“Short and technical with great views.”
— Adam Kagy
Stay on the marked trail since the first part crosses private property.
This is a newly opened - August 2018 - reroute of the Trail 403 climb from the Washington Gulch side. The old trail is closed and the new access is about 500 years further down. A new parking lot is also created right next to the beginning of the climb.
While this trail is not very long I hear it's much gentler of a climb to the top of the saddle before the downhill bomb. You can actually enjoy the bench cut trail as it gently climbs to the top and enjoy what I would think are some of the finest views in the Elk Mtns.
The old 403 is closed and no longer accessible.
The warm-up is over at this point, and the riding begins. The trail climbs up through some amazing meadows before it tops out and crashes headlong down into Gothic Valley. There has been some great trail work done along the descent, but be careful. The switchbacks are wild and more than a few have walked sections of this.
The best way to ride this is by riding Snodgrass
first to cut out a lot of paved road miles, then ride up Washington Gulch road. If you still have the legs after 403, ride up to Schofield pass and hit 401 as well.
Since the trail climbs to over 11,000ft and meanders through some dark timber on north-facing slopes, it usually isn't rideable without snow crossings in the timber until July.