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  • McCullough Gulch - Hiking

McCullough Gulch - Hiking

1 stars
The trail is short and relatively easy.
Time To Complete
3.0 hours
The trail is only 1.4 miles, but there's lots to see at the lake and waterfall areas.
3.0 miles
2.8 miles round-trip
Topo Map
McCullough Gulch & Beyond
Dog Friendly
Destination Highlights
Classic destination,
Great for families,
Panoramic views


If you do only one hike in Summit County, McCullough Gulch should be your choice! The destination features a glacial lake that lies above a series of majestic waterfalls and offers serenity and beauty that is unsurpassed. As you begin your hike by skirting the gate at the end of the parking area, quickly cross a bridge and trudge up an old mining road that is dotted with ruins.

What Makes It Great

Glimpses down the canyon provide dramatic views of the roaring creek and distant peaks. After about a 15 minute walk, a fork on the left enters the pine forest and the mining road proceeds uphill to private property on your right. Be sure to take this marked footpath at the left fork and leave the main road. As you follow the path for nearly a mile, several stream crossings bring you close to the falls cascading down from the ledge up ahead. Many trails lead to various levels of the falls but they return to the main trail that can be followed up the fairly steep ledge to the alpine lake at the top.Here you can explore the lake or just enjoy the serenity of one of Summit County's most idyllic settings. Storms are frequent here, so make sure to pack your rain gear and get an early start. There are plenty of fun places to explore and there are even rumors of precious gemstones hiding in the rocks beneath your feet. The photo opportunities are exceptional as the Tenmile Range looms on three sides of the valley.

Who is Going to Love It

Families, casual hikers, and those hoping to enjoy the majesty of rushing alpine waterfalls will enjoy this area. The views are spacious and photographers can spend hours lining up the perfect shot. In the morning sunrise, the entire basin will be bathed in soft orange light—a great time to ready your lens and snag the perfect mountain photo.

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Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From Breckenridge head south on route 9 for 7.6 miles to Blue Lakes Drive (#850). Turn right onto Blue Lakes drive and continue for about 100 yards to McCullough Gulch Rd.(#851). Turn right and continue for 2.2 miles, staying left at the Y-junction to the parking area at the trailhead. The roads are well-signed.

Thanks to Summit County Explorer for providing orignal content.