Happy Hiking: Snodgrass Trail

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Wednesday was a day of dreary weather.  As a result, I picked a trail I saw as I drove to my Crested Butte campsite off Washington Gulch Road.  It turned out to be Snodgrass Trail which initially confused me, as the AllTrails app shows the trailhead off FS 317. 

I later learned, the Snodgrass trail travels through private property from FS 317 to Washington Gulch Road.  So, it may be accessed from either side, though it is not always open. But today it was.

snodgrass trailhead

Snodgrass Trail from Washington Gulch

  • Distance:  5 miles
  • Type: Easy, out-and-back
  • Other: Dogs Allowed

While I could see the mileage for Snodgrass Trail which included climbing up Snodgrass Mountain from FS 317 on AllTrails,  I did not know the mileage from Washington Gulch.

When it comes to trails and summertime, I tend to be a “completionist”.  I really don’t like turning around.  Consequently, to get myself over this issue today, I committed to myself that I would hike for two hours, the only window of weather forecasted without rain.

It was kind of nice to walk a trail this way.  I didn’t have to rush or reach a certain point.  That said, I ended up making it 2.5 miles to a trail junction where I turned around and retraced my steps to VANgo for 5-mile hike.  Admittedly, I was pleased to get to marked place before I circled back in a misty rain.

Wildflowers on Snodgrass Trail

The trail begins in an open meadow blanketed in white and purple wildflowers surrounded by lovely views of towering peaks.  Soon it turns up the hillside through a shaded aspen grove.  The trail continues through intermittent wildflower meadows and aspen groves for the entire 2.5 miles. Just as with my hike to Gothic on Trail 403, wildflowers bloomed everywhere in the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness of Gunnison Forest!

Along the way, there is one viewpoint of the Crested Butte Ski Mountain which is also a nice turnaround point. I figured if I walked to the trail junction, however, I could hike from the other side another day and complete the whole thing. Not to mention, I committed to a two hour walk, despite the forecast being inaccurate.

view of Crested Butte Ski Resort from Snodgrass Trail

Fortunately, the thickness of the aspen groves kept me relatively dry from the light mist, though I could tell with Annie’s sporadic shakes, she didn’t like the droplets hitting her back.

wildflowers and aspen on snodgrass trail

The Snodgrass Trail was moderately trafficked in the deary weather on a week day, so I imagine it is very popular on sunny, weekend days.  Most people came from the FS 317 side, including a group of eight mountain bikers that didn’t stay grouped up very well, so I regularly stepped aside.

With only 607 feet of elevation gain on this segment, the Snodgrass Trail afforded me and Annie a comfortable, two-hour walk in the woods.  Though the last bit of our return in the meadow did get us wet.  Imagine my dismay when it was completely sunny for a two-hour window in the late afternoon! ETB

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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned award winning travel blogger and photographer sharing the earth's beauty one word and image at a time.

6 thoughts on “Happy Hiking: Snodgrass Trail

  1. Crested Butte brings back such great ⛷ skiing memories before my knee surgery….I recommend checking out the bar KCheevers in downtown Crested Butte! They say Jesse James killed a man there….

    1. I missed KCheevers. In leadville/twin lakes now. But got the “best coffee in colorado” and the “best burger in CB” so that was good. I’m strangely fascinated by Jesse James stories, so that would have been cool!

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