6 - 7
FATMAP difficulty grade
The newest trail in Crested Butte that's not _just_ a mere reroute is known as "Baxter Gulch." Just finished in late 2018, Baxter Gulch allows hikers to create an epic loop with the Green Lake and Carbon trails that's accessible directly from downtown Crested Butte. Right out of the gate, Baxter Gulch climbs straight up the mountainside to get around a parcel of private land.
The steep climb is made easier to stomach by the expansive fields of stunning wildflowers that you're traveling through! Soon, the climb mellows out a bit, with bench cut singletrack weaving across the mountainside, alternating between deep, dark forest and sunny fields of wildflowers.
This hand-built trail took years to complete! "Traversing across the hillside, bench cut trail has been tediously put in through drains and steep embankments over the course of 6 years to get to the USFS boundary and some more tame terrain to work with," said Dave Ochs in an [interview with Singletracks.com](https://www.singletracks.com/blog/mtb-trails/newest-trails-10-best-us-mountain-bike-destinations/2/). "Now the real fun begins, as the trail meanders through aspen forests, dark timber, [and] beautiful open meadows while skirting the talus fields and tree line on Whetstone," continues Ochs.
"The trail then makes a final push up through the dark timber to gain the saddle itself and [a] view down on the Ohio Creek Valley." From there, traverse across the Carbon Trail, stopping at the incredible viewpoint along the way! This exposed rocky outcropping provides stupendous views of Whestone Mountain, Mount Crested Butte, and the entire valley spread out below you! Once you reach the Green Lake trail, decide if you want to cut back uphill for a quick visit to Green Lake itself.
Located in a bowl below a massive, rocky alpine ridge, the views of Green Lake are well worth a little extra climbing! Finally, finish your epic loop by descending the Green Lake trail all the way back into downtown Crested Butte.
This trail can be steep and awkward in places, but the deep, dark forests and silent pine needle-covered singletrack help make the final descent of your long day out in the mountains a relaxing experience.