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
5 days 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
7 days 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
8 days 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.

15 days ago

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

hiking
15 days 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
16 days 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!

16 days 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
16 days 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!

21 days 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.

22 days 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
22 days 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
24 days ago

A great first 14er to wear out a flatlander

hiking
26 days 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
27 days ago

Gorgeous. Tons of mountain goats.

28 days ago

steep climb but beautiful views

30 days 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
1 month 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.

1 month 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

1 month 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
1 month 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.

1 month 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
1 month 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.

hiking
1 month ago

This was my first 14er. The trail was less difficult than I thought it would be, but I certainly wouldn't call it easy by any means. We arrived at the trailhead at 6 AM and were back to the car by noon. I took a few breaks going up and a 30 minute lunch break on the way down. Given that it was very crowded even when arriving by 6, I'd recommend buying headlamps and starting at 4 AM.

Pack for all weather conditions. As you ascend up the mountain the temperature drops significantly. By the time you are at the peak, it is incredibly cold and windy. I had multiple layers that I could peel off or put on if needed. I also brought gloves, a hat, something to cover my ears and a poncho. I didn't end up needing the poncho luckily. I would also strongly recommend bringing tissues. My nose ran the entire time going up due to how cold it was.

Altitude sickness was something else I worried about, but I was fine. That might be because I had time to acclimate. I live in Denver and we spent two days in Estes Park (7500 ft) and then a day in Breck (9600 ft) prior to the hike. I brought plenty of water in case I started having issues, but I ended up not drinking most of it.

Overall, I'm really glad I did this. It was a great experience although it wasn't the prettiest hike (which is why I am giving this 4 stars instead of 5 - scenery is an important aspect of hiking for me). The majority of the hike I found myself staring at the loose rock I was trying to navigate through. Due to how rocky this trail is, proper hiking shoes are a must. I'd recommend bringing poles if you have them. I didn't and I would have loved having them coming down from the peak. It was quite rough on my ankles. Regardless, I still highly recommend this trail!

hiking
1 month ago

We had a bit of trouble finding the trailhead because Waze took us to the wrong place, so we had to start driving back towards Breck until we had enough service to load a map and figure it out. When we got to the trailhead, we saw 2 moose while we were driving up! Started hiking at 8:30, and different members of our group of 7 summited between 10:45 and 11:35. Wasn't as crowded as I expected, but lots of people on the last bit near the top. LOTS of loose rock. Not so bad going up (although tiring) but it was a huge pain going down - I rolled my ankle (luckily nothing serious), another person fell, and there were a lot of close calls. Saw (and heard) lots of pikas, and we saw three mountain goats, all very close to the trail. 5/7 of us finished at 1:36, the last two followed 20 minutes later. They were doing construction on the trail at several points but you were just directed to walk through it and stay on trail - it felt like more of an inconvenience to the workers than to us.

This was my second 14er and I struggled a lot more on Bierstadt than this one, although I think that mainly just had to do with my reaction to altitude. Great hike, definitely worth it!

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

The views at the top are more than worth it, but you’ve got to work for it! We started this trail at 5:45 AM when it was still relatively dark. Note that there are two lots for the trail, the second one is the one that is closest to the actual trail, lower lot you’ve got to walk. You’ll see tons of people. First forest part is a steady incline but nothing unmanageable. Leaves are starting to change here, so take it in! About 2 miles in, the trail gets much rockier and steeper, as you ascend above tree line. The views throughout the whole hike are exceptional, it’s neat to see how far you’ve climbed by looking at the lot and two lakes. The last part is nothing short of BRUTAL, with an incredible steep and scrambly incline to the top. Plenty of places to stop and rest though, as you and every other hiker on the trail will be doing that. We summited at 8:20 and we’re back to the car at 11:30, after stopping at the top for 20 minutes to take in the FABULOUS views. The top was crowded by 8:40, so the earlier the better! The top is COLD and windy, but the descend will have you directly facing the sun, so pack many layers, a lot of water and gloves/hat for warmth! You’ll also encounter trail restoration volunteers on the way down, making the trail accessible to all! Hiking boots strongly suggested, as this hike takes a beating to your knees and those with wobbly ankles. To compare to Mt. Bierstadt, we found it to be MUCH rockier throughout but overall better views.

hiking
1 month ago

This review is for all you East Coast people out there who feel confident that you can hike a 14ner....this is NOT what you think it's going to be. Such an amazing hike and my boyfriend and I made it to about 300 yards from the summit but the weather started to change and the elevation was hitting us hardcore. The views are beautiful and the trail wasn't very hard to follow considering it was all rock. We saw two mountain goats and so many pikas! First experience with real elevation but we made it to 14,020 ft so that was good enough for me. Highly recommend but no 14ner is a beginner 14ner for people coming from sea level! Be careful people, elevation sickness is real and we learned the hard way.

hiking
1 month ago

Our first 14er and an amazing experience! Nothing about this (or any 14er) is easy, though. Steep from start to finish! We are in-shape locals who hike 10-16 miles every weekend and we still found this hike brutal. Also, it’s 12 miles round trip, not 6. Some tips:
1) Start before 6am due to weather and limited parking. We claimed the last parking spot Saturday at 5:45am when we started, then summited at 9:30am and were down by noon. 6hrs 20mins total but altitude affects everyone differently. Some people take 3hrs, others take 11. Assume you’ll take a long time so that you’re down by noon, latest.
2) Wear layers (including raincoat, and winter hat & gloves)
3) Pack EVERYTHING the experts recommend for a 14er. There are some great lists out there. Do your research and get it all. We used our headlamps, first aid kit, Advil, snacks, Gatorade and other things we weren't sure we'd need. Don’t forget your sign for the picture at the top! A CamelBak style pack saves the time you’d waste fumbling with water bottles, and is well worth it.
4) Pack 3 liters of water per person to lower the chances of altitude sickness. We only used 3 liters between the two of us, but everyone is different.
5) Know and listen to the signs of altitude sickness. Increasingly bad headache = abort mission and turn back.
6) Check the weather ahead of time for Quandary Peak (not for Breckenridge). Use hiking-specific apps like Windy, Climbing Weather, & Barometer & Altimeter. Check the mountain -forecast dotcom website beforehand. Quandary Peak is shale, aka an electrical conductor and treacherous in a storm.
7) Poles & boots are a must if you have even slightly bad knees or back (and I have both). Above treeline, the trail consists of loose rock that is VERY easy to slip on. I slipped 10x and fell 3x, busting my elbow in the process. It's because I was wearing trail running shoes when I should have been wearing hiking boots, and it was also because my legs started to give out from fatigue. If I didn't have those hiking poles, I would have fallen 10x. Alot of people feel that coming down is much harder than going up.
8) For the safety of all animals and people, leash your dog! Mountain goats are often aggressive towards dogs. Also, if your dog startles a child, that child could fall off a very dangerous spot. And put booties on your dog to prevent their paws getting cut up from that sharp terrain.
9) Leave the small children at home. This hike is not appropriate for them at all because it’s way too steep and the risk of altitude sickness is substantial. We even saw older kids getting sick from the altitude.
10) Plan to pee in front of strangers because there’s no cover. Do it off the trail, as the salt in urine attracts mountain goats.
11) Plan on crowds. This peak gets 500+ visitors every weekend.
12) The last portion of this climb is a bitch on wheels. There’s a saddle at 13,000’ and once you pass that, you hit the hardest part of the hike, the hike from 13,000’ up to 14,265’. I could only take 7-10 steps at a time before stopping to gasp for air…the whooooole way.
13) Like always, uphill still gets the right of way, but uphill hikers, be sensitive to the fact that downhillers are dealing with totally shot legs, wobbly knees, and a high chance of falling. We were fortunate in that the uphillers timed their stops for air with our downhill passing, and vice versa. Everyone played nicely, and everyone won.
It was a life changing experience, and I’m still riding high from it 3 days later! Just do your homework and go prepared!

1 month ago

Difficult trail but the views at the top are absolutely amazing! Be sure to start early since storms usually roll in in the afternoon. The trail was about 6.4 miles from the East trail head. We were able to do the trail in 5 hrs.

1 month ago

Awesome view! Last 1/2mi is hardest. My first 14er. Weather can change quickly in early sept.

Load More