Road to Gothic
Not all scenic areas are created equal in the Colorado Rockies. Some are more unbelievably beautiful than others. Gothic is one of those over-the-top places. Located eight miles north of Crested Butte in central Colorado, the gravel road to Gothic passes under stands of aspen and pine. The area around Crested Butte considers itself to be the wildflower capital of Colorado and this drive lives up to the designation. Fields of yellow blossoms along with groupings of blue and white columbine and lupine are revealed around every bend in the road. Early summer usually means lush, green fields and rivers and streams gushing with runoff from melting snow. Gothic is remote and at 9485 feet, very high. It’s actually a ghost town that’s come back to life. Once a mining community, by 1914 Gothic was dead after silver crashed. In 1928, the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory was founded. RMBL scientists conduct research on pollination, changing climate and high-altitude ecosystems. You’ll likely see some of these scientists, as well as students, doing their thing. The town also features the Gothic Science Café with coffee and snacks. Further up the road are parking areas for some of the best mountain views, hiking and photography spots in the state.
Best Time to Visit
The road is open to vehicles in milder months. June and July are primetime for wildflowers. In winter, the snow-covered path is only for skis, fat bikes and snowshoes. There’s a parking area where the gravel section starts.
Routes & Maps
The road to Gothic is in central Colorado, a five-hour drive from Denver.
Gothic is eight miles from downtown Crested Butte. It’s about a four-mile drive on pavement until the road turns to gravel for the last four miles.
The drive there and back takes an hour. But plan on at least ½ a day to hike and take photos.
Nearby Crested Butte is a year-round topflight travel destination with all the services.
Colorado’s Crested Butte Winter
Colorado’s San Juan Skyway Part 1