Crested Butte Trails: Baxter Gulch

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Baxter Gulch is the newest edition to Crested Butte's singletrack network. Baxter has everything you want in a trail; steep climbs, plentiful wildflowers, expansive views, loop options, and it's right next to town! This trail is great for hiking, biking, trail running, and open from May through October.


Highlights:Wildflowers, Mountain views, Aspen
Hike Difficulty:Moderate
Bike Difficulty:Intermediate
RT Length:11.62 miles
Bike Length:12 mile loop from town
Approx. Time:5 hours RT , 2.5 hours one way
Elevation Gain:2,158 feet RT, 1,998 feet one way
Max Elevation:10,730 feet
Trailhead Elevation:8,898 feet
Travel Time to TH:2 minutes

Click photos to view multi-season gallery


From the 4 Way: Take CO135, South, 0.8 miles before making a right turn into the parking lot which is shared with the Gunnison County Public Works Shop. Detailed directions can be found here


From the trailhead [1] [2] [3] head southwest [4] towards Gibson ridge before switchbacking [7] more than a dozen times. Make sure to turn around and enjoy the views behind you[9]. Be on the lookout for flowers doting this section of trail [13]. After rounding Gibson ridge, enjoy a slight decent down to Baxter Gulch [14]. Cross the bridge [15] roughly 1.6 miles in before continuing to climb through dense forest [16]. Pass by (but don't fall in) an old mineshaft, signed appropriately  [17] then shortly after cross Baxter Creek again [18] before continuing to gain elevation.  Soon you will hit the National Forest Boundary [19]. Continue climbing out of the  denser forest as you weave in and out of high alpine meadow, enjoy views of Whetstone Mtn [21]. At 5.2 miles top out the climb and enjoy a peak into the Ohio Valley before continuing downhill .6 miles to a junction with Carbon Creek Trail #436. From this junction you can turn around and head back to the parking lot or take Carbon Creek Trail #436 to Green Lake Trail and make a loop that heads back to town.  


This is a popular bike trail, so watch out for bikers. If biking yield to horses, hikers, and uphill riders. Don't ride trails when muddy and bike to the trailhead if possible. Be considerate to other users, the land, and local landowners.


.Practice 'leave no trace' principles. Trash and human waste can take decades to decompose in an alpine environment. Pack it in, pack it out with all trash. There is a restroom at the lower parking lot. Try and use it before your hike. More information on how to handle waste in the backcountry can be found here.


Please don’t pick, cut, or walk on wildflowers or other plants. Removing wildflowers from the wild can adversely affect pollinators and other animals that depend on that species for food and cover and affect the flowers long-term survival in that location.

Trail Map & Profile


Enjoying this trail? Help support the people who maintain it. Donate to the Crested Butte Conservation Corps.

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