Rustler Gulch Trailhead


Range: Elk Mountains
Coordinates: 38.999301306, -107.0030908

Road Difficulty

Easy 4WD, good clearance recommended. 3   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Some steep switchbacks and rocks, but the main obstacles on this road are a crossing of East River, large potholes, and potentially mud. There's only room for 2-3 vehicles at the trailhead gate, and very limited camping in the area. Primitive camping is NOT allowed in the East River basin June 15th through August 15th. No bathrooms or other facilities.

Driving Directions

From the Snodgrass Trailhead in Mount Crested Butte (not to be confused with the nearby town of Crested Butte) drive north on Gunnison County Road 317. Begin measuring mileage from the Snodgrass Trailhead. At 3.7 miles you'll reach the townsite of Gothic, which doubles as the site of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. Continue another 2.6 miles and turn right onto CR 317.2B. Passenger cars should park at this road junction. A short distance later you'll have to drive across East River, which in high run-off can be dangerous or impossible. From the turnoff onto CR 317.2B it's one mile to the trailhead, which is simply a gate on the right side of the road marked with a small sign.

Winter Access

Unknown, but the road is unlikely to be maintained past Gothic.
Status Updates 
Posted By: supranihilest
Info: Clear to the gate. I was able to drive to within .25 miles of the gate in a 23-foot long van before getting stopped by a large, muddy pothole on a steep slope, so the road’s not particularly difficult. Passenger cars will want to park at the CR 317/CR 317.2B junction because they will be unable to drive across East River.

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