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blueBlack Trail Riders Trail #401

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8.3 mile 13.4 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 1,100' 335 m
Descent: -1,992' -607 m
High: 11,331' 3,454 m
Low: 9,697' 2,956 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 33% (18°)


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Trail shared by Chuck McQuade

The bread and butter of 401 Trail Loop - alpine singletrack at its best.

Chuck McQuade

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-


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 a small trailhead on the outskirts of Gothic.


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Sep 30, 2018
Sarah Niemeyer
Sep 22, 2018
Matt Milliron
Sep 21, 2018
Jay Holsten
Ripping good fun in an absolutely stunning setting. It doesnlt get much better than this.
Sep 15, 2018
Drew R
Aug 5, 2018
Lyle Harte
Jul 29, 2018
Dani Leach
So amazing!! Can't wait to do it again!! 8.3mi — 2h 00m
Jul 17, 2018
Stephen Lightle
climbing was brutal, Craig broke some ribs 13.6mi
Jul 16, 2018
Emily S
Freaking awesome 9.1mi

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Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 56 votes


  4.8 from 56 votes
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in Colorado


65 Views Last Month
22,120 Since Apr 4, 2013
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Anonymous User
Anonymous User  
Want to give this one a try 4 days removed from sea level so I need to shuttle it to eliminate some climbing. Looks incredibly beautiful. Jul 4, 2013
Josh Brintle
Kingsport, TN
Josh Brintle   Kingsport, TN
Is this trail generally rideable in late April? Dec 8, 2016
Aaron Bouplon
Boulder, CO
Aaron Bouplon   Boulder, CO
Stunning and fun. Focus on one or the other at a time otherwise the trip down won't be as nice. The wildflowers are amazing. After doing this several times I might suggest ducking out early in order to save energy for Snodgrass at the fence that separates Gothic Road from town. The final bit past the Gothic research center is punchy and meh at the end of a long day. The top part is a 100% MUST DO! Oct 1, 2017

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