FATMAP difficulty grade
Gothic Road is groomed by the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association under a special use permit with the Gunnison Ranger District.
Though groomed for fat biking, other non-motorized users are welcome.
That means that fatbikers should expect to see skiers and snowshoers on the 3-mile stretch of trail.
Dogs are allowed, but owners MUST clean up after their pets! The trail begins just outside of Mt.
Crested Butte, which makes it super easy to ride directly from town.
Fat bikers can also park at the North Village parking area, or at the Snodgrass trailhead, in Mt.
The Snodgrass trailhead even includes bathrooms! This 6-mile out-and-back ride follows an absolutely beautiful route out to Gothic, a ghost town that is a privately owned research facility (RMBL: Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory).
Since 1928, RMBL hosts 120 scientists who perform environmental/biological research every summer.
Gothic, CO is named after Gothic Mountain, which looms above the 138-year-old ghost town.
When silver was found in 1879, Gothic boomed, but went bust not long after and became a ghost town less than forty years after it was founded.
The 3-mile-long ride to Gothic is seriously gorgeous, so be sure to allow sufficient time for gawking and picture-taking.
The value of good grooming becomes evident if one accidentally gets ejected from the groomed singletrack and puts a foot down; your snowy dab will likely swallow your entire leg! Important note: this ride should not be done when avalanche conditions are High or Extreme, as the route travels through avalanche terrain.
Always check the avalanche forecast before heading out! Though the scenery is breathtaking, the ride is mellow enough to avoid being physically so.
That means that you will have enough energy to enjoy the ambiance of Gothic before turning around and heading back.
In the winter, RMBL is occupied by three caretakers and the famous Billy Barr.
Billy has lived in Gothic and collected detailed weather and snow data for over forty years! The four winter occupants have no motorized access, so must ski in and out to get supplies.
Even though RMBL's research plots are buried under snow, damage can still be done, so no one is allowed to walk, ski, snowshoe, or bike anywhere except on the groomed trail in Gothic. An attractive option for those who want to spend a night in Gothic is renting one of the huts operated by the Crested Butte Nordic Club.
Winter bikepacking can be quite cozy and warm if sleeping in a heated cabin, only braving the cold when venturing to the outhouse. Whether ridden as a day trip or an overnight, fat biking Gothic Road is a must-do!