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Skiing: Colorado > Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests > Taylor River Ranger District

Quick Facts

Schofield Pass Road # 317

Beginning Elevation: 9,500 Feet (2961.3 Meters)
Difficulty: Most Difficult
Elevation Gain: 1,200 Feet (374.1 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 10,700 Feet (3335.4 Meters)
Length: 6 Miles (10.0 Kilometers) to Schofield Pass (Road continues as Crystal Canyon Road , White River National Forest)
Recommended Season: Summer
Road Number: 317
Usage: Heavy
USGS Maps: Snowmass Mountain, Oh-Be-Joyful, Gothic

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Schofield Pass lies north of Emerald Lake at 10,707 feet. It may be reached from Crested Butte, via Slate River Road; Gothic, via Gothic Road and Marble, via Crystal Canyon. The Crystal Canyon road, Forest Road 317, is generally known as Schofield Pass.

It is one of the most dangerous four-wheel drive roads in Colorado. On the Gothic side of the canyon road is a home made sign that warns visitors that several people have died in vehicle accidents on Schofield Pass. In fact, entire families have perished by their vehicles catapulting from the cliffs that line the road. This is not to be taken lightly or driven by the inexperienced. Get out and walk through the Crystal Canyon, it's really beautiful!

What makes this stretch of road so treacherous are huge rock steps (three feet tall) that comprise the narrow road bed. On one side of the steps is a rock wall that drops into the South Fork of the Crystal River. The weathering on the canyon is equally beautiful and life threatening.

Directions from Gothic: Travel seven miles north on Gothic Road, passed Emerald Lake.

Directions from Marble: Travel south through Crystal Canyon to Schofield Pass on Forest Road 317 (White River National Forest, Sopris Ranger District).

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Brad Blackburn (Sikeston, MO)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I guess after traveling over mountain passes for the past two weeks I was becoming a bit jaded on scenery. It was nice but I was more interested in photographing the old mill. I camped at a FS CG near Gothic and rode the trail down and back. I did encounter a large snow drift that stopped all vehicles but momentum carried my Yamaha XT350 Dual Sport motorcycle over it. The return trip up was ROUGH. Basketball sized boulders and rough ledges had me stalling the bike twice. I met a family out on four wheelers returning and they said it was much easier on a quad. I would agree.
Conditions: The "Gothic" FS campground had one of the worst outhouses on my whole vacation.

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I pulled a 43 Willy's trailer with my 93 Jeep Wrangler equipted with 35' tires and rear locker over this pass with minimal diffuculty. Just take your time.
Conditions: A large rock has fallen half way up the punch bowl. The road is barely jeep wide.
Water Availability: untreated

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Four-Wheel Driving Schofield Pass Road
ICON Hiking & Walking Schofield Pass Road

Related Activities
Emerald Lake - Emerald Lake is an alpine lake of twelve surface acres, that supports small rainbow trout. It is situated in a scenic valley with a picnic area on its northern shore.

Slate River Road #734 - This road follows Slate River and then continues to the White River National Forest.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Gunnison National Forest, 216 North Colorado , Gunnison, CO, 81230, Phone: 970-641-0471


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