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Trail Riders Trail #401

 41 votes

8.3 Miles 13.4 Kilometers


1,097' 334 m


-1,994' -608 m


11,331' 3,454 m


9,697' 2,956 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (18°)



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

Chuck McQuade



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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4.8 from 41 votes

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Sep 12, 2017
Mojie Nixon
15mi — 3h 15m
Aug 12, 2017
Abraham Padilla
Easily the best trail I've ridden in Colorado! 8.8mi
Aug 5, 2017
Tom McKim
Jul 20, 2017
Bill Frasure
Jul 20, 2017
Amy Moseman
Super fun, beautiful flowers and meadows. Black flies were really bad, second climb is a bit brutal
Jul 15, 2017
Greg Mattlage
Jul 15, 2017
Dan J
Jul 14, 2017
Michael Wynne
12.5mi — 2h 21m

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Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 41 votes


  4.8 from 41 votes
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17,086 Since Apr 4, 2013
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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
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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