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Hike into the Wildflowers on Lower 401

Crested Butte, Colorado

Details

Distance

5.3 miles

Elevation Gain

500 ft

Route Type

Loop

Description

Added by LJ Dawson

A beautiful and easy trail into the world class wildflowers and mountains Crested Butte, CO is know for. Great wildlife spotting opportunities.

After passing the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, the road continues for a few minutes before parking space on the left side appears. Park and look for the road heading up the mountain to the east. Head up this road past a porta-potty until you hit the Judd Falls parking lot area.

If you have a high clearance vehicle, feel free to drive all the way up to this parking lot. Trail 401 will veer left out of the Judd Falls parking lot and head north.

The trail will weave alternatively through forest and wildflower fields. To the east Red Lady mountain will stand off to the east. The trail is well marked and heavily used therefore easy to find.

Be on the look out for wildlife in the fields below you, we spotted a black bear. The trail will steadily climb north for the first part of the hike.

You will pass a few off shoots as you wind down towards the river. It then passes above Avery campground, and begins to follow the river more closely. It crosses a few bridges before finally crossing another creek and popping out into a camp space and road.

You will have hiked three miles now. After hitting this road you will turn west or left on the road. The road will go through a wide river crossing. A small trail will take you off to the right to a beaver dam where you can cross without getting your feet wet. After crossing, get back on the road and follow it until it tees back with County Road 317 which is the same one you drove in on. Turn left and follow the road back a little over 2 miles to your car.

After driving back into town, stop at Third Bowl ice cream shop for some cold sweet recovery.

  • This variation is one of the easier ones, but the trail can be extended into longer more adventurous variations. You can also take the trail back instead of the road which is best when the road is in high use.

  • Be aware of bikers as this is one of the most popular biking loops

  • Treat this area kindly it suffers high use.

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Features

Photography
Mountain Biking
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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