Dirt bikes, ATV’s, and Jeeps will find miles of dirt, rock, and mud here in Gunnison-Crested Butte. Old mining roads climb up and over treacherous and famous mountain passes like Pearl, Schofield, and Reno Divide. Miles of motorized singletrack trail networks allow dirt bikers to explore thousands of acres of riding in the Elk and Sawatch Mountains.
Please make sure you have properly registered your OHV before riding it on public lands, and be sure to follow all regulations and trail closures. If you are unsure of conditions or access please contact the National Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management in Gunnison. ATV’s and side-by-sides are not permitted to drive on Gunnison County roads. Look for the blue and yellow road signs if you are unsure.
There is an ongoing debate in the Gunnison National Forest, as there is in almost every Forest, about closing some trails to OHV. Don’t give OHV opponents any ammunition in that effort—ride safely, respectfully, and legally.
Need maps of the valley? Check out CBGTrails.com for the most-up-to-date maps of the Gunnison Valley. Download the maps you need and you’ll get access even when you’re offline and far from civilization.
Cement and Brush Creeks
Cement Creek and Brush Creek are dirt biker heaven. The red dirt hue, beautiful rock formations, and miles of sailing through the evergreens are sure to put a smile on your face. Multiple trails cross the divide ridge between Cement and Brush Creek with one long trail (Double Top Trail #405) running, for the most part, along the crest. Multiple trails climb up to reach Trail #405 from both Cement Creek Rd and Brush Creek Rd., and you can ride straight up and over on Block and Tackle Trail #545.
If a challenging drive is more your taste then try out Brush Creek Rd., aka Pearl Pass Rd. This road dates back to the old mining days in Colorado and once was the main road between Crested Butte and Aspen. Today it is a technical, often muddy route into the heart of the Elk Mountains. Most Crested Butte locals have some kind of horror story about a bad creek crossing or serious body damage on Brush Creek Rd. If you have the clearance, tires, and nerves to tackle it you will be rewarded with views into some of the most untrammeled places in the lower 48.
The Taylor Park ATV and OHV trail system could take a lifetime of vacations to explore thoroughly. Stretching out to Chaffee County and Cottonwood Pass on the east and connecting to the Cement Creek and Brush Creek motorized trails this area has the greatest choice of dirt roads and motorized single track in Gunnison County. Trips out to Taylor Pass or Reno Divide should be on any off-road enthusiast’s tick list.
For riders and drivers that want a different experience or are worried about snow in the early summer or fall Gunnison is the place to go. Here, instead of mountain passes, it’s drives along the high mesas and sage scrublands that make up the lower Gunnison Valley. Hartman Rocks is very convenient to Gunnison and has the highest concentration of trails in the lower valley, but also be sure to check out the Flat Top trail and road network located off Ohio Pass Rd. for a chance to spot one of Gunnison County’s large elk herds.
Paradise Divide and Schofield Pass
This is the most popular OHV route in the area, and for good reason. If you are coming in the height of the season it may be best to avoid this one, but in the late summer/early fall this loop offers views from the Maroon Bells to Irwin with lots of picnicking and sightseeing opportunities. The most popular loop is to drive out of Crested Butte towards the mountain. Take a right up Slate River Rd and follow it up to the old mining town of Pittsburgh. From here some clearance is needed as the road switchbacks up for a couple miles. At the top of Paradise Divide you will find plenty of parking, a sign marking your accomplishment, and a couple alpine ponds.
Continue onward after not too long you will find your self with the option to go over Schofield Pass or turn left and go towards Marble and Crystal. The road going towards Marble and Crystal becomes very rugged as it travels past the Devil’s Punchbowls. Only capable drivers and short-wheelbase, narrow rigs can make the full drive from Schofield Pass all the way through to Marble.
Most folks decide at this point to turn right and drive over Schofield Pass and make the quick jaunt to Emerald Lake just beyond. Continue driving down towards the townsite of Gothic, now the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. Four miles later you’ll hit pavement at the Snodgrass Trailhead. Follow Gothic Rd. all the way into town and show off your new dirt paint job.