lots of mountain goats!

6 months ago

What a great hike! Just right for all abilities.

6 months ago

Beautiful trail and even better view at the end!

hiking
6 months ago

A beautiful afternoon hike that was mostly empty after 4pm. Aspens in the initial valley are starting to change colors. Trail peters out a bit after the first lake—overgrown with bushes and very few cairns to assist. Keep pushing upward, and you’ll find the next lake. As others have said, the best parts are past the waterfall (which is quite small this time of year). As an aside, there are no bathrooms at this roadside parking style trailhead, but the parking for Quandary is at the bottom of the road with facilities.

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