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Hikers going to popular fourteener Quandary Peak paid more than $220,000 this year in parking and shuttle fees, the Colorado county managing the effort has revealed.
Summit County commissioners passed an amendment on Tuesday to allow for potential development at two popular Colorado trailheads, Quandary and McCoullough Gulch. As one of the state’s easier high summits, 14,271-foot Quandary Peak is hugely popular among hikers during the summer months, and sees steady ski and snowshoe traffic through the winter.
The amendment will “add allowed and accessory trail, trailhead, and parking uses as well as shelter/storage uses and communications tower,” according to the Summit Daily, and allows for the potential future alteration of parking areas and communications infrastructure, which may help search and rescue personnel operating in the area.
Like many trails, Quandary Peak and the surrounding area have seen a dramatic uptick in usage since 2020. In 2021, Summit County implemented a free shuttle system to reduce parking congestion at the Quandary trailhead. This summer, the county expanded the duration of the shuttle season and began charging a $15 fee for non-residents and a $5 fee for residents, which brought in over $34,000 of revenue. The county also charged up to $50 for parking during peak summer days. Parking revenue totaled more than $188,000.
At a regular session of the Board of County Commissioners this week, officials reviewed the success of the 2022 shuttle season and discussed future improvements, which they say could help reduce overcrowding at nearby parking areas.
There are no immediate improvements planned at this time.