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.

There is nothing lacking on this trek, it’s an alpine playground sitting alongside Quandary Peak.

We found old miner’s cabins, a stunning waterfall, a gorgeous alpine lake, and log water crossings.

 

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Today I’ve come with a group of girlfriends to show off this amazing trail. Which leads me to chat about a one of the girls who struggles with heights, fear, and strength, and she did it!

 

McCullough Gulch hike gets the heart pumping but has numerous beautiful spots to stop and catch your breath.

 

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After first walking up a flat dirt road for about ½ mile you will find the actual trailhead sign and begin going uphill on a rocky yet wide path until crossing a footbridge.

 

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Not far past the bridge we passed an old Miner’s cabin on our left which looked like 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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And yup, more hiking up a rocky steady incline …

 

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The trail leveled off for a bit and became very shady, surrounded by tall pine trees, as we went over a log bridge.

Not long after, it’s hiking uphill again on a more narrow path, lined with wildflowers popping out between the rocks.

 


 

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When reaching White Pine Falls Loop, (a must do!) it was time for a break. But not for long…

 

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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 make for a great place 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 Reservoir

 

From White Pine Waterfall it’s not much farther to the first lake, just more challenging.

 

This is where one of our hiker gals got scared, seeing the rocks to scramble up and how steep it was getting. She found as you will find, that it is doable! In her words, “you can always come down on your bottom”. 

 

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It’s a short journey to the summit of Upper Blue Reservoir from the short steep incline.

It was confusing to see where the trail leads as you got closer to the top, but we are almost there and it became clear where the lake would be. 

 

 

 

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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. 

NEED MORE TRAILS? Check out our collection of favorite Colorado Trail Guide Books for you to keep on hiking and exploring! 

 

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Hiking down is as beautiful as going up. The sweeping views looking downward was as exciting as anticipating the top 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  “What’s in Your Day Pack” for a list of recommended items to carry anytime hiking.

 

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On our way 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 crawled under the fence, following other hikers and discovered this hidden gem. (photo above).

Today, it’s late summer, a great time of year to hike McCullough Gulch, but come early (before 8am). It’s popular In the summer months 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.

HAPPY TRAILS….


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