Rustler Gulch is a 9 mile out and back trail located near Crested Butte, Colorado and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from June until October.
We hiked this trail in early October so all the wild flowers were gone, but the views are still spectacular.
A few take aways:
- There is a parking area past the first stream just off Gothic road. If you park below this stream, you can pass across if you head westward and look for areas to cross. The water was about 18" deep.
- The actual trailhead sign is a bit of a hike up a low maintained gravel road.
- The initial trail northward is mostly shallow creek crossings, muddy paths possibly, and some steep inclines.
- As the inward trail heads east, the hiking is actually easier but the trail turns to a single track thats pretty rocky. Regardless, the entire trail is easily Class 1 with occasional Class 2 for some hikers.
- When the waterfall comes into view in the distance, there eventually is an "unofficial" grass path that heads down to the bottom of the waterfall as a sort of shortcut from the main dirt path. Although, that also meant we missed out on seeing the old mine items.
Amazing panoramic views for a somewhat easy hike. A lot of beauty here!
Beautiful!!!!!!! The most beautiful hike I have been on for wildflowers. We bushwhacked up to the snow fields and the view was amazing. Nature at its finest !!!
Beautiful! Flowers were at their peak. There were a few water crossings. Beautiful panoramic vistas - breath taking scenery. This hike was recommended by a local and what a gem it is!
Stunning trail carpeted with very tall wildflowers. When ppl told me Crested Butte was known for its wildflowers, I thot how gr8 can it be? Seriously, flowers at Rustlers were mind blowing! Right at the TH I said OMG! Every step after that was OMG, OMG! The wildflowers are that amazing! Huge variety and very tall. I'm 5 ft 1" and flowers came above my head! Sunflowers, Lupines, Penstemon, Columbines, Lovage, Geraniums, Whisk broom parsley, Kings crown, Elephant ear, you name it and this trail had it. See pics. I must have taken 100's of pics.
I got lost getting there cause there was no sign at turnoff and ended at Schofield pass, which was a harrowing drive across 1 lane narrow, steep, winding road full of rocks, ruts, pot holes. And to make matters worse there were mountain bikers on that part of the road. I was sure my Outback was gonna slide into Emerald lake!
Make sure you have all wheel drive, better yet 4x4 with high clearance. There is a creek crossing to get to Rustlers TH. I had to park before the creek and then wade thru knee high water since my Outback couldn't make it across. It is about 1 mile walk to TH each way. So if u have a car that can make it across the creek and up steep hill, you can save yourself 2 miles out/back to TH. Get a good off-roading car.
To get there you take Gothic road which turns into a dirt road. Gothic itself is lined with beautiful flowers that come up to Ur car window. Road turns progressively bumpier with deep ruts, holes and rocks. Once you pass Washington Gulch trail sign, which is on left, it is the first right turn to Rustlers Gulch. Hopefully they put up a damn sign. There wasn't any when I went. U don't want to end up at Schofield pass. Once you turn, there is a creek crossing before the TH so either U cross creek in Ur car or park before the creek.
All this is worth it. Go early July when wildflowers are at peak. That is what made this trail amazing. Trail itself is easy. Has couple of creek crossings. Was muddy in some parts. I got fairly close to the end but had to turn around as I saw dark clouds. Few minutes later- heavy downpour. But it was an amazing experience since I have never seen wildflowers like these in my entire life! I highly reco this trail in July. I would give it 10 stars if I could, just for the incredible wildflower show put up by Mother Nature.