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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests > Taylor River Ranger District

Quick Facts

Washington Gulch Trail

Beginning Elevation: 9,630 Feet (3001.9 Meters) Gothic Campground
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1,773 Feet (552.7 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 11,200 Feet (3491.3 Meters) Washington Gulch Road
Length: 4.5 Miles (7.5 Kilometers) to Washington Gulch Road
Other Maps: Trails Illustrated 133 Kebler Pass, Paonia Reservoir
Recommended Season: Summer to Fall
Trail Number: 403
Usage: Heavy
USGS Maps: Oh-Be-Joyful
Vehicle Accessibility: Passenger Vehicle

Outfitters and Guides

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Washington Gulch Trail, 403, leads southeast from Gothic Campground to Washington Gulch Road. There are two trail endings on Washington Gulch and locals will tell you they are both difficult to find. Because of this I recommend beginning Trail 403 from the Gothic Campground. This is very scenic and would make a short day hike if a vehicle could be left at each end of the trail. Limited water is available and you'll find a lot of mountain bike traffic on this trail.

Hiking southwest from Gothic Campground the trail begins with a few switchbacks. The campground lies at 9,630 feet and the trail climbs to 10,400 feet within a mile of the trailhead. The trail parallels Rock Creek for a mile and a half then crosses the creek turning sharply southward. (Approximately a quarter mile from the stream crossing a faint trail leads southeastward on the ridge that will become Gothic Mountain summit.) The trail begins to gain elevation after crossing the stream. A half mile from the Rock Creek crossing Washington Gulch Trail splits. The right side of the fork leads to the Painter Boy Mine Road and the left side of the fork leads to Washington Gulch Road south of Elkton. The mileage for this trail is four and a half miles one way.

Directions from Crested Butte: Travel one mile north on Highway 135 to Washington Gulch Road, which is well marked. Then drive northwest six miles to the beginning of Trail 403.

Directions from Crested Butte: Travel eight miles north on Highway 135, which becomes Gothic Road. The trail is located a quarter mile north of Gothic Campground.

Directions from Crested Butte: Access #1:Travel one mile north on Gothic road. Then six miles north on Washington Gulch Road.

Directions from Crested Butte: Access #2:Travel eight miles north on Gothic Road. The trail is located 1/4 mile north of Gothic campground.

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Washington Gulch Trail
ICON Cold Water Fishing Rock Creek
ICON Four-Wheel Driving Washington Gulch Road
ICON Hiking & Walking Washington Gulch Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Washington Gulch Trail
ICON Animal Identification Washington Gulch Trail
ICON Bird Identification Washington Gulch Trail
ICON Mushroom Identification Washington Gulch Trail
ICON Plant Identification Washington Gulch Trail
ICON Wildflower Identification Washington Gulch Trail
ICON Viewing Scenery Washington Gulch Trail
ICON Viewing Wildlife Washington Gulch Trail

Related Activities
Gothic Campground - Gothic Campground is surrounded by 13,000 foot mountains that create beautiful, but challenging terrain for biking, hiking, horseback riding and four-wheel driving.

Washington Gulch Road #811 - Washington Gulch Road follows Washington Gulch to the abandoned town site of Elkton. It may be combined with Slate River Road to make a loop back to Highway 135.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Gunnison County Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 36 , Gunnison, CO, 81230, Phone: 970-641-1501


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