McCullough Gulch Hike, a popular sought-after trail in Breckenridge CO, you don’t want to miss!  A bit on the strenuous side of moderate but so worth the effort.

Nothing is lacking on this trek, it’s an alpine playground sitting alongside Quandary PeakWe found old miner’s cabins, a stunning waterfall, a gorgeous alpine lake, and log water crossings.

 

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BEGINS ON A DIRT ROAD

Today I’ve brought a group of girlfriends to show off this amazing trail and to show them they can do high-altitude hikes. McCullough Gulch trail gets the heart pumping but has numerous beautiful spots to stop and catch your breath.

 

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From the parking area, the hike begins on a flat dirt road for a ½ mile before you find the actual trailhead sign.  From here, the uphill ascent begins on a rocky yet wide path until crossing a footbridge.

 

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OLD MINER’S CABIN

Not far past the bridge, we passed an old Miner’s cabin on our left which looks just like your in a Colorado postcard! 

Check out my October trek to McCullough Gulch Trail and see this beautiful hike in the early snow.

 

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Quandary Peak is towering above us as we continue to climb a rocky section of the trail.

 

 

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The trail leveled off for a short time and become very shady as we hiked over log bridges through dense tall pines. Not long after, it’s hiking uphill once again.


 

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WHITE PINE FALLS LOOP

Not to be missed, White Pine Falls Loop, a popular stopping point for many hikers.

 

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White Pine Falls is impressive! One of Colorado’s best waterfalls. It flows calmly over the ridge then aggressively tumbles down the rocks far below. Flat rocks line the sides which is a popular spot to sit, hang out, snack, or if like us. Stop, Look, Take Pics, and keep on going ….

 

 

 

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On to the first lake, Upper Blue ReservoirIt’s a scramble up a few rocks on steep terrain but doable.

 

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It’s a short journey to the summit of Upper Blue Reservoir and can be confusing trying to figure out where the trail is closer to the top but easy to tell where the lake sits over the ridge.

 

 

 

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UPPER BLUE RESERVOIR

It’s so worth the extra push to the Upper Blue! Surrounded by Quandary Peak, Fletcher Mountain & Atlantic Peak it’s a sight to behold. 

NOTE: You can go to the 2nd lake. Starts at the far west side of the lake where you’ll begin a steep climb, following a twisty path that can be hard to navigate.

 

 

 

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Hiking down is as beautiful as hiking up. The sweeping views as you go down are as exciting as when you anticipate the summit when hiking up. 

 

NOTE: Be mindful of changing weather when above treeline in the open tundra where the upper lakes are. Best to head down below treeline quickly when the skies become ominous.

 

A trail you want to be prepared for with appropriate hiking gear. Please check out  “Our Favorite Hiking Essentials” for a list of recommended items to carry anytime hiking.

 

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On our hike down we went behind the Miner’s Cabin. I’d never ventured behind the cabin before. I was with friends though and peer pressure got the best of me! We followed other hikers and discovered this hidden gem. (photo above).

Come early in the summer months. Its popular and parking is a challenge.  

LOCATED

Approximately 7 miles south of Breckenridge on Hwy 9, turn right onto Blue Lakes Reservoir Rd. (#850). Make an immediate right onto Rd #851. (Just past the overflow parking area for Quandary Peak Trailhead). Travel 2.1 miles on a rugged but passable road in summer and fall to the Trailhead.

 

TIDBITS

2.7 miles out and back from trailhead + a half mile trek to the Trailhead making it 3.7 miles.

Rated: moderate, consider it’s an uphill trek with lots of rocks and steep areas at high altitude.

Start Elevation: 11,100 ft. Elevation gain: 1,578 ft.

2 portable restrooms at the overflow parking lot for Quandary Peak

Highly popular trail, can become very crowded, limited close parking.

Dog friendly

Popular for snowshoeing: Contact Dillon Park Ranger District for Trail conditions. 

Nearest town: Breckenridge, CO

White River National Forest

Dispersed Camping permitted

NOTE: The road to the trailhead may be gated for weather issues in winter.

MORE HIKES!

Check out my favorite Colorado Hikes…

13 Rugged Alpine Lake Hikes

Colorado Hikes, 23 Awesome Trails

Drop a comment below for any questions. Share your adventures with me. I’d love to hear from you, HAPPY TRAILS…

Connect with me on Instagram! I enjoy hanging out there and leaving tidbits of trails I’ve hiked in Colorado. Follow me and say hi – send me a message! Follow other hikers and be inspired!

 


 

This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase anything through one of our links you will be supporting our small business at no extra cost to you.

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