Quandary Peak Trail

HARD 795 reviews

Quandary Peak Trail is a 6.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Breckenridge, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,339 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

Note this is a difficult, but rewarding hike. Please prepare before embarking on this hike to the peak which is at 14,265 ft elevation. Though challenging, this is a popular and doable, heavily trafficked route. Because of that, the best and up-to-date information can be seen the reviews from users who have just traveled this route. Quandary's east ridge route gets very crowded on summer weekends.

hiking
10 hours ago

Hiked on 1/14. Very difficult hike in the winter, trail is not visible above treeline, snowshoes/poles were very helpful but we saw a lot of people going in just yaktrax. It was extremely windy on the day we went. Beautiful hike though and less of a crowd on a Tuesday!

14 days ago

Loved it! Spectacular

hiking
1 month ago

With the winter storm yesterday, I was met with knee-to-thigh-deep snow for the majority of the hike, so I definitely let out a few war cries on the ascent. It was still a great experience and gave me an insane workout. I recommend trekking poles, knee-high gaiters, water resistant clothing, and snow shoes or skis. Micro spikes were almost worthless due to the post-holing, but they'll be more applicable once the terrain hardens. If you're faced with similar weather (newly fallen, powdery snow), I'd roll out with snow shoes/gaiters at a minimum.

The trailhead parking lot was well-plowed, so those with sedans and non-AWD/4x4 should still be able to access the lot regardless of the trail condition.

Hiking Quandary Peak is challenging in the winter, but its doable and fulfilling if you start early. Also, it's one of the least likely 14ers to be affected by avalanches due to the ridge trail, so that's a plus.

hiking
2 months ago

I did start on the class 3 side and do the entire loop it was well worth it if you don’t mind the danger and length. I would do it again just to camp at blue lake and then hike around. Just the popular trail took about 3 hours. It will take less than 5 for an average person I think just get there early for good parking on the weekend

hiking
2 months ago

Summited 11/13/2018. Gorgeous blue skies with intermittent cloud cover. Good snow pack through the trees. Above treeline was alternating solid pack and some post-holing. We mainly followed the “Old Quandary” trail, although with the snow it was difficult to be sure we were on trail most of the time. Wind came in semi-strong gusts at about 13k and up, but oddly stopped at the summit. Gear used and recommended for winter: Waterproof Boots, Gaiters, Microspikes, Trekking Poles, Heavy Jacket and Shell.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked November 10. We started at about 8am. We didn’t summit and neither did anybody we passed (probably 15ish people total). We made it to about 13,000ft but the wind was too gnarly to make it the rest of the way.
We still had a blast, had a wonderful view, and were safe. If you’re planning on summiting bring some snow shoes and a good wind jacket and face protection! Hiking poles would probably be good too.
Definitely going to try again!

2 months ago

Hiked in 10/20/18. We got to the trailhead at 6:30am before sunrise and there were a few other cars in the parking lot. Entire trail had some snow, but at that time it was all hard pack. Easy to follow the trail. Crampons not necessarily required but everyone in our group used them and they helped a lot, especially above the tree line. Beautiful views from the summit with crystal clear skies and light wind. Perfect day for my first 14er!

2 months ago

Moderate to challenging trail. Those with knee issues or any leg issues; make certain you are
prepared with good poles and fitness level. I was not, so I learned the hard way. I’m happy I know what I need to do for the next time.

hiking
3 months ago

Climbed 10/17/18 This was my first 14er so I did not know what to expect. Once above the tree line the wind was crazy, I would guess 50-60mph. At times I would have to kneel down so I didn’t get blown over. Very Icy and deep snow at summit, I was just wearing hiking boots but I managed. Was snowing on top and glad I left early because it looked like it got worse on way down. All and all a great first for me.

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked 10-13-18. Hit the trailhead around 0715 with barely any cars in the upper lot we were able to find convenient parking. The trail had about six inches of hard packed snow below tree line. Once you break through tree line there was a bit more snow but still hard packed. No need for snow shoes at any point the whole ascent. We did throw on micro spikes for the last 1000 feet of ascent and they were useful but not required. Wind picked up considerably on the summit and wasn't a fun place to spend more than ten minutes. A few more snow storms and snow shoes and/or spikes would be a great idea. Plenty of people who were not prepared or dressed for the elements, this always amazes me. All told, approximately 4.5 hours to summit and return to the car.

hiking
3 months ago

hiked 10-13-18. started at 9:20am. trail parking was already in overflow. first part of the trail was pretty icy. I would say overall 95% of the trail was packed snow or ice. only a few sections climbing up the rocks above tree line were dry. we did not use spikes but I would say 50% of the people we saw were using them. it was possible not to use them but was slipping all the way down. we did not make it to the summit. we decided it was not worth the risk without spikes as we saw people slipping down all the way. this is also the steepest part of the trail. as we came back down the sun had turned most of the ice and snow into slush. which made the slipping and sliding even worse. we were off the trail and to the car by 2:40pm.
we saw plenty of people later in the day hiking up in tennis shoes and not prepared for a hike of this caliber. no pack, lack of water, no spikes, etc. we even gave an extra bottle of water to one who was visibly struggling about half way up the trail. also, bring sunscreen. we did not and are paying the price. face is bright red and hurting. the wind, sun and snow reflecting sunlight was brutal.
we stopped at tree line and ate lunch. it took us 1.5 hours to get there. from there to the last 1000 foot climb to the summit it took us 2 hours. if we would have done the last 1000 climb I'm guessing another hour to the summit. on the way down I was surprised at how far it really was back to tree line.
overall this is a great hike with great views but don't underestimate it either.

3 months ago

Hiked 10/7. Started at 8:30am., summit by 11:20am. Very windy most of the way. Strenuous hike.

hiking
3 months ago

Summited Oct 6.
Snowy clouds above treeline blanketed pretty much everything you could see. Thankfully it cleared a little at the peak! The entire trip took us about 6 hours with stops and very little time spent at the summit due to freezing winds. I did this hike with trail runners and no micro-spikes but today was probably the last day that's suitable footwear.

hiking
3 months ago

We hike QP on September 17, 2018- It was as advertised- beautiful views, open air, and rocky. We flew in from PA and strongly recommend taking a couple days of the altitude in prior to the hike. Also- we were in really good shape- and this hike challenged us. The altitude forced us to take a break about every 5-10 mins as we ascended near the peak- the pressure is intense. Its all worth it- but hydrate and take breaks. The climb down is LONG bc you are physically tired- both of our hands were swollen. I would do this hike again but def dont want newbies to think its a walk in the park. Enjoy!

3 months ago

Oct 5th my son Morgan and I completed. Spectacular views great weather , a bit cold very windy. Took six hours round trip. Lots of stops. It is a tuff trek.

hiking
3 months ago

This hike was to ascend my 4th 14er- expecting it to be a bit easier than Mt Belford and Mt Oxford which I also climbed this year. Quandary Peak was a steep elevation gain in a short distance- thus the nearly constant climbing. At 58 yrs old, it was a challenge but enjoyable all the same!

Finished the ascent in 3 hours and 10 minutes- 2 hours and 30 minutes to get down. Left the trailhead at 7am and was moving along as quickly as possible as a chance of rain was predicted for 11:30am. As it turned out- at the summit, the clouds were beginning to roll in and as I began my descent- the grapple began to fall! The wind was high today- also making it slightly cold and precarious at the top every once in a while.

The trail is well marked and maintained as 14er trails go- with some difficulty staying on Trail when traversing the rock and boulder field toward the top. There were about 15-20 fellow hikers on the trail today- a welcomed reality since I was hiking alone. This is a great trail but the 2+ hours exposed to the elements could be risky on a bad weather day! Today, small patches of snow but no ice- so a non-factor.

Overall, a great hike- wish I had seen the famous Quandary goats and sheep, though!

3 months ago

Lower parking wide open at 6:40 on Sunday 9/30. Gorgeous views all the way up and down. Trail well maintained. No need for micro spikes today. Lots of people but everyone is so happy outside :) took us 4 hours to summit including snack stops and layering on and off.

3 months ago

Saturday Sept 29, great weather, winds brisk but not terrible. Tougher than I expected but completed in 5 hours 10 minutes. Views good, disappointed not to see any goats, fewer hikers than expected but still a pretty busy trail. No trekking poles but they would be handy on the descent.

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked and summited on Sept 21, last day of summer. Great hike, really good weather, dress in layers,, I always use trekking poles. As stated in many reviews before, last 1/2 mile pitch is a beast. Really good trail, Co. mountian initiative workers were on trail at about 13,500, moving rocks, doing great work. Really appreciated it, and told them so. Those guys and gals are ironmen I swear. Saw mountain goats really up close, good pix, but stayed our distance. upper trail head parking on that Friday, 5 cars at 5:15am, capacity of only 7, some limited road parking. About a 7 hour hike total for us with stops, pix and lunch, great views and comaraderie, on trail and summit. First 14er for us, got more on the list for next year, met new friends, amazing day!

hiking
3 months ago

A great first 14er to wear out a flatlander

hiking
3 months ago

Upper trailhead parking was full by 7:15 on a Tuesday, so we parked in the lower trailhead lot. Lower trailhead parking has porta potties (upper lot does not) and is only about 5 minute walk to the upper lot/trailhead, so don't even bother with the upper trailhead parking. The trail is extremely well maintained, still dry (light snow in spots) and very easy to follow. If you take it slow and make frequent stops, this is a doable 14er. The trail wasn't very crowded, and we had the summit to ourselves. It took us 3.5 hours to summit, and 2.5 hours to descent, which included a long snack break since the summit was extremely windy. Layers/hat/gloves are essential, and trekking poles if you have them. This is one of those annoying mountains where the descent is almost as tough as working your way up. Lots of loose rock on the trail. But it's worth it. The views are amazing, and there were lots of mountain goats (and a baby goat!) The goats seemed super nonchalant, though, so just walk slowly by them and don't be an idiot, and they're fine. I can't imagine doing this on a summer weekend. Shoot for early fall/midweek if you can. The threat of thunderstorms diminishes, and crowds drop off substantially. I'd probably recommend Bierstadt over Quandry for a "starter" 14er, but this was a great hike.

hiking
3 months ago

Gorgeous. Tons of mountain goats.

3 months ago

steep climb but beautiful views

3 months ago

Climbed Peak 9/21/18, seems much longer than 6+miles out and back. Trail very rocky, you'll want poles for descent. Dogs definitely need padded boots. My first 14er and Quandary put the big D in difficult. Good views from top, mountain goats on trail descending 3pm. No snow, only needed light jacket, t-shirts at summit. Check off my bucket list, need much more training before attempting another 14er. Big push for 73 year old.

hiking
4 months ago

Climbed yesterday (9/16) and started at 05:49. Wasn’t sure of what to expect, since one of the reviews really bashed the mountain. There was a 20 deg F change in temperature and a wind that started in the last ~200 yards from the peak. The total hike took us 6 hours 1.5 minutes. One person in our party had to stop every 10 feet due to the altitude. Bring a hat, gloves and a warm jacket for the top, headlamp or flashlight for the start.
Pros: The views were great, Aspens were in full color, saw a fox right before we started and two mountain goats on the way down.
Cons: The scree field was long; coming down wreaked havoc on the knees.

4 months ago

Did this hike yesterday 9/16 and it was my fourth 14er. It was by far the hardest one I’ve done. We stared at 415 am and finished by noon. It took way longer than I thought it would, but it was the last part up to the summit that killed me with the steepness. I feel like the views were actually pretty awesome compared to what I’ve read on other reviews, especially since the aspens are changing and it’s beautiful. The rocks are pretty tough to walk and navigate on and I busted my butt probably 5 or 6 times on the way down, so take it slow. It was worth the challenge though! Also, it was very windy and cold at the summit so bring plenty of layers and gloves

4 months ago

First fourteener! Did this a week ago on a Saturday. Got there at 7:30. Plenty of parking. Consistent people brought it the whole hike. Some brought dogs. Be smart, don’t take a dog here that can’t handle it. Same thing for kids. From the saddle up to the top we were stuck by a group with a young child who was crying that she didn’t want to go any further. The mother literally had to pick the kid up and carry her for a few sections. Be a better parent. Don’t subject your kid or others to this.

That said, the views were outstanding, and there are many places in nearby Breckenridge for the requisite beer after. I would definitely go back.

hiking
4 months ago

Perfect day for our 1st 14er. Not too, cold not windy, sunshine and not a cloud in the sky! Parked at 6am and summited in 3 hours! We saw Pikas and chipmunks but not mountain goat.

4 months ago

Loved this hike!! The views at the top are incredible! We were slightly intimidated since so many people were starting so early....we started at 7:30 and made it to the summit in about 2.5 hours but we hike faster than some. It’s a pretty slow-going hike for the last 1.5 miles so just expect to go slow cause you have to watch your footing and it gets pretty busy. Bring plenty of water and wear good hiking shoes. We got back to the bottom just after noon and we’re glad we did because we heard thunder as we got to the parking lot. We saw two mountain goats on the trail which was probably the best part of the hike!

hiking
4 months ago

Perfect bluebird day. Golden fall leaves. Trail in amazingly good condition. Took almost 4 hours to summit; longer than expected. Few people on the trail. Great views, saw mountain goat and cute baby goat only a few yards away on descent.

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