403 (Washington Gulch Trail) - TRAIL

403 (Washington Gulch Trail) - Trail, Crested Butte, Colorado

2.5-4 hours. Elevation gain was about 3,000, ride tops out at 11,400. The climb up Washington Gulch is a good spin, although it gets steeper and steeper. Views are A+. The 403 trail is only a few miles long, not a ton of singletrack for the entire approx 26 mile loop, and the trail is in fair condition is some places. It changes from very technical to fast rolling singletrack and is overall fun. I enjoyed the ride more for the scenery, (views of Maroon Bells, Gothic, Ruby Range)..the single track was challenging but short.

User Reviews (11)

Showing 1-10 of 11  
dtheo   Cross Country Rider [Aug 10, 2014]

washington gulch road is hell. do it while fresh and you should be able to enjoy the 403. it's a great downhill with some technical spots but it's over too fast.

Customer Service

down

Similar Products Used: 401
bear-deadman's gulch
deer run
strand hill
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
5
bubble   Cross Country Rider [Jul 23, 2010]

If you link 403 with 401 it makes for an epic ride from the town of CB. Very highly recommended. It can be tough if you not used to rinding at altitude. I would definitely put this linkup on par with the Crest trail.

Customer Service

link with 401

Similar Products Used: teocalli ridge if you like steep climbs
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
JRose   Cross Country Rider [Sep 15, 2009]

The 403 portion of the 403 ride is sweet. Though I have heard it gets really muddy during rainy times or as a result of snowmelt in early summer, it was dry when we rode it last week. I though that the first 2/3 of the trail was some of the best trail we rode all weekend in CB. It starts with a climb on singletrack from the top of Washington Gulch Road (don't get me started about how much the ride up the road sucks though). The views once you reach the top of the climb are pretty spectacular... maybe eclipsed only by those on the neighboring 401. Then you get shot down a relatively technical downhill section with some steep loose dirt and rocks. The best part of the trail in my opinion is once you enter the woods. When we rode it, this portion of the trail was in perfect condition. It is smooth, fast, windy, and rolling on packed dirt with a few technical spots to hold your attention, but just overall awesome. It reminded me a lot ofthe wooded descents back east where I grew up. Once you pop out of the woods you lose elevation very quickly on a rocky and dusty trail down to Gothic Road. This section of the trail is semi technical, with a bunch of loose dirt switchbacks and rocky sections. I liked this trail because everything, even the more technical spots at the beginning of the downhill, was rideable.
The major downside to this trail is that you have to climb 8 miles up Washington Gulch dirt road to get to it and then the singletrack only lasts for about 4 miles (but it's a gripping 4 miles).

Customer Service

Park right in Mt. Crested Butte and ride down the hill to Wash. Gulch Road. Go right on Washington Gulch and prepare for a long slog of a climb that steepens towards the end. At the top of the climb, there is a double track trail that branches off to the right. This is the 403. The 403 takes you up and then right down to Gothic road on the NE side of Gothic mtn. I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend taking a left on the dirt road (Gothic Rd.) and climbing up to Schofield pass where you can access the top of the 401. (I would probably not recommend riding the 403 if you didn't have time to connect up to the to of the 401... would just be too much road riding for me.)
At Schofield go right onto the 401 which climbs on good singletrack before rocketing back down the mountain. Stay on the 401 past Rustler's Gulch where you have a last little quad burner climb and fast descent into Gothic. Cruise back on gothic road back to the car. Done.
Totals about 30+ miles and ~4,700' of climbing.

Similar Products Used: 401, Columbine and Painter's Boy on the mountain. Haven't ridden much else, but I've heard Dr. Park is awesome too.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Silas360   Cross Country Rider [Jul 08, 2007]

tests you on the up tests you on the down... wicked views and an alround great Ride.

Customer Service

snodgrass to washington gluch FR to 403 trail to lower 401... so you get a bit more single track.

Similar Products Used: 401, TO,
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Vaughn   Weekend Warrior [Sep 21, 2004]

Rode this early September this year. Had some great sections and some not so great parts. From the Washington Road side the singletrack is just awesome for about 3/4 of the ride. Nice grunt trail climb to the overlook. Unbelievable scenery, as good as anywhere in the world...period. Big steep mountains, great red and grey mountain tops, aspen hills, green grassy slopes, and tight tight tasty singletrack. The initial drop is sweet. Techy, interspersed with fast. Roots, switchbacks, off camber, between trees, through a meadow, across a creek or two, a brief climb or two. The it just drops fall line like down to Schofield road. The trail drops is really a bit too steep to be fun, it is all cleanable, but who cares, it is a almost boring, except that your hands are cramped and your brakes are smoking. As the previous poster had mentioned, it is skidded and surfed into a deep trench. Really though the trench can't really be helped because of the steepness of the trail. It is just going to be torn up because any trail usage is going to make a rut that provides a great water channel for the other 8 months of the year when this trail is in and out of snow. Wouldn't really matter whether you roll the corners or skid like an idiot. The lowest part is not that fun because it is just steep hill switchbacks through Indian Head lettuce without much thought. This trail is absolutely not rideable in the opposite direction. I am a singletrack hound so am not exactly excited about the huge road investment that you have to put in whether you ride it as a loop from town or a loop as we did it. The road time ends up being at least 75% of the ride which is way too much. On the other hand the scenery is a huge payoff at all times through the ride. You get to see three or four different valleys and really get oriented to the area.

Customer Service

Start at Gothic ride up to Schofield Pass, turn left up to Paradise divide, probably another 1000 foot climb, drop down, hang a left and climb briefly on Washington Road, hang a left at the saddle, hang another left uphill on the 403 and let it return you to Schofield Road.

Similar Products Used: Do this and the 401 as a figure 8. There are other trails that I prefer, but I will definitely do this one again.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Gaz   Weekend Warrior [Sep 02, 2003]

This is a great ride, with spectacular views. Definitely one of the best. However, if you are not comfortable riding steep, loose,rocky, winding trail, if you don't know how to break (not skid) this will not be a fun ride for you and you will damage the trail. There is a big ditch forming at places by people skidding. If you want to avoid the tough technical descent, you can ride up Wash.Gulch road, ride the first part of 403 to the overlook (camera mandatory) and ride back the same way.

Similar Products Used: 401, Pearl pass
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Chris Botkins   Cross Country Rider [Aug 08, 2003]

I don't know what trail these other guys were riding, but 403 sucks. Half the descent is unridable in July because of water run off. The trail contains some technical stuff? How about a ton. I'm talking about super steep switchbacks with three foot drops on both ends. Yeah thats kind of technical. Other than that the trail is fun. The bottom half is great and the views are great. I guess its something everyone should do -- once. Better trails are 401, Snodgrass, Dike trail, and Strand Hill.

Customer Service

I rode from Mt. CB across Snodgrass to Washington Gulch Rd., then up to 403. The climb is tough, leave early to avoid the sun and heat.

Similar Products Used: 401, Snodgrass, Upper and Upper Upper Loop, Teacalli Ridge, Strand Hill, anything on Mt. CB, Dike trail
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Spencer   [Jul 30, 2000]

403 is one of my favorite CB rides. It is super steeep in places and fairly technical in other places. There are amazing views and it is usually fairly uncrowded. It is, however, becoming eroded in a few spots and could use some trail work.

Customer Service

Just as described above. If you're feeling ambitious, you can make a huge loop by parking your car at the campground on Gothic Road, riding up to Schofield Pass, riding down the 401 trail, then continuing down the Gothic Road a few miles to the Snodgrass Trail. Take the Snodgrass Trail to the Washington Gulch Road. Ride up the road to the 403 Trail, then take the 403 trail up and over the sholder between Gothic Mtn and Baldy and decend back to your car.

Similar Products Used: There are just too many to list. Ask a local, go to a bike shop, buy a map and start exploring.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Dr.D   [Dec 05, 2000]

C.B. rules, nuff said!

Customer Service

Mix it up. I like going up gunsight pass & down Oh-Be-Joyfull, up towards pittsburg & follow the road up to the old mine to the 403 trail head. Bomb down 403 & down to the 401 exit. Go UP 401 for a real grinder & pop out at Schofield pass or reverse this if you are tired.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Marc   [Mar 13, 2001]

Trail 403 itself is short. Though technically challenging for the best, it is eroded and needs some work. It is off-camber and quite steep in spots. It dumps you out at the Gothic campground. Take a left at the road; do 401 from here (about 3 miles to the trailhead.) After 401, head back on Gothic road past the campground,past the town of Gothic and just before you pass the maintenace building for CBMR(3-4 miles) take a right turn, up and over a stair-fence and do Snodgrass, if its open. Snodgrass seasonlly closes for cattle. You'll end back on Washington Gulch road. At the road, go left and head back to town. Go to Donita's after your ride. Have several margaritas, enjoy.

Customer Service

Ride it from town. Don't bother with cars and crap like that. Take Washington Gulch road from 135.

Similar Products Used: Dyke, 401, Snodgrass, Dr's Park, 409, 410, 412. There's countless great rides here. Locals keep the secrets to themselves. Enjoy.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 11  

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