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Tags:
Level: Intermediate
Length: 14 mi (22.5 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +816/753 ft
Total: 468 riders
 

Mountain Biking Trail 401

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#4 of 1,322 mountain bike trails in Colorado
#27 in the world

This is the BEST trail in Colorado! Start the long climb up on Gothic Rd for ~4.5 miles towards Schofield Pass. Turn right onto trail 401 to climb a little bit more on singletrack. At the top there are spectacular views, to the east you can see the Maroon Bells. From here, the scenery can't be beat... start the narrow singletrack downhill through fields of wildflowers and aspen groves. There are about two more steady climbs after the long downhill back to your car, take your time and enjoy the views!

Before you go
  • No Drinking water 
  • No E-bikes permitted 
  • No Fat biking allowed in winter 
  • No Fee required 
  • No Lift service 
  • Night riding allowed 
  • No Pump track 
  • No Restrooms 
Getting there
From Crested Butte, drive north past Mt. Crested Butte on Gothic Road. Continue ~7.5 miles then park at the parking lot for Judd Falls.
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Jimindirt (on Oct 12, 2019)
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Trail conditions

Good (on Oct 12, 2019)
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Trail 401 videos

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Crested Butte 401 Trail Mountain Biking…
 
401 Trail Crested Butte, CO -…
 
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Trail 401
 

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Rider questions

Q: Is this a rocky / technical trail?
A: Generally not, but you should have advanced skills...

Q: best time to ride
A: In spring when the wild flowers are in bloom or in the fall when the aspens are golden.

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Reviews

  • Amishthunder
    *****

    Okay, so I'm coming from PA with it's hot, muggy summers and riding during these months is soggy and draining. Hellooooo Colorado, man what a blast. The ride up the road was awesome...when you ride in dense undergrowth most of your life and you have almost died from the 1,000 cuts from brier bushes switching across your arms and legs during summer rides, the ride up the 401 road was just too much awesome to handle. As I left the road and worked the kickers up through the woods to the summit, my East coast heart was just getting worked, but I made the climb and almost pissed my pants from the stunning "top of the world" scenery. I chilled out on the summit for about 1/2 an hour before getting some beta from two bros from Gunnison. They, pretty sure on purpose, forgot to tell me about the the off camber gulch crossing about a couple 100 yards down the decent. The were waiting on the other side as I approached at about 1,000 mph. I was committed, I tried to jump the gulch and came oh so painfully close. The Gunnison bros laughed and jetted and left me to enjoy the rest of the decent into the valley below. I was under the assumption that it was downhill the entire way to the parking lot. The last 1/3 of the "decent" is a bit of work that I was not ready for, but was jazzed and pumped to rip the 401 anyway. Cheers Crested Butte.

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  • Dink
    *****

    Outstanding ride! Loads of climbing in the beginning but totally worth it for this flat lander. Thin air and most of the climbs I walked. Makes you wish you lived here. Great people and great trails suited for. 7-4-2018. Dink

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  • Jim Cummings
    ***

    I rode Trail 401 in the usual way - as part of a loop starting and ending at the trailhead on Gothic Road just past Gothic. The 5 mile climb up Gothic Road to Schofield Pass where the trail begins is easy. From there its 1.4 miles of steep singletrack to the trail summit at almost 11,400 feet. Unless you're fit and strong you'll do some pushing. The terrain is surprisingly rounded and un-alpine - you're not surrounded by jagged peaks. Soon you're descending fast along the hillside with exposure on your right and beautiful views up ahead. All too soon you'll descend through some switchbacks and aspen groves with a bit of rock garden action till you'll reach Rustler's Gulch having descended about 1600 feet. From Rustler's Gulch you can exit to Gothic Road or you can continue on 401 which regains about 500 feet on cattle track and 4wd track before descending to the car park... ...

    I know that Trail 401 is one of the most highly rated mountain biking trails in the world but I think it is much over-rated. Here is why...

    *** It's normally ridden as a loop. The ride up Gothic Road and the last three miles from Rustler's Gulch have little merit. That's over half the ride...
    *** Total distance is less than 14 miles. Total altitude gain-regain is less than 2300 feet as measured by Strava. It's not an epic ride. It won't leave you with the elation of a challenge surmounted.
    *** The gradual descent along the side of the big glacial valley is gripping and beautiful. But it's quickly over and it doesn't have the breathtaking beauty of nearby Maroon Bells for example. Trail 401 has excellent scenery but it's not top echelon...
    *** The best part of the ride is a cross-country hiking trail. It's not a purpose built mountain bike trail with lots of fun technical features... ...

    Still, 401 does have a certain magic and is a good ride - just not outstanding.

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  • Richard Hespen
    *****

    I rode this for the first time in 4 years. This is still one of the most beautiful places on earth. The upper 401 will blow your mind. The lower section? Still kind of mediocre with lots of work for not much payoff.

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  • ~Mountain Bike Addict~
    ****

    Great trail with a hell of a dirt road climb to the top. This trail does have lots of speed, but with the flowers being handlebar height it's hard to see the trail 2-6' in front. Probably could go faster if the brush was cut back, it would be safer too.

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  • RonMexico
    ***

    To be perfectly honest, I found this trail a little underwhelming. Maybe it was all the hype. I don't know. If your in the area and you have time, by all means do it, and see for yourself. Then after you've marked it off the bucket list, head over to Doctor Park or Strand Hill. I liked both of these a lot better. I've heard good things about Reno/yada yada yada as well. One thing I will say for 401 is that the views are second to none.

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  • ForrestGladding
    *****

    Crested Butte classic all around. Hit this in wildflower season and it will blow your mind. Blur of color with spectacular mountain views. A must ride!

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  • Jeff Robinson
    ****

    Would have been a five rating except for the extensive wash boarding that has arisen on sections of the trail. Still a great ride with marvelous views, switchbacks and vegetation.

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  • cbrenth
    *****

    The climb was muddy but the rest of the trail was great, too late for flowers and too early for golden aspen but it was still a fantastic ride. Thanks to the Handlebar Bike Shop for the shuttle to the top of Schofield Pass.

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  • triton189
    *****

    This trail didn't disappoint, it was everything I heard about and more. Awesome long range views with flowers galore up to the handlebars. The initial climb is tough but worth it. Do this trail if you can!

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  • Paulette
    *****

    To finish my review...the downhill is wither very loose when not washboardy. My full suspension felt like a full rigid. It certainly wasn't worth the climb.

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  • Paulette
    *****

    Not really worth the effort. The 5 mile jeep road drive wasn't horrible (aside from the dust created by the high number of vehicles), but it was followed by another 2 miles of steep single track. Since I've ridden the trail before, none of this bothered me. However, the trail has been overused and has deteriorated. Normally

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  • Gdb49
    *****

    This trail is truly special. It may not be the greatest ST in history, but it is a great trail and the beauty is unmatched. So, you can't get up to full speed because too many beautiful wildflowers are in your way??? Or because you are looking at all the amazing peaks or ponds. Are you kidding me with some of these complaints??? Ride this trail and smile and then go have a beer in CB!!!

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  • nickc
    ****

    This is the most iconic trail in the crested butte area, maybe not for just the riding though. The reason this trail is so special are the views and the time spent riding in the wide open on the side of the mountain! The flowers aren't to bad in the height of summer either.

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  • Gary Schomberger

    Washed out as of fall 2015, this trail sees a lot of snow but is till a classic of the CB area.

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  • Mark Larson
    *****

    Ahhh...the 401!

    Coming from the flatlands, being out of shape and riding early in the season (July 5th) made for some serious obstacles but my wife and I were game. But overall this bucket list worthy trail is all I've ever wanted. Last time we were in Crested Butte was during the month of June a few years ago but most of the higher trails were unrideable. This time was still early in the season but it was a perfect day for riding! We headed up the road from the parking lot just north of Gothic, with a few obstacles, the first being some pretty deep water (by bike standards) in the road and then a very sizable snow patch that I could only ride half way through until we made it to the top of the pass (and totally out of breath.) And then it got tougher, the trail up was muddy in spots and snow covered in spots as well and steep. Lots of walking and riding and breaks but soon we were in a beautiful alpine meadow, and we decided to find a geocache and oh those views! Still some gradual up to the high point of the trail and then, you roll over and it's all downhill (or so I thought.) The mouth opening breathing turned to pure smiles as we're in the most beautiful valley on a perfect ribbon of singletrack with handlebar height wildflowers. Didn't go too fast, took lots of photos and video and just had a wonderful time. Almost everything was rideable (one step up rock wash out that I assume everyone has to walk) and the little runoff creeks weren't too bad and we were close to down before I even realized it. The trail marking got a touch sketchy when we hit an ATV trail and we went up before turning around and going down and seeing the trail in a stream. Crazy ride through the stream and I'm pretty worked, but then another few hundred feet of elevation gain topping out on a steep climb made me a little unhappy. Then we crossed a narrow bridge and then back down some and it was fun again! 13.2miles, 2250 ft climbing round trip. Took us 4 hours with lots of stops, snacks, photos, videos, etc, maybe 2:30 riding time for a couple unadapted undertrained Wisconsinites taking it slow!

    Last real ride on my 26" Mongoose Canaan. This is a must do for any mountain bike enthusiast. Combine the scenery, backcountry feel, wildflowers, streams, wildlife, epic climb, fun singletrack and it's some of the most fun you can have on an XC bike.
    --

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  • Richard Hespen
    ***

    This is the road you climb to get to the 401. The riding is far from exciting but the views are amazing, especially those of the appropriately named Emerald Lake

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  • *****

    Rode it Sunday 8/16 and it was quite the adventure! Made the mistake of parking in Mt. Crested Butte instead of driving up further to trail head. Would've been nice to ride a week or 2 earlier to see the wildflowers but temperature and scenery was great. √ been there done that!

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  • Lee Harris
    ****

    This trail wasn't as good as I thought it would be. Full review with video here.
    http://getsomeadventures.com/crested-buttes-premier-mountain-bike-trail/

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