Paradise Divide

Crested Butte, Colorado (Gunnison County)

Last Updated: 09/12/2019
4.7 / 5 ( 11 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Seasonal Closure
Typically Open: 05/21 - 11/22
Length: 21.5 miles
Highest Elevation: 11266 feet
Duration: About 2 hours
Shape of Trail: Loop
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Crested Butte
Nearest Town w/ Services: Crested Butte
Official Road Name: 734/317
Management Agency: Gunnison National Forest
District: Gunnison Ranger District
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Paradise Divide
Paradise Divide is an easy and remarkably scenic loop in the vicinity of Crested Butte, Colorado. It traverses two river valleys and crosses Schofield Pass near the loop’s northern apex. The area supports an abundance of wildlife including moose, elk, deer and black bear. The road serves as a connector to numerous other 4WD roads, opening opportunities for many outdoor pursuits such as cycling, hiking, fishing, and camping. Autumn colors in this region are among the best in the Centennial State, so put Paradise Divide on your Fall travel agenda!

Video

Weather

7 day forecast for Paradise Divide

Route Information

Technical Rating:
(MODERATE )

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Waypoints

1. Trailhead (0 mi)
The trailhead is located at a pullout for the Slate River Trail and the Lupine Trail. The pullout will accommodate several vehicles, and is clearly marked with a sign for the Slate River Trail and Lupine Trail.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 38.902600, -107.010990

Starting Point: Crested Butte

Travel north approximately one mile on Gothic Road. Turn left on Slate River Road (County Road 734) and follow it for approximately two miles. The pavement turns to a graded/maintained dirt road. This is the trailhead.

Camping

Dispersed
Improved
Designated

Trail Reviews (17)

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
We drove Paradise Divide on Saturday and we started with the Eastern half out of Mount Crested Butte. It was insanely busy so I would recommend this trail for a weekday. We drove the Western half in the late afternoon after finishing Schofield Pass. The Western half is much more scenic and I would recommend driving it first if you want the best photo opportunities. It was busy but not nearly as bad as the Eastern half in the morning. I hope to drive Paradise Divide again, but on a weekday and maybe not during fall colors.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
A beautiful trail any time of the year, especially when fall colors are in full swing. Not a difficult trail by any means - the only obstacle right now is the cattle.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Ran the trail clockwise. We enjoyed the west side better than the east side. The scenery is better, and the trail less traveled. Although Emerald Lake is beautiful.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Trail was open all the way around. I ran it clockwise. Great views, classic single lane shelf road through majority of upper portion. One tight area after the pass, snow on tight area, should be gone soon. Minor damage between parking area and lake. Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, mopar rock rails, additional Chief protection plates, Falken Wildpeak AT3W 265/60R18, OR1 ~9" clearance for most, aired down to 20 PSI. Only bottomed out once, after pass, on eroded drainage crossing. Trail Rating seems correct.

Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Made it 3/4 of the way from waypoint 6 to 7 before there was snow over the road. The snow was very soft so could be passable. As it was on a very narrow section with a very steep drop off I wasn’t risking it. Running in reverse you can get close to emerald lake (11). That section is covered in about 4 ft of ice at the moment though so you need to park and walk the rest of the way. Definitely no chance of getting through for a while yet.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Ran Paradise Pass on Sept 29 in my stock F150 4x4, no problems at all. Had some Oregon guests with us looking for fall colors. Found some, the leaves are a little late this year, but this is still a jaw-dropping beautiful route. We ran it backwards from the trail directions given, then went left on FR811 through Elkton. Beautiful leaves on that route. Pretty light traffic for a Saturday afternoon. The shelf section between point 4-5 on the route guide gave my guests sweaty palms, but they enjoyed it anyway. Tried fishing at Emerald lake...don't bother!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This is a fantastic drive in the Crested Butte area, suitable for stock 4x4 vehicles (even crossover/sport utility vehicles). The road is in very good condition, and there are no obstacles to impede travel. Be courteous to others and remember trail etiquette--uphill has the right of way, and four wheels yield to two wheels or pedestrians/equestrians. Be cautious of cattle on the road in this open range area.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Made my annual Created Butte trip and drove this on my way to some hikes in the area. The Gothic side (waypoints 10-19) is mountain bike central. They’re numerous and like to ride the middle of the road. Good views though and easy driving. Watch out for cows in the road!

Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
It said the road was closed on the gothic side, we went to the snow bank walked up on it. It was hard packed I went over slow with no problems, Other than that nice trail

Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Still blocked with snow on the Gothic side. So much snow only plows would make this passable this year. Tons of people clogging the road on the Gothic side. We drove around from the Crested Butte side, which was a great drive and significantly less people.

Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Trail is absolutely gorgeous. Trail is closed at Waypoint 8 and impassable due to snow, so can’t get to Schofield Pass (pics 1, 2, and 3). 811 is fully open. Trail is also closed right after Waypoint 10 going north before Waypoint 11 due to a huge avalanche that is burying the road under about 50+ feet of snow (pics 4, 5, and 6). Emerald Lake is pretty much non existent at this point as it is just debris. Can park just before Emerlad Lake and hike up the road to where the avalanche covers the road and can walk down the road further on the other side.

Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Great road, and nothing super challenging. Some ruts in the road on the Gothic side could get interesting in rain. Partially closed due to avalanches, but hike-able from there to see Emerald lake (obstructed) and farther. Gonna take a lot of sun to melt all the snow, but hopefully open later in August.

Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Trail blocked by avalanche at waypoint 6 and between 10 and 11 from the gothic side. Small obstructions so hopefully they will be cleared soon

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Got a message from a friend who is visiting the CB area; he says Paradise Divide is partially open but impassible, same for Schofield Pass. He says it will be a few weeks yet before they are open to wheeled traffic.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Only did half the trail (way points 10-18) on my way through Schofield to Crystal. Trail was in great shape and offered beautiful country.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Blocked by several snow drifts and an apparent avalanche between Waypoints 9 and 10. I drove from the Slate River side (west) over the divide with intent to drive Schofield Pass. Had to turn around at grid coordinate: 39.00518, -107.05708

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
I ran the western half of Paradise Divide (734) from Crested Butte to the intersection with Schofield Pass (317). The road is open and surface conditions are good. Dropped in to the Oh Be Joyful Campground to check on some details, found the sites to be clean and well maintained.

Questions & Answers (3)

Q: Is it true that there is no dispersed camping on the east side of this trail besides Gothic Campground between June 15th and August 15th? I am looking for dispersed camping on July 29th
–Spencer Beymer (07/18/2020)
–Tracy Barker (07/19/2020)
Q: Trails shows this route as closed, any idea when it might open? or why its closed? Thanks Brandon
–brandon jocelyn (07/17/2018)
–Tracy Barker (08/10/2018)
Q: Just bought property looking for maps of 734 forest service road crested Butte Colorado please email any you have of that road it would be appreciated thank you wrthomas1031@hotmail.com
–Rachel Thomas (05/20/2018)
–Tracy Barker (05/21/2018)

Writer Information

Tracy Barker

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Tracy is an outdoor enthusiast originally from north Alabama. His family moved to central Utah when Tracy was a child, and subsequently to southern Utah, where he fell in love with the Rocky Mountains. His favorite activities are family trail rides and camping with small groups. He started many years ago in his dad's F-150 pickup truck, and subsequently his own 4x4 acquisition, a 1975 Ford Bronco (in 1991).
For individual use only, not to be shared.