Rides we Glide: Schofield Pass and the 401 Trail

It’s primo mountain biking season in these parts, so here’s some beta on a mad cool ride from Marble to Crested Butte via Schofield Pass.  It’s a bit of a doozy, but well worth the burn.  Drive through Marble and find a place to park somewhere along the Schofield Pass Road before you get to the old Crystal Mill.  We suggest ample stretching and possibly a discussion with your calves about the 8 mile uphill that’s about to ensue.  From your car, just start heading up the 4×4 road towards the pass.  You’ll pass by the old mill and the small town of Crystal early on.

This is a rugged 4×4 road that requires quite a bit of technical riding around large and loose rocks that litter the road.  You’ll also have to watch out for the motorized fellows screaming by on Jeeps, motocross bikes, and ATVs.  Nevertheless, the views, exhilartion from the top and all that jazz is well worth the frequent bike walking and other struggles on the way up.  You’ll follow the Crsytal River for a bit, and be sure to stop and marvel at Devil’s Punchbowl; a series of waterfalls and deep canyon pools along the road.

After the Punchbowl, you’ll encounter a steep section, but perservere, for after this section, you’ll plateau and ride through a beautiful valley for a mile or so before arriving at Schofield Pass (10,700 ft).

Here’s the rad part.  Take the 401 singletrack up from the top of the pass (it’s a bit grueling as you climb for about 500 more feet) and prepare yourself for awesome ridgeline gliding.  This trail goes for about 15 miles done towards Gothic, and meanders through Aspen groves and along ridges affording rad views of the surrounding mountains.

If you’re going all the way to Crested Butte, you can hope back on the road just before Gothic and take it into town.

There are a lot of different options with this ride, but whatever you do, be sure to hit up the 401 trail.  If you’re doing the whole journey from Marble to Crested Butte, bring extra tubes, lots o’ water, and plenty of food.  Ride well.


Written by Jenny