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McCullough Gulch

Length: Approx. 2.8 miles (steep elevation gain roundtrip
majestic waterfalls, unsurpassed beauty!
Difficulty Rating:
Elevation Gain: Approx. 900-11900 ft.

Below:  The cascading falls at McCullough Gulch.

Directions: 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.

Description: If you do only one hike in Summit County, McCullough Gulch should be your choice! The destination, a glacial lake that lies above a series of majestic waterfalls, offers a serenity and beauty that is

As you begin your hike by skirting the gate at the end of the parking area you quickly cross a bridge and trudge up an old mining road that is dotted with ruins.

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 Below: Early in the hike you cross a small stream running down the gulch

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Glimpses down the canyon provide dramatic views of the roaring creek and distant peaks. The view is pictured at left.

After about a 15 minute walk a fork on your left enters the pine forest as the mining road proceeds uphill to private property on your right. Be sure to take this 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. Pictured at left, the SCE explorers were surprised by an early fall hailstorm at the lake. As always, its a good idea to pack raingear and be prepared, no one would have guessed the blue skies in photos above would have changed so rapidly!

In either case you are sure to agree, it is good to be a Summit County Explorer!

Above: SCE explorers were caught off guard (but prepared!) for an early fall hail storm. A view of the glacial lake that spawns the stream and falls



Above:  Great shot of the falls cascading down from the glacial lake above!






  beginner intermediate advanced
    Black Powder Pass   Mohawk Lake   Quandary Peak  14,265'
    Lily Pad   Chihuahua Gulch   Lincoln & Bross 14,291' / 14,177'
    St. John's   Mt. Royal   Bierstadt Peak 14,060'
    Mayflower Gulch   Wheeler Lakes   Willow & Salmon Lakes
    Loveland Pass   Radical Hill Trail   Upper Crystal Lake
    Salt Lick Trail   McCullough Gulch   Gray's & Torrey's 14,278' / 14,267'
    Mesa Cortina Trail   Mt. Sniktau   Mt. Democrat 14,152'
    St. Mary's Glacier   North Ten Mile Trail   Mt. Victoria
    Sally Barber Mine   Willow Falls  

Mt. Elbert  14,433'

    Oro Grande Trail   Eaglesmere Lakes   Buffalo Mountain  12,777'
    Meadow Creek-Salt Lick   Mosquito Pass   Eccles Pass
    Shrine Mountain Trail   Webster Pass   Mt. Huron  14,003'
    Ptarmigan Trail   Ptarmigan via Wilder Gulch    
    Peaks Tr. Barton Gulch   Wheeler Lake - Park County    
    Hoosier Pass Loop   Lenawee Trail    


  Spruce Creek Loop   Nightmare on Baldy Mine    
    Tenderfoot Mountain Trail        

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Note: The Summit County Explorer website is for entertainment purposes only. SCE will not be held liable for the any accidents or injuries resulting from the activities listed on this site. Trail conditions change daily and we assume no responsibility for the safety of any individual during any of these activities. Please consult actual trail guides and maps before attempting any of the activities mentioned here.