With its close proximity to Breckenridge, the 2.6-mile round-trip McCullough Gulch Trail is a popular trek that ascends past waterfalls and wildflowers to the picturesque Upper Blue Reservoir on the doorsteps of 14,265-foot Quandary Peak to the south and 13,950-foot Pacific Peak to the north.
The trailhead is located 2.4 miles west of Highway 9 at the end of unpaved McCullough Gulch Road, which is suitable for passenger vehicles during the summer and fall months. Arriving early helps to secure parking and avoid the peak-season crowds.
The hike begins at 11,100-feet on an old mining road and immediately ascends a steep grade through wildflowers and boulder fields. Watch for the surrounding mountains that occasionally peek through the pines. As hikers climb above tree line the forest gives way to open tundra and expansive views of the valley. At 1.3 miles lies Upper Blue Reservoir, where hikers can picnic, spot mountain goats, or play in the remaining snow during the summer months.
The short detour to White Falls Loop is a must-do, as it brings hikers right up to a set of steep waterfalls with various flora lining the banks of the falls. The loop returns back to the McCullough Gulch Trail, where hikers descend back down to the trailhead and parking area.
Conservation Colorado has worked with communities around the state for over 50 years in pursuit of its mission - to protect Colorado’s environment and quality of life by mobilizing people and electing conservation-minded policymakers. It fights to protect the air, land, water, and people of Colorado. Their collaborative approach and focus on electing pro-conservation officials has yielded successes in addressing climate change, supporting clean energy development, conserving water resources, and protecting our public wildlands and rivers.