Gothic Mountain

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Colorado, United States, North America
12625 ft / 3848 m
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Gothic Mountain
Created On: Jul 11, 2017
Last Edited On: Jul 11, 2017


The northeastern face of Gothic Mountain from a spot to the north of the ghost town of Gothic.

Gothic Mountain sits to the north of the town of Crested Butte in the Elk Mountains of central Colorado. It is so called because the rocky formations on its ridgelines are reminiscent of gothic architecture. A trail starts in the East River Valley to the east of Gothic Mountain and goes to a 10980 ft saddle to the to the north of the mountain before descending into Washington Gulch to the west. A beaten path can be followed from the saddle first to the false summit and then the true summit.

The southeastern face of Gothic Mountain from a spot to the south of the ghost town of Gothic.

Getting There

The 10980 ft saddle can be reached from the east via East River Valley or the west via Washington Gulch. Here are the directions via East River Valley:

From Mt. Crested Butte Ski Area in central Colorado, get on Route 317 (Gothic Road, Schofield Pass Road) and drive 6 miles north going past the ghost town of Gothic and Gothic Campground to Washington Gulch Trailhead. The road is unpaved but well graded and passable to trailhead by any vehicle under dry conditions.


All distances are per my GPS.

Washington Gulch Trailhead
9620 ft
zero miles
10980 ft
2.0 miles
12625 ft
1.8 miles
Total One Way
3.80 miles

At Washington Gulch Trailhead, head east and follow the zigzagging steep trail up a beautiful grassy slope getting good views of the nearby mountains. The trail goes up 900 vertical feet in the first mile.

Avery PeakAvery Peak
Mount Bellview and Gothic RoadGothic Road

Mount BellviewMount Bellview

After about a mile, the slope eases and the false summit of Gothic Mountain (Point 12490 ft) comes to view to the south.

The 12490 ft false summitThe 12490 ft false summit
Below the saddle

The reddish Avery Mountain will be visible to the east.

Avery PeakAvery Peak

The trail crosses the stream and enters a pine forest. When I was in the area, patches of snow covered much of the trail in the forest.

Snow in the forestSnow in the forest

At 2 miles from trailhead, you will reach the 10980 ft saddle where a beautiful meadow appears with the false summit rising above it. You will need to leave the main trail and head toward the false summit. When I was there, a cairn and a well beaten path were visible.

False summitThe 12490 ft false summit
Deer at the 10980 ft saddleDeer

The beaten path heads south/southeast and enters a pine forest. I lost the path in the forest under patches of snow but kept hiking toward the false summit to the top of a 11170 saddle and then a little down to reach the base of the false summit where the forest thinned out. As I went higher, the forest went away and the beaten path turned into a well-defined trail.

The false summitsFalse summits

From the top of the false summit, the true summit will come to view to the south.

True summit from false summitTrue summit from false summit

From the top of the 12490 ft false summit, follow the ridgetop down to a 12340 ft saddle. A big cirque can be seen to the east between the false and the true summits.

Cirque between the true and false summitsCirque to the east

True summit from the saddle.

True summitTrue summit

Looking back at the false summit from the saddle.

False summitFalse summit

Views from the summit.

Zoomed view of Maroon BellsZoomed view of Maroon Bells
Zoomed view of Owen, Afley, Hancock etc.Zoomed view of Owen, Afley, Hancock
Ghost town of GothicGhost town of Gothic
Mt. Crested Butte and Mt. WhetstoneMts. Crested Butte & Whetstone
Mt. Emmons, Axtell Peak etcMts. Emmons, Axtell
Pyramid, Avery, whiterock peaks etc.Pyramid, Avery, Whiterock Peaks
East River ValleyEast River Valley
False summit and Mount BaldyFalse summit, Mt. Baldy
Maroon Bells & Pyramid PeakMaroon Bells, Pyramid Peaks
Mt. Owen, Afley Peak etc,Owens, Afley

Red Tape

No fees or permits required.

When to Climb