wildflowers on snodgrass trail in crested butte

Happy hiking: Snodgrass Trail FS 317

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I previously posted about hiking a portion of the Snodgrass Trail from the Washington Gulch side.  Today I hiked the other portion of the trail beginning at the more popular start on FS 317.

While I loved the Washington Gulch side, the 3.3 mile lollipop loop from FS 317 was even better!  It is hard to imagine with all the wildflower hikes in Crested Butte that I’ve completed this week, that they can keep topping one another.  But it seems the Snodgrass Trail did just that!

I normally don’t hike on Saturdays due to crowds, but upon passing this area on the way to Judd Falls Trailhead, I just couldn’t resist.  You never know exactly when peak blooming will be, but the mountainsides of yellow sure made it feel like now!  Additionally, the forecast later in the week called for rain, so I wasn’t passing up this sunny, Saturday morning.

view of FS 317

Getting to Snodgrass Trail

I left my campsite at Washington Gulch early (before 7am), though I had been up since before 6am thanks to Annie barking at a deer in my campsite!  On the way, we spotted another buck in the wildflowers.  What a way to start the day!!

deer in wildflowers off washington gulch road

Upon arriving to the dirt parking area big enough for twenty cars during the Wildflower Festival Week in Crested Butte at 7:30am, I already found the lot ¾ full! I hoped I hadn’t made a mistake.  It turns out, the only mistake I made was putting Annie on a leash in a wilderness area that has a leash law!

The Rude Local

A local from Crested Butte had his dog off leash.  It began approaching me and Annie, so I stopped.  The man explained, “She just wants to say hello.”

I responded, “Well, mine doesn’t.  Especially not on leash,” as Annie is much better off-leash.

Then he got all bent out of shape and spouted out a bunch of half sentences.  “Why bring…all these dogs…this is where we walk our dogs!”

I was completely miffed.  I could have sworn this was a “dogs on leash area”, but I had looked at so many hikes on AllTrails, I thought maybe I was mistaken.  As a result, I simply said, “and I’m walking mine.”

Shortly thereafter, I confirmed on the app that dogs were allowed on the trail while leashed.  I had to laugh that I got yelled at for following the rules! Haha! I promptly ran into 4 more people with dogs on a leash, so that local must have really had one rough day!

The Campsite Police

It’s funny, it’s the second time in three days I’ve been reprimanded for following the rules!  I got to the campsite after being gone all day and had a note on my rug that warned, “I couldn’t be gone from a site for 24 hours.” Smhhhh.  I got back at 7:30pm and left at 6:30am.  Perhaps they should patrol longer hours! Now I take daily pictures of the campsite to document my comings and goings.

annie at our campsite on washington guclh road in crested butte

Admittedly, that sort of chapped me.  I didn’t want to worry about getting a citation or worse yet, having my items removed while being gone all day.  And really, I’m being admonished for exploring and being active.  I’m not apologizing for that!  But I digress.

The Hike on Snodgrass Trail

  • Distance:  3.3 miles (not including extension to Snodgrass Mountain)
  • Type: Easy, Lollipop Loop
  • Elevation Gain: 900 ft
  • Other: Dogs Allowed

Upon passing the rude local, who is probably rightfully sick of tourists, I met nothing but nice people and surprisingly, just a few.  It seems most visitors took Teddy’s Trail that connected to Snodgrass at the start because it does nothing but loop through a meadow of wildflowers.

In the counter-clockwise direction, the Snodgrass Trail climbs through mountainsides of purple, yellow, and orange before it reaches the shade of an aspen grove.  The trail gains about 1,000 feet before it descends through another meadow of magnificent flowers.  Some of the flowers were taller than me!

I felt so fortunate to spot another doe and buck in this sea of color!  And it affirms my decision to not add the extra 2.5 miles to the roundtrip hike to climb Snodgrass Mountain.  I read there aren’t any views from the top of the peak, so I saved my energy for bigger hikes I plan for later in the week. 

deer in the wildflowers on snodgrass trail in crested butte

Wildflowers on Gothic Road in Crested Butte

Upon completing the Snodgrass Trail, I moved VANgo down the way to an event center, so someone else could have my spot.  Then, Annie and I joined the paved recreation trail to go snap some more photos. 

We passed by the horse stables that were tucked into the valley of flowers.  Riders were prepping for their trail ride through the scintillating valley.  It made me want to mount a horse again.

We continued to the Crested Butte Campground.  While I have VANgo, I could almost be tempted to set up a tent in this golden meadow and camp for the night.  Just WOW!  Instead, I just relished in the opportunity capture a photo with multi-colored tents spaced out through the area.  It was such a delightful morning!  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.

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