By Jamie Leary

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Parking at one of Colorado’s most popular 14ers could cost you up to $50 under its new pilot reservation program. It turns out some people are happy to pay the $100 ticket for parking illegally.

(credit: CBS)

“So here’s what happened this weekend, the sign, the 20-foot electronic sign that the county put up, said no parking on Blue Lakes, no parking on McDill no parking on McCulllogh, we will give you a $100 ticket up from the previous $61,” said David Pfau, who owns a home across from the Quandary trailhead, “so I asked people, ‘What’s your thought process, did you see the sign?’ they’re like, ‘$100 is worth it.'”

Not only that, but people continue to park in his driveway, despite the no parking signs.

“Nobody cares outside their own little bathroom and parking in their driveway, but if it’s someone else’s driveway go ahead and park in that driveway,” he said sarcastically.

Pfau says he is over being angry, still, he wants a solution and doesn’t believe the new pilot program will do much to curb the traffic.

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Summit County and its partners, the towns of Breckenridge and Blue River, the U.S. Forest Service and Colorado Springs Utilities, are doing what they can to minimize the impact.

The land is not only getting loved to death, it’s become a safety issue.

Beginning Friday, to park for a full day (4 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.), a reservation will cost you $50 and $20 for a half day. A free shuttle to Quandary will be offered as an alternative and dogs are welcome.

“I think the important thing is to recognize is what we’re trying to accomplish. We want to try to limit the impacts to the folks that live up there, limit the impacts to our emergency services folks,” said Brantley Bryant, Summit County’s Assistant Manager.

The illegal parking has at times blocked service vehicles and more importantly emergency responders. The pilot program will hopefully ease some of those parking concerns.

(credit: CBS)

“As they like to say in the forest service, it’s an adaptive management plan and were gonna try to figure out how to adapt this program to the needs and the demands that quandary faces,” said Bryant.

The online reservation system opened on Monday evening and will allow people to make parking reservations for dates beginning Friday, through October 31st, up to two weeks in advance.

The county said it was still making considerations for parking tickets for those illegally parked. The $100 fine was a strong contender. Pfau said at the very least, the fine should be higher.

I mean it would have to be like, something that you think about. Something to make you think,” he said.

Through the process, the county will be conducting online surveys of the shuttle and permit program to help build the best possible program it can over the next several years.

How to Make a Parking Reservation

To make a parking reservation at Quandary Peak Trailhead, visit: *Note the website will go live on Monday, July 26 for reservations beginning July 30. Visitors will be able to reserve parking spots in the Quandary Peak parking lot two weeks in advance.

Parking reservations are as follows:

Quandary Peak:

  • Half-day shift: 4:00am-11:30am ($20)
  • Half-day shift: 12:00pm-7:30pm ($20)
  • Full-day shift:  4:00am-7:30pm ($50)

McCullough Gulch:

  • 3-hour shifts starting at 4:00am ($5) – 10 spaces will be allotted for these shifts

A free shuttle will be offered as an alternative from airport road and will run every 30 minutes, 7 days a week.

How to Hike McCullough Gulch Trail
Visitors to McCullough Gulch will need to reserve a parking space at the Quandary Peak Trailhead and ride an on-site shuttle from the Quandary Peak parking lot. A limited number of spaces in the Quandary Peak parking area have been designated for short term use specifically for the McCullough Gulch trail area. Hikers can also catch the Quandary Peak shuttle from the Airport Road parking lot in Breckenridge, and then board the McCullough Gulch shuttle at the base of Quandary.


Dogs are allowed on the trail but must be kept on a leash. Visitors bringing dogs are encouraged to reserve a parking space and not ride the shuttle. However, dogs are currently allowed on the shuttle. Please bring poop bags and clean up after your pet.

Jamie Leary