Crested Butte Mountain Biking: Trail #403:expert ride
Information & Conditions: Trail #403:expert ride
Status: Good to Go!
Current Conditions: A little muddy in spots but no more snow!
The Washington Gulch area is just another example of how special this place is. There are any number of incredible views and abundant wildflowers in this drainage.
Trail 403 will throw a lot at you in its short journey from Elkton to Gothic Road. Ride north from town on the bike path (off Elk take the gravel path toward Mt CB, cross the bridge and up until the path comes close to Gothic Road, after a short downhill. Take a single track left and up to the road, then go left a short stint to Washington Washington Gulch.
Ride out Washington Gulch past the development of Meridan Lake and then start to enjoy the view as you ride steadily up the valley. The climb gets a little stiffer as you approach Elkton. There isn’t much left of the old mining town now. Only a few private buildings on your right will let you know. The area through here is private land, so please respect it.
Just after a switchback and as the road levels, look for a trail 403 to the right, just before the road descends. The trail climbs up through some amazing meadows for a mile or so to an awesome viewpoint. After this a partly technical descent intermixed with smooth track leads to a narrow path through high vegetation.
Turn right to the town of Gothic and Crested Butte, or left to Rustler Gulch an Lower 401 or a few miles up to Upper 401.
If 403 sounds a little hairy (which it can be), try staying on Washington Gulch Road and riding Paradise Divide. Washington Gulch Road continues straight at the trailhead of 403. It rolls along for a while then intersects another old mining road coming up from the defunct town of Pittsburgh. This is an amazing area for views and a challenging dirt road ride. At the aforementioned intersection, right takes you up towards Paradise Divide. Left takes you down a fantastic ride into the Slate River drainage and eventually back to town.
For Paradise Divide, turn right and climb from the intersection. The views to your left of Purple Mountain and the Slate River valley will knock your socks off. The road tops out at Paradise Divide. Here hiking trails lead into the Yule Pass on the left. Take your time… the views will astound you.
The road continues down into a wonderful alpine basin between Cinnamon Mountain, Baldy Mountain and Yule Pass. The array of alpine and sub-alpine plants is mind boggling through here. The road continues down for the most part and bottoms out in Scofield Park, a beautiful natural open area. Keep bearing right and come to another major road intersection at Scofield Pass. Right at the intersection takes you down back to Gothic and Crested Butte. Left on this road is another adventure entirely and ends up in the town of Marble. For another diversion, Trail 401 climbs up on your left at Scofield Pass.
Trail descriptions and updates courtesy of The Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, Holly's Ride Guides, and The Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association. Trail Reporting Software and maps ©2000-2018 Thin Air Web. All rights reserved.
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