Hike to Crested Butte's Scarp Ridge

Scarp Ridge Middle Loop Trailhead

Distance: 4.5 miles. Duration: 2.5 hours. Loop hike. Elevation gain: 1,580 feet. Spectacular vistas with incredible colors and wildflowers. Family friendly.

Middle Loop Approach, one of a few ways to hike Scarp Ridge, starts out on an old logging trail. The trail then opens up into a field, which is often packed with wildflowers, depending on time of year. At the first fork, continue left, at which point the trail steepens quickly before flattening out. As you cross a rock slab, the trail can be easy to lose, so look out for a large cairn and head east.

The trail leads through open meadows before reaching the ridgeline. The summit is marked by a wooden post, and from there you can overlook Mt. Owen and Ruby Peak, Crested Butte Mountain, Blue Lake, and Afley Peak. The summit view is particularly enjoyable at sunrise or sunset.

The loop is best done counter-clockwise, as the grade is more gradual in this direction. Weather can be unpredictable in this area, and the ridge gets very windy, so pack accordingly. Also note the posted signage to respect private property as you head up the trail.

Driving Directions: The road to the trailhead can be rutted and steep, so take a vehicle with higher clearance as well as four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

Take Whiterock Avenue West from the Crested Butte, then get onto Keber Pass Road. Stay on Kebler Road for about 6 miles until you see posted signs for Lake Irwin Campground, and the pavement ends. Continue on the dirt road for another 2.5 miles to Lake Irwin. The road will hug the lake tightly – don't worry, you are still going the right way! At the lake, the road will continue on for another half mile. Turn right and continue for 0.3 miles until the road ends at the old Irwin Lodge building. Park on the left, where you will see the unmarked trail head.

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Hiking shoes
  • Sunscreen
  • Rain jacket
  • Warm layers
  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Water
  • Snacks
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Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer, Autumn
Features
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Groups
Scenic
Wildflowers

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Don't Miss The Loop!

We completely missed the turn for the loop and did straight up and down which was very challenging. The views however are incredible!

Awesome!

Hiked this during the first week of July and it was great. Very challenging in some areas but so worth the effort for the gorgeous vistas and wildflowers everywhere.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

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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