Crested Butte Trails: Red Lady via Gunsight Pass

In Biking Guide, Hiking guide by

Gunsight Pass follows an old mining road as it makes its way from Gunsight bridge all the way up to Scarps ridge. This mellow but long route is great for training on the bike or a close to town hike! Did we mention the summit of Red Lady is just a short jaunt from the top of the pass?

Trail:Gunsight Pass Red Lady Summit
Approx. Time:5 hours RT6 hours RT
Difficulty:HardVery Hard
Elevation Gain:3,150 feet3,437 feet
Highlights:Aspens, Wilderness, Wildflowers, MiningAspens, Wilderness, Wildflowers, Mining
Max Elevation:12,087 feet12,392 feet
RT Length:14 Miles RT15 Miles RT
Trailhead Elevation:8,955 feet8,955 feet
Trailhead:Gunsight Bridge Gunsight Bridge
Travel Time to TH:15 Minutes15 Minutes

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From the Town of Crested Butte: Take Gothic Road (135) north 0.8 miles to Slate River Road (734). Turn left and drive 3.6 miles before taking left on 739A. Park on the left side of the road next to the parking blocks. 


From the parking lot walk down towards the Slate River. Cross Gunsight Bridge [1] and continue on to the right up Gunsight Road. Be sure to stay to the right (left brings you onto the Lower Loop trail system) and follow the wide road into the trees and up a decent slope. Stay on the main road (there are a lot of other exit trails to avoid) as you ascend for a while and gain some views [2]. Follow the road [3] for approx. 4 miles as it switchbacks up into Redwell Basin. Be on the lookout for wild raspberries [4] [5] along this entire stretch of road.

As you emerge into Redwell Basin [6]  stay on the main road. Right takes you to Peeler Lakes. Pass the remains of the Daisy Mine [7][8] on your left. Continue along until you find a road closed sign. From here it's just another .75 mile climb to the top of Gunsight Pass! [9] Gunsight Pass is a reward in itself! Take in the views back down the valley. Walk around the locked gate [10 looking back] to continue the final ascent to the summit of Red Lady (Mt. Emmons). It’s just another 15-20 minute hike from here on a well-defined trail. You’ll be greeted by prayer flags [11], and unobstructed views of Crested Butte at the top [12]


For longer hikes its a good idea to carry a few extra things in your pack. Make sure to bring extra food and water, rain gear, a map or GPS, sun protection, and a flashlight in case your hike goes late. More information on what to pack can be found here.


.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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