Quandary Peak Trail

HARD 630 reviews

Quandary Peak Trail is a 6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Breckenridge, Colorado that features a lake 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
6.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3320 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

camping

cross country skiing

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

rock climbing

skiing

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

Quandary's east ridge route gets very crowded on summer weekends.

2 hours ago

Went today. It was beautiful and warm. Still lots of snow, but packed and a little icy. Not too much post holing if you stay in tracks. Not icy up top. I’d recommend yak tracks and a pole. Tons of goats!!!

hiking
2 days ago

For the next month, I would suggest spikes, poles and pants. Don’t forget a coat and some sunscreen. It was chilly once you get out of the tree line. The last mile to the summit is a bear and snow covered. The views at the top are well worth it. Get on the trail early. Know the weather before hand because you are exposed after the first mile. Really fun hike! 1st 14er!! Whoop whoop!

hiking
15 days ago

got to trailhead a little after 6. summit by 10:30 in spikes & with plenty of stops. back at car by 1. packed snow all the way to summit. go early and stay on trail (even if it looks like snow has been packed by previous hikers) you will post hole until you want to cry #goats

hiking
16 days ago

Did this on 06/25/17. It was my first Fourteener. So took around 4 hours to reach the top. View was amazing. Too icy on the top. Be careful while coming down.

snowshoeing
18 days ago

Stunning beauty with all the snow-covered peaks!! Sunny skies and an occasional breeze. And the trail was about 99% covered in snow, except the very beginning.

We arrived shortly before 7am and a few spots remained in the parking lot. The gate at McCullough Gulch road remains closed and snow drifts block the road. Definitely bring spikes for traction. Snowshoes came in very handy in the afternoon for the last mile down, and we still post-holed in a few spots. Poles are very helpful, too, for balance in the soft snow.

The snow enhanced the beauty but made it more difficult (5 1/2 hrs to summit vs 3 1/2 in the summer). Allow for additional time to descend.

Still, totally worth it for us. Mountain goats, skiers, mountain beauty, snow covered peaks, and even those who parachuted off the mountain. Fantastic day!! Wouldn't trade.

18 days ago

Ascended 5-5-18 as my first 14er! Started hiking just after 6, and a lot of people were also beginning then. Made it back to the car at 12:30. We took our time and took two 20 minute breaks, one before the last 1000 feet and one at the peak. This trail is certainly difficult, and the altitude affected hikers on the trail. Some would say anyone could complete this, but I’d probably advise against that if you don’t have a cardio routine and haven’t acclimated.
The trail was snow the the entire way up, we brought snowshoes but didn’t use them. Although, on the descent, we post-holed enough that we should have put them on. We wore spikes the entire time which I highly recommend! Overall, the best experience I could have ever asked for for my first 14er!

hiking
20 days ago

I hiked Quandary this morning (5/5 6a-noon), so here are a few tidbits that I thought would be helpful.

- The trail is 95% snow-packed from bottom to top. Only a bit of rocky dirt trail at the beginning and slush there as the weather warms up.
- I only wore hiking boots. I would not recommend this! To be honest, the only reason I didn't wear microspikes is because REI didn't have the color microspkes I wanted (... I know I know). I made it up/down without issue, but I watched my footing very carefully (especially over the icy spots and the last steep 1000 feet) and even then slipped 5-6 times. It was also rough on my ankles since I had to keep digging my boots into the hard snow.
- Microspikes are all you need. My friends wore microspikes and did great. There was an equal mix of microspikers and skiiers. Very few people were snowshoeing.
- I never use hiking poles but the vast majority of people had them and I hear they're very helpful.
- My friends and I hiked down, but most people skiied down. Very few were snowshoeing.

Hope that's helpful. The weather was fantastic so get out there tomorrow if you can!

hiking
25 days ago

Completed this on 4/28. It was incredible! The snow was packed on the way to the top and we timed our peak at the best possible time getting there around 12:30. Blue skies and it was actually hot. Started making our way down around 1 which was perfect timing to miss the changing weather. It was warm about half way down so the packed snow we had on the way up was slush and caused a good bit of post holing. Overall, best views and conditions for our group!
Crampons/spikes/yaktrax are all that is needed.

hiking
26 days ago

Hiked on April 28, 2018. Spikes were definitely all we needed in the hike up, but snowshoes would have been helpful with the post-holing on the way back down. It was the most perfect day to be on top of a 14er - made the summit around 11am, 5mph wind, sunshine &@ probably 40 degrees. Also, summiting in the spring made this hike much less crowded than a summer day! Would recommend.

hiking
26 days ago

Climbed in May 2016. It was a snow climb and extremely warm windy. Due to not preparing properly I received 2nd wind and Sun burns on my face and lips. Prepare well and never underestimate the power of Mother Nature. Great hike!

hiking
1 month ago

I'm a novice, so this is for those of you who are planning on trying Quandary because it's considered easy: This hike is still a grind, particularly in the snow.

We ascended on April 1, beginning a little late (around 8:30 am). The trail was mostly packed and easy to follow, particularly below the tree line. It was close to 50 degrees at the trailhead but dropped to around 14 degrees at the summit (not accounting for 50 mile-per-hour wind gusts).

Between 13,000 and 14,000 feet, as someone with very little high-altitude experience, there were times where it felt like I needed to stop and catch my breath every minute. Those already acclimated to high altitudes will have an easier go but if you're a first timer, prepare for the fatigue (and don't be afraid to turn around if you begin to feel strong symptoms of altitude sickness). Also, prepare for the wind gusts. There were times where I had to plant my feet and just withstand the weather for a moment until it passed.

If hiking in the snow, I'd recommend the use of spikes, poles, and snow shoes. On our way back down, back within the treeline, we spied what appeared to be a well-traveled cut-across leading downward. This was a mistake on our part, as it led to 20-30 minutes of postholing up to our waists when our bodies were already weak and exhausted. So... stay on the trail.

If you're an advanced and/or experienced hiker at altitude, I'm relatively certain you'll knock this one out of the park. I was passed by numerous skiers who were skinning up Quandary and skiing down (I was quite envious of their speedy descent).

It took me over six hours to complete this hike. As a small addendum, make sure your slather any exposed skin in sunscreen, even your lips. With the snow's reflection, the sun is not going to be kind to your face up there.

hiking
2 months ago

Went last Saturday. The weather was perfect! No wind at the summit. Many other people were on the trail that day so by mid afternoon, a lot of the snow was sloshy. It was breath taking seeing the 360 view of snowy mountains

hiking
2 months ago

Really scenic trail. I didn’t use spikes or snowshoes though spikes would have been helpful. The trail is pretty packed down and easy to follow, but if you get off the trail you’ll know right away when you end up in waist deep snow.

hiking
2 months ago

Summited on 3-9 and the trail was good with micro spikes. There was an area at the timberline where people go off trail and post hole up. If they just kept going straight instead of turning up hill, the trail continues packed

hiking
2 months ago

Summited on 1/24/2018.
Could have used snow shoes at the base, but I was able to push through with just Microspikes. I only saw two other people and was the only one at the top when I summited. Awesome views and defiantly worth the effort.

hiking
3 months ago

Feb 19 2018 hike. Started at 4am. Super windy. Had a ton of struggles with the crampons that I was using. Saw a Snow White ptarmigan! It was awesome!

Made it to false summit around 7am. Was freezing cold and getting blown down. The wind was fierce. Decided to head back. Made it back around 8:45am.

The snow was pretty crunchy.

hiking
4 months ago

I hike this 14er a lot because it is accessible year round to a 2WD vehicle, with the trailhead just off the road from Hoosier Pass. As others say, it gets very busy in the summer and fall.

I hiked up yesterday morning (Jan. 9) and was amazed by the lack of snow. But the trail, which follows the ridge, was almost 95 percent in snow, so I definitely recommend microspikes. A few areas of deep drifts where I was post-holing.

Great climb for the middle of winter. Just wish there was more snow.

Just heard that it is snowing in nearby Breckenridge! Fingers crossed!

4 months ago

easy too many tourists better to do kelso ridge. even an easy winter way up to bag a super awesome couloir

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful hike. A huge snowpack on the upper ridge when hiking it in June made it difficult.

hiking
5 months ago

Did this hike on 12/11 and it was beautiful! We saw Rocky Mountain goats, pikas and marmots which was exciting! We were unfortunately unable to summit because we lost a shoe clamp without either snow shoes or clamps this hike is impossible. A little more difficult than I had expected but easy in 14er standards and really gorgeous. Can't wait to try this hike again!

5 months ago

Summited 12/19. Snow was patchy throughout, very hard packed. No need for snowshoes, but microspikes and poles were a must. Otherwise perfect early winter conditions!

5 months ago

Attempted to summit 12/16. Definitely need at least poles and traction. Would have been preferable with snowshoes above tree line due to deep snow and post holing.

hiking
5 months ago

Made it to summit with my son on 12/11. Used micro spikes and poles, very helpful. Very windy and cold at top. 5 hours round trip. Was great fun. Very open hike, rising above tree line early on. Then pretty consistent ascent to top. Views from summit are spectacular!

5 months ago

Did on 12/9 with yak trax and poles. Probably would’ve been easier with crampons, but wasn’t too bad.

5 months ago

Make sure you have poles and spikes. We didn’t and had to turn back, but can’t wait to try again. Challenging especially when you live at 80 feet above sea level.

hiking
5 months ago

Definitely a busy trail, so getting to the trailhead as early as you can (before full sunrise) is best. The hard work is worth the breathtaking views! We went in July and there were tons of mountain goats parallel to the trail despite the crowds!

hiking
5 months ago

Made this hike on 12/1 and it was definitely worth it. The temperature wasn't too bad, but the wind was extremely cold and strong at some moments. We didn't need show shoes but microspikes and trekking poles were helpful with the final approach. We saw a heard of mountain goats and only 3 other people!

hiking
5 months ago

Definitely recommend yaktrax but it is doable without them if you’re determined!

hiking
5 months ago

Absolutely will be back

hiking
5 months ago

Completed without traction, just a solid pair of winter hiking boots. But it would be faster with spikes.

Super cold when the wind kicks in. You’ll need every layer you have.

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