401 Trail Loop

 137 votes
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Featured Ride
Trail

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

36 days 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.

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4.7 from 137 votes


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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Oct 23, 2016
Lisa Dreier
Oct 23, 2016
thomas feistl
Oct 21, 2016
Mike Kleppe
Oct 8, 2016
Chad Phyle
Damn brutal, wasn't in great shape to enjoy the whole thing. Once up top the views are gorgeous and the downhill was fun after it dried out! 11.7mi — 3h 00m
Oct 8, 2016
Aaron Stoneberger
Sep 30, 2016
Eric vdH
Aspens! 8.7mi — 1h 46m
Sep 25, 2016
Thomas Hollowell
So snowy and muddy! Didn't quite understand how bad it would be as we started... But the descent side below ~11,000' was rideable and great fun!
Sep 18, 2016
Caro McCollister

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Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 137 votes

#17

Overall
  4.7 from 137 votes
1 Star
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2%
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4%
4 Star
20%
5 Star
74%
Rankings

#4

in Colorado

#17

Overall
557 Views Last Month
40,420 Since Apr 4, 2013
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
47%
47%
6%
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Conditions


Minor Issues 36 days ago
Muddy, Snowy - The 401 climb is unrideable with slush and mud. The descent was really good. The climb up from Rustlers was wet in lots of spots an...
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Rode this last weekend. Was a ton of fun, however it was definitely not the best singletrack in CB. Lots of blind corners, and not as flowy as some of the other things I rode there. Definitely one to get on if you have the time though and can still do other things. Oct 6, 2015


Where do i park my car and ride in from? Jul 12, 2016


Got to enjoy this last weekend. Very little traffic on the trail which was great. Parked at Judds and rode up to the TH then the climb to the top, which was some WORK. the descent was very nice because a lot of it doesn't have vegetation high enough to block your view of incoming traffic. I'd forgotten once you get to the "bottom" there is more climbing, totally forgot that. Tons of flies and mosquitos if you have to stop so try to keep going Aug 7, 2016


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