Rustler Gulch

Distance: 7.4 - 9.2 miles (round trip)

Maroon Bells-Snowmass, Gunnison, near Crested Butte in Central Colorado

View toward the head of the valley

View toward the head of the valley


This moderately easy hike to a high alpine basin beneath Precarious Peak is recommended during mid-July through August when the meadows of Rustler’s Gulch are filled with colorful wildflowers.
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  • Distance: 7.4 miles (round trip) to Rustle Gulch Basin
  • Elevation: 10,325-ft. at Trailhead
    11,500-ft. at Rustle Gulch Basin
  • Elevation Gain: 1,265-ft. to Rustle Gulch Basin
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • More Hikes in:
    Crested Butte / Central Colorado

Why Hike Rustler Gulch

Hike as far as you wish along this pretty trail ablaze with wildflowers during the height of the summer. The path ascends a beautiful valley traveling through spruce-fir forest and meadows along Rustler Creek, passing a few waterfalls on Rustler Gulch Creek along the way. As you approach the head of the valley views open to a rugged cirque anchored by Precarious Peak (13,380-ft.), Cassi Peak (13,232-ft and Golden Tops (13,010-ft.).

A high clearance AWD/4WD is required to reach the trailhead. Hikers in passenger vehicles should park on the west side of the East River, wade the river and then walk 0.9 miles up the road to the trailhead. During periods of high water everyone should park before the river and walk. Walking to the trailhead adds 1.8 miles round-trip and 540-ft. in elevation gain to the hike.

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile Rustler Gulch

Best Hiking in Central Colorado around Aspen, Marble, Leadville, Buena Vista and Crested Butte

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Trail Resources

Trail Photo Gallery / Trail Map

Basecamp(s) Information:
Crested Butte

Region Information:
Central Colorado

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