401 Trail Loop

 181 votes

13.7 Miles 22.1 Kilometers


60%

Singletrack

2,264' 690 m

Ascent

-2,241' -683 m

Descent

11,339' 3,456 m

High

9,583' 2,921 m

Low

6%

Avg Grade (4°)

27%

Max Grade (15°)

Minor Issues

7 hours agoUpdate

The Crested Butte mega classic! High alpine meadows with unbeatable views.

Chuck McQuade

Overview

The definition of alpine mountain biking. The loop provides endless views of Colorado's breathtaking Elk range, winding its way around alpine lakes, through aspen groves, while immersing riders in shoulder high skunk cabbage. This ride ranks among the best of its style, and the among best in the area.

Description

The loop begins with an easy 5 mile climb up the Gothic road to Schofield Pass. At approximately mile 4 it is not uncommon to come across "The Plug" an almost permanent snowfield across the road. A quick hike-a-bike will place you in view of Emerald Lake with a short distance remaining until the famed 401 singletrack begins.

At the top of Schofield Pass, the famed singletrack of the 401 Trail veers right starting with a tough and consistent climb for 1.3 miles through dense trees. Near the top, the grades gets easier, the trees open up, and the views behind you are stellar. The climb isn't really all that hard - nothing technically - but your lungs will keep reminding you are at 11,000 feet above sea level.

Then the payoff begins. The unsurpassed 360 degree alpine views of the Elk mountains, followed by the first of the steady downhill. After descending a few hundred feet, the trail flows fast and gently downhill with stunning views in front of you and flowers all around in mid-summer. For much of the top part of the descent you're hugging the hillside, with a steep drop to the right, which can mess with your equilibrium. There are a few very skinny sections that are easy but have very bad fall potential. Take your time and savor it!

You'll intersect with the Bellview hiking trail and take a right. This section has several switchbacks and has begun to get a little rutted out, but it's generally fast and flowy with great traction all the way. When conditions are good, the middle section of the 401 descent is about as fun as mountain biking gets.

Once down to Rustler's Gulch, take a breather because the climbing begins again. This point also provides an exit back to Gothic road if the weather turns for the worse. Otherwise continue your tour through the Ruster's Gulch camping area, and follow the 401 trail into the meadow above the campsites.

The trail climbs for about a mile and is technically a bit harder than earlier sections, though still fine for fit intermediate riders. You'll pass thorugh a drainage with lots of rockfall, and most people walk their bikes a few feet to get through it.

One final descent takes you to the outskirts of Gothic. Please respect the trail signs here and avoid private property.

Contacts

Rate Featured Ride


   Clear

4.6 from 181 votes


Get On-Trail Navigation

Send to Phone
Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Sep 24, 2017
Ben Lewis
The ride up was seriously killer, especially after reaching the top of pass. But, it was also a killer ride!
Sep 19, 2017
Tony Nesavich
Sep 11, 2017
Jackie White
Dry and very rough ride down. Tons of ruts!! Gorgeous views and one hell of a climb!! 12.8mi
Sep 10, 2017
Hunter Bechaz
13.7mi
Sep 5, 2017
Elizabeth Miller
Sep 4, 2017
Matt Greenfield
Sep 3, 2017
Calvin Spangler Young
13.7mi
Sep 2, 2017
Erika Scott

Stewarded By


Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 181 votes

#8

Overall
  4.6 from 181 votes
5 Star
72%
4 Star
21%
3 Star
4%
2 Star
3%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#5

in Colorado

#8

Overall
4,595 Views Last Month
67,847 Since Apr 4, 2013
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
39%
55%
6%
0%

Conditions


Minor Issues 7 hours ago
Fallen Trees: Many fallen trees in the bottom portion after Rustler's gulch. Other than that, muddy but good to go!
Update ConditionsHistory

Getting forecast...

Photos

Rode this yesterday. one snowdrift you still need to walk over on the way up Schoffield, but pretty easy. There are a few fallen tress across the trail on the way up from the road to the top of the pass. But once you get to the top, the downhill is in great shape. Got stuck in a major hailstorm cuz I left too late in the morning. this ride you want to do early if expecting thunderstorms. Jul 14, 2017


A VERY FAST AND BEAUTIFUL TRAIL MY SON AND I HAD A BLAST Aug 4, 2017


Really had a great time on this ride and you meet fun people to share the ride. Good workout and lots of thrills on the decent. Was a bit muddy on the first climb, some people were turning back. This was a great challenge for me. I'll be back. Oh yeah the snowdrift was gone across the road. Aug 15, 2017


MTB Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Mountain Bike

MTB Project is supported by

Support Your Local IMBA Chapter