Judd Falls is a hike for all levels and if new to hiking, you’ll soon be hooked! You simply can’t go wrong hiking Judd Falls or any trail near Crested Butte.


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The drive from Crested Butte Mountain was so intensely beautiful with expansive views and wildflowers everywhere. And I mean wildflowers everywhere!

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A photographer’s dream. We often stopped on our drive to the trailhead just to take it all in.

Judd Falls is just past the town of Gothic, about 6 miles north of Mount Crested Butte. Park in the parking lot for Copper Creek Trai,l or if you have a high clearance vehicle you can drive the ½ miles up the dirt road to the upper trailhead, it’s a pretty hike up the road lined with Aspen Groves if you choose to add a bit more to your hike and park in the parking lot. 


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Honestly, Judd Falls and hiking towards Copper Lake is one of the easiest yet prettiest hikes we’ve done.

We came to a junction of several trailheads at the end of the road and my mind was full of “gotta come back” and do that trail and that trail and that trail! Here is where we discovered the trail sign for Copper Lake and added it to our hike.


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We headed down the trail to Judd Falls, only a ½ mile more through fields of wildflowers and towering Aspens. 


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Views along the trail to Judd Falls were simply breathtaking. Here, we look down on the historic ghost town of Gothic

Note: The historic ghost town of Gothic is owned by Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. Worth a stop at the Visitor Center which was fascinating and informative. 

It was a pleasant, easy hike until we got closer to the Falls. Then, the trail became quite rocky, but certainly doable for anyone.


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Upon reaching Judd Falls, we came upon a small overlook crowded with others. We took in this impressive waterfall cascading down a narrow slot canyon far below. 

A small bench at the overlook dedicated to Garwood Hall Judd, “the man who stayed”, tells a colorful story. 


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Going to Judd Falls is the perfect hike if you desire a short, easy trail to see one of Colorado’s most beautiful spots. 

 CLICK HERE> for a look at Practical gear that we love at Crazy About Colorado and have in our backpacks on every hike.


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Leaving the crowds behind, we headed up Copper Creek Trail and into the Maroon Bells Wilderness. intent on going to Copper Lake. 

It was so exciting! After a short uphill climb to begin the trail we stood stunned at the glorious panorama of Mountain Peaks that lay ahead.


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And along the side of us fields of wildflowers…


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It’s July, so I’m thinking July is a great time to hit the Maroon Bells — Snowmass Wilderness. Until we came upon this; about 20 feet wide and thigh-high water flowing pretty fast. We knew we were not going to see Copper Lake. It was a long debate. Should we cross? 

We had only prepared for a short hike to Judd Falls. I’ve since read that up to five water crossings are ahead on the Copper Creek Trail. 

Another trail near Crested Butte we loved that you will love too: Three Lakes Trail: 4.7 miles of gentle hiking around 3 lakes and a waterfall. 


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We took a side trail heading up the creek but found ourselves in a previous avalanche mess and lost the trail. I wanted to share the trail to Copper Lake as it looks to be an amazing trail and one worth mentioning. We will be back! Hopefully, you will too. 


Judd Falls 

Rated: easy to moderate

2.2 miles out and back from parking lot

Start Elevation: 9,600 ft. Gain 300 ft.

Family friendly

June – October: Best months

Gunnison National Forest

Nearest Towns: Crested Butte, Gunnison

Free Shuttle to Trailhead in the summer months

Popular Event: Crested Butte’s Annual Wildflower Festival


Copper Creek Trail to Copper Lake

Rated: moderate

12 miles out and back

Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness

Gunnison National Forest


From the town of Crested Butte: take Gothic Rd (135) north past Mount Crested Butte. Pass the Snodgrass Trailhead Parking Lot and continue to just past the town of Gothic. Approx: 9 miles total. Park at the Copper Creek parking lot or head up the road to an upper parking area if in a high clearance vehicle or weather permitting. 


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Drop a comment below for any questions. Share your adventures with me. I’d love to hear from you, HAPPY TRAILS…

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