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.
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.