Schofield Pass

5/5 (41 reviews)
Marble, Colorado (Gunnison County)
Last Updated: 11/24/2022
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Trail Information

Highlights

Schofield Pass is one of Colorado's most notable four-wheel drive roads. Situated between Crested Butte and Marble, Schofield Pass Road features granite mountain peaks, expansive meadows, dense forests, wildlife, wildflowers, and the ice-cold Crystal River. It connects numerous other popular roads and trails (Paradise Divide, Lead King Basin, and the Crystal City Trail), not to mention the historic mountain towns and their unique attractions. Make a point to include Schofield Pass among your must-see summer four-wheeling destinations.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Schofield Pass is an iconic 4WD road featuring rock, water crossings, and the infamous shelf road segment through Crystal Canyon known as the Devil's Punchbowl. From the southeastern trailhead (intersection of Gothic Road and Slate River Road), the road travels through an enormous meadow (Schofield Park) which transitions to pine forest as it descends toward Crystal Canyon. Where the road enters the canyon (aka Devil's Punchbowl) the terrain becomes very rocky with much fewer trees. The road is perched atop a narrow shelf that parallels the Crystal River. Sometimes the road is merely 10 feet above the river, elsewhere it is 300 feet, but always a perilous steep grade. Beyond the Devil's Punchbowl, the road and river diverge. The road re-enters the forest canopy and soon merges with the Crystal City Trail at the eastern trailhead to Lead King Basin, roughly one-half mile east of Crystal. Notes on SEASONAL CLOSURE: Schofield Pass (FS Road 317 in the Gunnison National Forest) closes seasonally February 28th to July 1st each year. The seasonal designated closure is from the village of Gothic north to the boundary with White River National Forest. See the latest published MVUM (2016) online here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd514897.pdf Schofield Pass (FS Road 314 in the White River National Forest) closes November 22nd to May 21st each year from Mile Post 8.1 (at the intersection of FS Road 315, Lead King Basin) south/southeast to Mile Post 17.3 (boundary with Gunnison National Forest). See the latest published MVUM (2017) here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd506000.pdf
Narrow shelf road within the Devil's Punchbowl segment, with few places to allow traffic to pass. Remember: UPHILL has the right of way. Narrow corridor of pin-stripe willows between Waypoint 4 and Waypoint 5.

Trail Reviews

5/5 (41 reviews)
Official Crew
104650
Seasonal Closure
Visited: 11/24/2022

Closed for the season! See you next year!
6400
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/26/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Ran this from Crystal over to Crested Butte and after waiting for an ATV rollover to clear (everyone was fine), I had a great time. I'm surprised that the obstacle right next to Devil's Punchbowl isn't listed on here (you can see the easier part of it in Tracy's review below) and although I had an easy time getting over it, I think it's still worth knowing it's there (didn't take any pictures but it's about 100 yards after the bridge if you're coming from Crystal). There was quite a bit of debris at Waypoint 5 and I had to reposition myself several times to get over it. I did this trail on worn-out 285/70/17 tires (32.7" when new so mine are probably closer to 32" right now, maybe even smaller) with 3" of lift and going off of my experience, I would not recommend doing this trail unless you have one of the following: 1) Someone in front of you who can tow/winch you out if need be because if you don't make it over Waypoint 5, you'll have no choice but to back up or 2) A minimum of 3" of lift AND a minimum of new (or close to new) 285/70/17 tires. I ran this solo and knew it was going to be a challenge with my worn-out rubbers but it was still a fun, beautiful trail and I'm excited to do it again next year with my new, larger setup.
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/23/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Amazing trail we did it from marble to CB. We were inLifted land cruiser and got stuck on the main obstacle. Friendly jeep help be our anchor and we were out in no time. Trail was wet so it added a bit of difficulty heading up.
Official Crew
28550
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/18/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

I drove Schofield Pass from Crystal up to Gothic and Mt. Crested Butte on Sunday, September 19. The autumn colors are just beginning and I expect them to peak by the first week of October. There are two challenging spots in the "Devil's Punchbowl" section--Waypoint 5 and a point that is approximately 100 yards uphill from the Bridge at Waypoint 6. WP-5 is the rock-slide area and it has two boulders, one larger at the shelf edge (this one is embedded or fixed in position), and the other, smaller, is loose. The loose boulder makes this tricky--one can put a tire directly on it to drive over it (with adequate clearance and sliders) or one can drive over the fixed rock to "straddle" the loose boulder. The second challenging spot is where the road makes a S-turn on jagged, exposed bedrock. At the lower end of this segment is an exposed pointed rock that will grab a diff or snag an IFS rig if one slips off the rocks attempting to straddle it. An alternate line is to hug the uphill wall, but this is more off-camber and more difficult to back-up/reverse if you choose to change your line.
Trail Review: Schofield Pass - Tracy Barker
Trail Review: Schofield Pass - Tracy Barker
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Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/16/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Ran the trail from Crystal to near the parking lot at the top, then camped for the night. It was dark when I went over the rock obstacle at waypoint 5 - had to reposition a few times to get the right line. I concur with Ryan's 7/31 review - the obstacle has more debris on it than shown in the trail images. There was an additional obstacle that I had to reposition on between waypoints 5 and 6, but that's probably due to the fact that I was running at night, uphill, after light rain, without a spotter. Overall a beautiful trail that I highly recommend running during the daytime! Pics of waterfalls running, near waypoint 4. This was after a rainstorm earlier in the day, so this may not be representative of current water flows. Had no issues with any of the stream crossings.
Trail Review: Schofield Pass - Cameron Graves
Trail Review: Schofield Pass - Cameron Graves

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