Hike a 14er in Breck
Julie Howsmon / August 24, 2020
Did you know that Colorado is home to over 58 peaks that exceed 14,000 feet in elevation? Around here, we call those “14ers.” In Breckenridge, you can summit a 14er called Quandary Peak, which is debatably one of the “easier” peaks to climb. But before you head out to champion the Rocky Mountains and have your celebratory summit Colorado craft brewskie, there are a few things you should know to ensure the most successful hike.
Get There Early
Since Quandary Peak is easy to access, a fairly moderate climb and only a ten-minute drive from downtown Breckenridge, it can get very busy, very fast. If at all possible, avoid hiking Quandary on the weekends, and if you simply have to hit the trail on a Saturday or Sunday, try to arrive at the trailhead by 5 am. There is limited parking that extends partway down the entry road. Once this fills up, you have to park very far away, which adds at least half a mile to a mile onto the beginning and end of your hike.
Bring Snacks & Extra Water
When you hit the trailhead bright and early, you’re probably not quite ready for a full breakfast but don’t be fooled, you will work up a hefty appetite on the ascent and hike back down. Support your local businesses here in Breck and buy a CARL Bar. Inspired in Breckenridge by a local who wanted to create an on-the-go bar that has no added sugars, and is non-GMO, dairy free, gluten free, soy free and vegan! Pack lots of extra water and easy-to-grab snacks such as nuts, dried fruit, jerky and peanut butter for protein.
Early in the morning, even in the summertime, it is quite chilly in the high country. Pack fleece layers for the beginning of the hike, which you might shed mid-hike as the incline steepens. Once at the top of Quandary Peak though, it can be incredibly windy and cold at such high elevation. You’ll definitely want to layer back up. Pack hand-warmers, gloves and a hat too just in case. You never know how long you’ll want to spend at the top taking in the views.
Pack Your Camera
The hike up to the summit of Quandary Peak is nothing short of beautiful. At the beginning, you’ll wind through an alpine forest, rich with piney smells and the occasional critter. The trail then pops you out into the open, where you’ll begin a rocky ascent—equally as beautiful and great for photo opps to capture the terrain transition and unique features. At the summit, you can see mountaintops for miles and miles. It’s common for people to bring cardboard signs Sharpied with the name of the 14er, the exact feet it stands and the date the summit was conquered. Don’t forget your camera to capture the beauty of Colorado and these special moments.