Paradise Divide Loop

By David Nelson - August 2nd, 2000

The Crested Butte area is well-known around the world for challenging single-track trails through beautiful mountain forests and alpine terrain. The forest roads that access these trails are, themselves, wonderful mountain biking routes that lead to lofty vistas and sensational backcountry scenery. And during the fall, you will catch the aspen trees showing brilliant yellow-gold leaves.

The route follows the East River drainage through Gothic, then climbs gradually past Emerald Lake to Schofield Pass. Just after cresting the pass, turn left (west) onto Forest Road 734 for a final, steeper ascent to Paradise Divide. Check out the scenery before making the descent through Washington Gulch (FR 811) and back to Crested Butte.

Trip Planner

Route location: Between Crested Butte to the south and Schofield Pass to the north in the West Elk Mountains.

Surface: Paved county roads and slightly rocky forest routes.

Distance: 25.7 miles from the intersection of Elk Avenue and Colorado 135.

Ride time: Allow 2-3 hours to complete the loop.

Difficulty: Moderate. There is more than 2,500 vertical feet of climbing.

Scenery: Wildflowers and magnificent mountain views.

To reach Crested Butte: Travel southwest on U.S. 285 and then west on U.S. 50 to Gunnison. Travel north on Colorado 135 to Crested Butte. About a 5-hour drive.


Paradise Divide

My boyfriend; a CB native, took me up this trail over the 4th of July weekend. I was moved to tears more than once by the beauty. We did the loop in a jeep and it was a fantastic trip.

Posted on July 6, 2009 - 3:45pm
by Kharman Killian

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