McCullough Gulch Trail

MODERATE 771 reviews

McCullough Gulch Trail is a 6.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Blue River, 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

birding

hiking

nature trips

skiing

snowshoeing

walking

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.

1 day 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
2 days 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
3 days 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.

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

4 days ago

What a great hike! Just right for all abilities.

11 days ago

Beautiful trail and even better view at the end!

hiking
12 days 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.

hiking
14 days ago

Great hike! Definitely worth going past the waterfall and on to the lake. Didn’t see any mountain goats so will have to come back and hike this trail again!

14 days ago

Great trail! Saw lots of mountain goats. But here’s a question for all the dog people.... what are you thinking when you put your dog Pooh in a non-bio degradable sack and leave it by the side of the road? I bet we saw dozen plastic dog poop bags on this trail. If you’re not going to pick it up don’t put the stuff in a non biodegradable bag.. other then that great trail?

hiking
14 days ago

This trail was as advertised! We took our dog and she had an absolute blast. Highly recommend to anyone wanting to take a dog along for the journey.

14 days ago

The trail was moderate as advertised. The carrot at the end was well worth the hike. A beautiful lake and saw, up relatively close, three white Mountain goats.

17 days ago

Very easy hike but a great jaunt. Busy parking!

hiking
18 days ago

The parking can be difficult, but it’s one of my favorites❤️ . Beautiful view, perfect for having snack or picnic before heading back.

hiking
21 days ago

Beautiful hike with so much to offer. Waterfall. Upper and lower lookout. Lake with majestic mountains. Mountain goats roaming the mountains will gladly entertain you while you take a break or have lunch on beautiful boulders by the lake. Moderate hike with some climbing to get to the lake but very manageable. All worth it. Poles help with rocks and tree roots on the descend. Can get windy so have a jacket depending on time of year.

21 days ago

Hiked to the waterfalls last year and decided to go again this year with the advice given below to make it to the first lake.

hiking
21 days ago

Rushing river, waterfall, lake(s)...this trail has it all. It is a popular trail so parking is tricky if you don't get there early. Others noted being able to park closer to trailhead, but that was not an option when we went due to a barrier being setup.

The hike does have some steep inclines but is totally doable by those even moderately in shape.

If you continue on to the 2nd lake, it adds about 3 miles roundtrip, but in my opinion, is worth it. The trail to this lake is not well marked and you will be walking through streams and heavy brush for a bit. Make sure you have your AllTrails map pulled up to follow along with GPS. Once you get over the lip of the mountain, you walk across a beautiful wildflower covered meadow until you get to the 2nd lake. This section of the trail was almost deserted when I went, only passed two other groups.

Even if you don't want to hike all the way to the 2nd lake, I highly recommend hiking a bit beyond the 1st lake to get the views overlooking it (I posted a pic of that view). It was stunning and a perfect place for lunch (again, most people just stopped at the 1st lake so you will have more solitude).

As others have mentioned, it does get chilly and quite windy at the lake, make sure to bring proper jacket.

24 days ago

Amazing beauty!!

25 days ago

Absolutely breathtaking. The waterfall spot was my favorite. Very windy at the lake, but the sky was so blue today and the lake was so clear. Definitely my favorite so far!

hiking
25 days ago

This is a beautiful hike. We went up to the first lake and were amazed. The second lake was a bit windy and was a bit of a different scene - further away from the tree line. We saw a few mountain goats as well!

25 days ago

If you are packing a lunch, stop at the rocks by the waterfall. Great place to relax and catch your breath. It is a step 30 minute hike from there to the lake. The view at the top is great, but it is very windy at the lake. You won’t stay up there long.

hiking
26 days ago

This was such a fun hike. We saw mountains goats near the lake and the views were amazing.

hiking
1 month ago

I’ve hiked this trail many times...nice moderate trail if you’re in good shape and acclimated to elevation. There is some decent rock scrambling coming and going to the second lake, where you need good shoes and solid footing. I wouldn’t take small children or out of shape friends to the second lake. We saw 19 mountain goats on the hike...a herd of 13 on way to second lake, which was spectacular! Also saw around 10 marmots sunning themselves on rocks along the trail. Please leash your dogs so you don’t spook the wildlife or get your dog injured!

1 month ago

I would say this is more moderate hard. the last mile or so was kind of difficult. the top is definitely worth it tho and there is another lake if you keep going. saw some mountain goats as well. cool waterfalls along the way. you can park right up by the trailhead which I recommend otherwise the first two miles is hiking along a dirt road.

hiking
1 month ago

Second time up this trail. Beautiful hike with lots of things to see. Saw two mountain goats near the top this time. Lake is worth the extra hike to the top but is the most challenging stretch. Not much traffic on way up around 7am but pretty heavy coming down.

hiking
1 month ago

Loved this! I’d agree with the moderate description—trail is well marked though. There are quite a few large rocks and tree roots along the way so just take care, especially if it starts to rain. Views at the top are gorgeous though. Didn’t make it to the second lake due to weather but will for sure be back to finish!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike, but super busy (of course, for a Saturday). We went beyond the lake to the upper lake, which doesn't show an official trail on the map. Lots of scrambling and hard to breathe above treeline. The second lake is pretty, but the first one is better. Another group saw some mountain goats beyond the second lake, but they had run off so we didn't attempt to go further. One note on the trail - wear sturdy boots because there is a lot of traversing over rocks and lots of tree roots. And on a hot day, bring lots of water.

hiking
1 month ago

Super nice hike! Only went to the first lake and the waterfalls. Overall, well marked trail, few stretches over boulders that were a bit harder to negotiate, well shaded for lots of the way, quite a few hikers. Parking is a challenge (only 3 spots at trailhead) but road parking farther down. Scenery is beautiful. Good for intermediate hikers.

1 month ago

Great option to Mohawk Lakes, which we do every year. Was very similar, but everyone in our group actually liked this one better! Beautiful falls and lake at the top!

hiking
1 month ago

The views are beautiful, but I didn't enjoy this hike that much. As an older (but not that old) and generally uncoordinated hiker, I felt like this hike was a sprained ankle waiting to happen. Luckily it didn't happen, but I spend a lot of time watching my feet and watching my dog's paws as we hiked over rocks and roots. What was interesting about this trail was the variety! It was like four trails in one: it started with a walk on a road, then through shady forest trails, after the lake and waterfalls the trail was narrow, steep and challenging, and then a relatively level trail through tundra under the shadow of Quandary.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing Hike! Day 2 in Breck and we all felt well enough to take on a hike. This one was worth it! Take your time and make it to the lake at the end of the trail. Venture just a bit further up some of the smaller hills around the lake and you will have made it 12k+ in elevation. Best thing is it sits under Quandry one of the well know 14ers. On the list of hikes of conquer. Great place to rest, soak in some sun and enjoy the beautiful views. Only took the teenagers 20 mins to get down! Didn't think it was crowded, parking was easy when we arrived at 11am. Worth the trip!

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