FATMAP difficulty grade
While the rocky outcropping at the highpoint on Trail 403 can be accessed via [a shorter and easier route](https://fatmap.com/routeid/211957/Trail_403_Short_Hike/) than the one mapped here, this route actually requires much less driving to access.
It also presents the benefit of being a steep, challenging route—and consequently is much more rewarding. From the trailhead on Schofield Pass Road in Gothic Valley, Trail 403 climbs constantly all the way to the rocky viewpoint high on the ridge.
Gaining 1,800 feet in just 2.5 miles, this steep climb is a real workout.
Thankfully, the views along the way more than make up for the pain.
The trail passes through stunning alpine meadows filled with wildflowers, crosses rushing mountain streams, and traverses deep, dark stands of pine trees.
The trail tread is a mixed bag.
In some spots, the singletrack is smooth and hard packed.
In some spots, it traverses embedded root webs and hard rocks.
But in others, you’ll have to negotiate loose, rolling rocks and some rock ledges.
These sections can be a bit challenging, but should be passable by most people in good physical condition. The higher you climb, the better the views get, culminating in the viewpoint at the top of the trail.
Prepare to be amazed! The mountain views from this outcrop are surreal, with jagged peaks and ridgelines filling your field of view.
This is the perfect stop to stop for a snack and a bit of reflection. To complete this route as mapped, return from whence you came.