Crested Butte Trails: Peeler Lakes

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Despite being close to town Peeler Lakes are a rarely traveled gem in the Raggeds Wilderness. With Scarp Ridge and Peeler Mountain towering above the lush high alpine Peeler Basin these lakes offer a true getaway. This great summer or fall trail offers everything you could want from a long hike: wildflowers, lush forests, high alpine lakes, and most importantly solitude.

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Trail:Redwell BasinPeeler Lakes
Approx. Time:3-4 hours RT7 hours RT
Difficulty:HardVery Hard
Elevation Gain:2,188 feet3,084 feet
Highlights:Mountain Views, Wildflowers, AspensLakes, Wilderness, Wildflowers,
Max Elevation:11,256 feet11,143 feet
RT Length:9 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]  look for a fork in the road on your right, for Peeler Lakes, and descend a half mile into the bottom of the basin near the creek and a circular parking/camping area. Here starts the beginning of trail 404, which leads into Peeler Basin. If you continue straight, up Redwell Basin, you'll see a lot of old mining equipment and debris strewn about [7]. Gunsight Pass road continues up toward the top of Gunsight Pass. For a detailed trail guide of Gunsight Pass, Click Here

Be on the lookout for the trail sign on your right [8].  Follow the single track as it winds its way through lush forest for 1.2 miles [9] before entering the Raggeds Wilderness [10]. From the wilderness boundary cross Peeler Creek [11] and continue to the junction of trail 404.5 Head left and make your way towards Upper Peeler Lakes [12]. There is a lot of downed timber making the trail hard to follow from this point on. We recommend having a GPS and good route finding skills to find your way between the lakes [13]. Check out both Lower [14] and Upper Peeler Lakes [15] ,which don't see a lot of people. After enjoying the magic of Peeler Lakes retrace your steps and head back down the way you came up. 

Dog in Peeler Lakes Crested Butte Colorado

The trails around Peeler Lakes are poorly marked and can easily be lost due to lots of downed timber in the area. We recommend having a GPS, a map, and good route finding skills for this hike.


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.


This trail goes through National Forest Wilderness. 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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