• Activities:

    Photography, Running, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    6.5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    3025 Feet

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Forest
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Gothic mountain is one of the most prominent mountains in the Gunnison/Crested Butte area. The elevation gain and exposure make this a challenging day hike. 

The Gothic mountain trailhead starts at 9600' about 10 miles outside Crested Butte, Colorado. A four wheel or all wheel drive vehicle is recommended to make it to the trail head. Take trail 403 which will eventually turn into Gothic Mountain trail around mile 2.5. The single track trail winds through forest for about half a mile, and then opens up to a beautiful mountain vista with views of Whetstone mountain and Mt. Crested Butte in the distance.The trail climbs gradually upward, and is not difficult to hike at this point. At mile 1.4, there is an excellent photo opportunity to the left of the trail. Take the left fork on the trail to see incredible views of the West Elk range, with Avery Peak front and center. The trail loses some elevation over the next mile and flattens out around mile 2.5. From here, there is an easy to miss right turn. Look for a trail that is a little less obvious, turn here, and you will end up in a seasonally swampy area. In mid-June, the area was still fairly marshy, but had dried up by late July. You'll know if you have taken the right path if the trail starts to climb steeply upward. This last mile of trail gains approximately 1300 feet in .9 miles. Needless to say, this can be pretty tough and can take a while. Make sure to start your hike early in the day and bring plenty of water! You will reach a false summit around 12,000' and will be able to clearly see the true summit from here. The hard part is over, and just a quarter mile of trail remains. The ridge that goes from the false summit to the true summit is somewhat exposed, and extra caution should be taken, especially with inexperienced mountaineers. 

This point of the hike is a great place to see all the flora and fauna on the mountain. Marmots, pika, and mountain goats frequent the area, and some don't mind having their picture taken at a close range. Additionally, hiking in late June through mid-July offers views of some incredible wildflowers.

All of your hard work will have paid off when you see the panoramic views the summit has to offer. Photographers will have the opportunity to photograph the surrounding peaks from far above, and will have no problem capturing the stunning beauty that surrounds Gothic.

On your way down, be sure to take extra caution, as while the trail down is not as physically taxing, the steepness still demands caution and surefootedness.

Gothic mountain is as beautiful as it is intimidating. Hiking it is one of the best ways to experience the iconic mountain excitement found in Colorado.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Good hiking shoes
  • Camera
  • Headlamp (if concerned about hiking in the dark)
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Katie Lyons Explorer

Trail running, skiing, and photography enthusiast from Gunnison, CO.

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