Slate River

5 Star Route / Ridden and Reviewed by ReeseR

If you’re looking for a challenging, high alpine gravel ride, the Slate River / Gothic Basin loop will be right up your alley. The high alpine views (and high elevation) will leave you breathless. This route, which goes over two mountain passes, features terrific and sometimes challenging gravel roads and alpine lakes. 

Ride Details

Start your ride from Crested Butte Town Park. I would recommend stopping at Camp 4 Coffee on 4th street near Elk Avenue and getting a strong blast of caffeine before you head out. You will need it.

Ride out of town in a northerly direction and turn left onto Slate River Road. The first 3 miles is on pavement. Shortly after Nicholson Lake, on your left, you’ll pass a mountain bike trailhead for Lupine Trail 2 and the road will turn to gravel. **Click to Read More

Adventure / Gravel Route

– Loop: 29 miles / 3400 ft gain
– Surface: ~ 70% gravel, 30% paved
eBike Friendly: Yes
– Location: Crested Butte, Colorado
– Published: January 2020


Advanced. Due to the most of the riding being above 10,000 feet and the technical climb up Slate River road. My Strava data for the ride. Note, I started in Crested Butte South, not as detailed in the map below.

When we like to ride this …

In the summer after the snows melt and the road dries until mid fall and the first snows. It’s best to start this ride early in the day to avoid OHV and cars on the road, as well as potential afternoon storms.

The Start

Crested Butte Town Park. Flush toilets, water.
Lat / Long: 38.868084, -106.980810

Food / Water

There is a river alongside the route on Slate River Road and you will also be able to get water from Emerald lake- assuming you have a filter with you. There are no stops for food along the route. I did this ride with 2 water bottles full of Skratch, but would have benefited (greatly!) from more hydration due to the high elevation and the dusty/dry road conditions.


Cue Sheet / GPX FileTCX File


Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road

For help with Ride, GPS files, etc see the “Help with …” page. To learn how to download the routes for free, see “Using Our Routes …” page.

  • Andy says:

    Rode this today – beautiful ride! Hard work up to Paradise Divide, but with awesome views. Then pretty much all downhill gravel from there. I’m in decent shape but wasn’t trying to break any records and the ride took me 3 hours moving time, 3:30 total. Thanks for the great route as I don’t think I would have found this myself! Let’s get more Colorado rides on here!!

  • Jason Lofton, MD says:

    Heading out to CB next week and taking my gravel bike. Going to give this a go. Hot and humid here in Arkansas, looking forward to some mountain air. Thanks for posting this.

  • Mike Campbell says:

    Thanks so much. Totally down for this ride.

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