Crested Butte Winter Trails: Slate River

In Fat Biking Guide, Nordic Guide, Snow Shoe Guide by

The Slate River Valley is one of the most iconic valleys in Crested Butte. Looking for a beautiful adventure, then look no further. Head up the Slate to enjoy views of the picturesque Mineral Point, snow covered river, and beautiful valley walls. When heading into the winter backcountry, be aware of avalanche danger/risk. Check the CB Avalanche center for daily forecasts and stay safe out there! 

Highlights:Epic views, access to other trails, relatively flat
Activities:Fat bike, nordic ski, snowshoe, backcountry ski
Length:As desired (out and back)
Approx. Time:Depends on above
Elevation Gain:500 feet
Trailhead Elevation:9000 feet
Travel Time to TH:5 minutes from town
Snow Machine Traffic:Yes
Dog Friendly:Yes
Groomed:User compacted

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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 2.6 miles up the valley. Just past Nicholson Lake (and the marmot crossing sign) is the trailhead where the road ends.  Map


This trail sees regular use by backcountry travelers, skiers, snowmobilers, and snowshoers. From the parking area head up the road as it climbs a small hill. From the hilltop the tail forks, both go to the same spot but take the right trail for a shortcut. Link back up with the road and follow it down as it passes Gun-site bridge. This bride offers access to Mikes Mile and other CB Nordic trails. continue to follow the slate river road as it makes its way into the slate valley. Follow the road up a gentle, meandering grade for about 4 miles to the townsite of Pittsburg. Anything past here gets into steep avalanche terrain and is not recommended. Turn around at any point to shorten your trip and make sure to save energy for the trek back! 


The Slate River Valley is an active motorized recreation corridor with many different users. Yield to other users and share the trail with everyone. Be aware other users especially snowmobiles.

The trail is pet friendly but make sure to abide by the leash law at all times. Yield trail right of way to all others when hiking with your dog. Tread lightly on the trail to avoid damaging the ecosystem and remember to pack out all doggy doo.


The winter backcountry can pose serious avalanche danger that varies throughout the season. Be sure to check the Crested Butte Avalanche Center's daily forecast and stay safe out there! Travel at your own risk. 

Trail Map