Rustler Gulch Trail is a fantastic trek near Crested Butte, CO, into meadows of wildflowers, spruce, and pine forests and ends above timberline with panoramic mountain peak views.

Trail Stats and Map located at the bottom

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I am unsure I can express how adventurous and gorgeous this trail was. It’s long but an easy-moderate, except reaching the trailhead is a bit steep up a dusty 4×4 road. The rewards are incredible.

Everything you want on a mountain trail is here. Wildflowers gently blow in the breeze, with the buzzing of bees and towering trees. Every view is like a Colorado postcard. 

The deeper you go into Rustler Gulch, the more impressive it is as the views and wildflowers become intense.

There are water crossings, and I was happy to have my hiking poles. Nothing too hard, but each year could be different. I attach a pair of Teva Sandals to my backpack just in case it’s deep.

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The array of colors lining the trail as we hiked was ridiculous! Just gorgeous with the backdrop of lush green mountains. 

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It suddenly opens up to even more astonishing vistas on a steady, moderate uphill. I can hear water rushing down below, and several waterfalls appear from continuous snowmelt flowing down the mountainsides.

Be prepared for great outdoor adventures, see what we have in our backpacks on every hike > Day Hiker Checklist

After about 4.5 miles, we approach the endpoint — a waterfall. Hiking just past the waterfall, we found perfect rocks to sit, snack, and take it all in. 

Non Essential but FUN to Have


9 miles out and back from the road (CR317) parking area – or 7.8 miles if starting at the trailhead on 4×4 road (FR317B)

Rated: Moderate

Highest Elevation: at Waterfall 11,100′

> Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness

Nearest Town: Crested Butte

No Restroom

Leashed dogs ok


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