ElevationAscent: 3,169' 966 m
Descent: -3,178' -969 m
High: 14,184' 4,323 m
Low: 11,006' 3,355 m
GradeAvg Grade: 19% (11°)
Max Grade: 87% (41°)
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“A popular and easy 14er just outside Breckenridge.”— Matthew Coye
Note: Even though land management says dogs are to be leashed, you'll see many dogs and few leashes.
Hopefully you enjoy talus fields, as everything above treeline (~11,800 ft) is rocky, loose, and/or tumbling. It makes for quite fancy footwork on the descent! The climb is always worth it. Enjoy the spectacular views of the Tenmile Range on the summit, as well as Mt. Baldy across the way.
Breaking above treeline you climb the stone staircase that was made for giants and embrace the burning sensation.
Once you get to about 13,100' there is a nice 'flat' part of the ridgeline that doesn't last long enough. Your eyes will be drawn to the seriously steep push up to the summit while traversing this bench. This next part will have your heart racing and legs screaming, but once you see the summit.... You'll see
There is a parking lot just to the right. Although it is not the official Quandary Peak parking, it is a good option. To get to the actual trailhead: from here things become pretty apparent - just drive a hundred yards before turning right onto 851, shortly after which there should be a large parking lot with trailhead signs and a latrine. Overflow parking should remain along the side of 851, and not 850, as the residents of this area see enough traffic and don't deserve to have their driveways blocked.
From the TH off 851, walk up the road to a clearly marked trail, heading west nearly parallel to the road. The trail is clear, easy, and relatively low grade. In about 0.3 miles there is a large boulder to the right of the trail. Turn right around it. The trail is clear during the summer months, but in the event that it is covered with snow it's easy to miss this turn. After gaining about 700 vertical ft, you'll start to pass through some clearings, some of which are fairly flat, at 11,300'. The trail crosses some abandoned mining roads, but clear signs should keep confusion to a minimum.
At 11,700' the trees become sparse. The ridge pops into view around 11,800'. The trail brings you along the left side of the ridge. Follow the switchbacks up towards the ridge proper, which you should reach at around 12,400'. From here the summit is visible and it's more or less impossible to get lost. At 13,100', angle left along some flats to stay on the ridge. From here the trail gets rockier but is still clear; the grade gets steeper but is still manageable. At 13,400' ft trail stops switchbacking and heads more or less straight up until you hit the 14k' mark. From here, continue up along the summit ridge and celebrate!
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Land Manager: USFS - White River National Forest Office