Summit County wants public input on shuttle, permit and reservation ideas for Quandary Peak

Group of stakeholders trying to find solution to 14,000-foot mountain’s congestion and parking problems

Hikers descend from the summit of Quandary Peak on Oct. 10, 2020.
Photo by Antonio Olivero /

Summit County on Wednesday shared a survey on social media asking people for their input on how to potentially solve parking and congestion issues in the area of Quandary Peak, one of the state’s most popular 14,000-foot mountains.

In the survey, the county describes the Quandary Peak area as including the trailheads and trails to Quandary Peak, McCullough Gulch and Blue Lakes.

The survey says the McCullough Gulch and Blue Lakes trailheads — areas that have smaller parking lots than the main Quandary Peak trailhead — have seen increases in visitor use over time, though it’s less visitation than Quandary.

Town of Breckenridge Open Space and Trails Manager Anne Lowe said a group of stakeholders — such as the town, county, U.S. Forest Service and the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative nonprofit — have developed some potential fixes to help manage increased use, preserve the visitor experience and protect resources in the Quandary Peak area.

Lowe said the stakeholders have met for several months working with a consultant to examine “a suite of options,” including permits, a shuttle service and mandatory carpools.

“We’re looking at a phased management approach,” Lowe said. “Does a shuttle or permit system make sense? Are we there yet? Are those options to consider in the next three to five years if we continue to see these problems?”

Lowe emphasized that the survey asks for input on “hypothetical” solutions.

The survey asks respondents to what degree they think crowding and congestion is a problem on trails in the Summit County area.

The survey goes on to ask respondents whether they typically carpool to access trails and how likely they would be to use a voluntary shuttle service to access a variety of trails in Summit County, including the Quandary Peak area.

The survey also asks how much people would be willing to pay for each ride, if anything, to use a voluntary shuttle service to access Summit County trails and how likely they would be to use a permitting or reservation system to access the Quandary Peak area.

As for potential solutions, the survey asks respondents how much they support ideas such as limiting parking to one side of all roads in the Quandary Peak area; expanding the main Quandary Peak parking lot; consistent enforcement of parking restriction; improved education and communication to users; adding permits and reservations for parking; adding permits or reservations for using the trails; adding a mandatory, seasonal shuttle service; adding a voluntary, seasonal shuttle service; implementing paid parking; and adding a park-and-ride or carpooling location in Breckenridge or Blue River.

Lowe said the stakeholder group will convene in early May to discuss the ideas further. She added that the new survey follows a similar Quandary survey from last year.

“And we got cool data and information,” Lowe said. “It was, generally, common sense. Visitors were expecting a lot of parking challenges and people. And I think, because they had that mindset, it didn’t interfere with their user experience. Locals and residents up there generally see much more of an issue with some of the parking, people and lines, and their user experience wasn’t quite as good.”

To respond to the survey, visit

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