Crested Butte Trails: Anthracite Mesa Summit via Washington Gulch

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This trail is temporarily closed for restoration. There is no parking, camping, or hiking at the trailhead.

If you don't like short, rewarding hikes with 360 degree mountain panoramas, then look elsewhere. I'm still amazed this grand view is so close to town. You can see countless peaks from this high point, which is also a perfect picnic spot.

Highlights:Mountain Panoramas, Wildflowers
Difficulty:Moderate to Strenuous (short and steep)
Length:1 mile
Approx. Time:45 minutes
Elevation Gain:381 feet
Max Elevation:11,269 feet
Trailhead Elevation:10,994 feet
Travel Time to TH:30 minutes

Click photos to view multi-season gallery


From the Town of Crested Butte: Take Gothic Road (Route 135) north 1.75 miles to Washington Gulch Road. Turn left and drive for another 7.75 miles up the gulch, past the 'town' of Elkton. There is a tight hairpin turn just before the rainbow rail [1] that may be difficult for low clearance vehicles. A decent sized parking area within some big trees is on the left side. Washington Gulch Road can get pretty rutted, but most cars should be able to make it to the parking area.  Map


There's a camping area with a fire ring adjacent to the parking area [2]. The steep trail is off to the right (as seen in the photo). Just head toward the trail and go up! There are no trails signs or junctions - this one is very straight forward. Keep in mind, you're already at 11,000 feet so mind your breathing and hydration. You'll reach the summit in no time and can enjoy the views for as long as you like [3].

A bit past the summit is another nice area to take in closer views of Paradise Divide and the Slate River Valley. There might be a makeshift flag [4] marking the spot.


There are no trail signs or marking on this hike. Follow the short trail up to the summit of Anthracite Mesa and back down again.


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.


  • Camp where others have camped before or on durable surfaces
  • Pack it in, pack it out
  • Try to to leave the area better than you found it

Trail Map & Profile


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