Crested Butte Trails: Old South Park Railroad Grade

In Hiking guide by Josh Futterman

With a couple of dense aspen groves along the way, and the drive via Ohio Pass Road, this is an excellent choice for seeing fall colors. A short easily accessed trail along the old South Park Line railroad grade reveals fantastic views of the Ohio Creek Valley and the Castles. 

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Highlights:Aspen, Mountain Views
Difficulty:Easy
Length:2 miles
Approx. Time:1 hour
Elevation Gain:355 feet
Max Elevation:9,578 feet
Trailhead Elevation:9,398 feet
Travel Time to TH:30 minutes

Click photos to view multi-season gallery

Directions

From the Town of Crested Butte: Take Whiterock Ave west out of town as it turns into Kebler Pass Road. Drive 6.5 miles to the sign for Ohio Pass on your left. Bear left as the road turns back to dirt and stay on the Ohio Pass Road for 2.8 miles. The turn off to the trailhead is nearly a U-turn and can easily be missed if attention is not paid. Drive another .14 miles on rough road to a small parking area by the historical sign [1].

Route

From the sign, see the rock wall above you [2], which was constructed in 1881. The trail continues on a very mild grade of the constructed rock slope. Take care when walking on this talus-like surface as some of the rocks are loose and small. The valley views open up quickly with aspen forest nearby and The Castles far off in the distance [3].

The trail turns into single track as you make your way into the aspen stand where a there is a sign for the Carbon Trail [5]. This is a good turnaround point to make the trip even shorter. The trail continues for another .4 miles where a large cairn sits in an open area. There is a faint trail down into the gully where the railroad constructed a switchback and old rock culverts underneath it. Turn around here and head back Even though the gradient and trail are easy, the railroad rock can be difficult to walk on. If there isn’t parking available at the trailhead, SUVs can continue up the rough trail to find more.

Trail Map

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

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