Winter Recreation Destination: Washington Gulch

Less than a 10 minute drive from either town or Mt. Crested Butte, Washington Gulch offers a variety of recreational opportunities to be enjoyed by the whole family (including dogs). Skiing at Crested Butte Mountain Resort is one of the main draws here in the winter, but if you’re visiting from out of town, prefer other activities, or just want to see a different side of the Butte in winter, this is your spot.

The Draw: Backcountry & Nordic Ski, Snowshoe, Fat Bike, Dog-Friendly, Powder, Vistas

Packed Trails

The main road is typically packed down in the winter by snowmobiles ferrying backcountry skiers to pristine powder destinations. This makes it a perfect area to nordic ski , fat bike or even go for a run when it hasn’t snowed in a few days. Head up the valley as far as you choose, turn around for the return trip, and take in the beautiful scenery.

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Powder Trails

Snowshoeing opens up either side of the valley for exploration, with Long Lake being a popular choice. A short and steep climb on up the hillside on the left (facing up valley) will reward you with grand views of Mt. Crested Butte and the Slate River Valley in as little as 15 to 30 minutes.


To get there, take Gothic road (route 135) in between Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte and turn onto Washington Gulch road. Cross over a few cattle guards and follow it to a parking lot at the end. This happens to be the trailhead for Meridian Lake in the summer as well.