A long climb leads to one of Crested Butte's rowdiest descents!


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FATMAP difficulty grade



There's no way around it: 403 is a difficult trail to access.

Whether you can talk a friend into shuttling you up to the trailhead or you turn it into an epic loop like the one mapped here, 403 requires intention and dedication to access.

If you put forth the effort, 403 will reward you with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and a high-speed descent down to Schofield Pass. The loop mapped here begins from the Snodgrass Trailhead on Washington Gulch Road.

The climb labors up the increasingly-steep Washington Gulch to reach the 403 singletrack, but the climb continues up a series of switchbacks before finally reaching the high point at a saddle below Gothic Mountain.

From this elevated section of benchcut singletrack, you'll enjoy panoramic views to the south before passing over the saddle to enjoy views of Schofield Pass to the east, the valley below, and the Elk Range beyond. When it's time to descend, pull your pads up, drop your seat, and get ready to rip! The downhill is steep and rowdy, following the fall line most of the time.

The wide-open sections of the singletrack through the meadows are loose and rocky, and where the trail ducks into the trees, the trail is root-filled and slimy when wet.

This downhill demands total attention and is renowned as one of the steepest and most challenging in Crested Butte. The down is over all too quickly, and then the route joins the gravel road to roll back down valley through the town of Gothic.

After pedaling up a mellow grade to get back to the pavement, you can take a hard right turn onto the Snodgrass Trail for an entertaining singletrack finish to the ride. The Snodgrass trail provides flowy black dirt winding its way through an aspen grove at the base of Snodgrass Mountain.

The singletrack on Snodgrass is very beginner-friendly, making for a great ending to a tiring ride. Note that Snodgrass crosses some private ranch land, and as a result, a seasonal closure begins every year on August 14, according to Travel Crested Butte.

If the trail is closed, you'll have to drop all the way down the pavement to the road junction with Washington Gulch and then pedal back up to the trailhead.

This increases the distance of the loop by about 2 miles.