Note: Usually, a 4WD vehicle is not required to reach this trailhead by way of Gothis. The road to Scofield Pass is maintained on a regular basis , especially up to Emerald Lake, and beyond there, most cross-over type vehicles with some extra ground clearance can usually make it to the trailhead. If it has rained recently, be prepared for some deep potholes.
If coming from either the Front Range or the Western Slope, drive to Gunnison. From Gunnison, drive north on SH135 to Crested Butte. Stay on this main road as it enters the town, driving on through a major intersection with stop signs. Continue north on what becomes CR317 to the base of the ski area which is the Town of Mt. Crested Butte. Continue on the same road and a little after the main village and passing numerous condos, etc., the road will change over to a graded dirt road. During summer months, water trucks douse the road to help hold down the dust. Driving this road just after one of those trucks has gone through can change the road to a squishy, muddy mess, briefly. Begin measuring mileages from the end of the pavement. At 2.9 miles the road crosses the East River. Continue on CR317 to the site of Gothic which has a small but nice visitor center (3.4 miles) where you can inquire about parking regulations, hiking and biking trails and the research that is conducted in this area. During summer months daylight hours, this road is heavily travelled and parking is restricted to designated areas.
Continue driving NW past Gothic another 1.9 miles to the Gothic Campground, (5.3 from pavement end). There are only 4 designated sites here. From June 15 to August 15, camping in primitive, undesignated sites anywhere in this section of the East River Valley is not permitted so this campground is technically your only option between those dates. From the campground turnoff, drive another .9 mile for the Rustler Gulch turnoff (6.2 from pavement end). Continue past that turnoff to Emerald Lake (the road will climb above the lake on the north side) and keep driving to the top of Scofield Pass, which is not noticeably marked and is just a high point reached in the middle of the forest). From the four-way stop in Crested Butte, total mileage to this point is about 15.3. Continue down from the pass another .8 mile to the trailhead. The trail that heads out from here follows the east fork of the south fork of the Crystal River. The trail # is 1970. We also refer to this trail as the "West Maroon Pass Trail." The entire trail actually goes north all the way over West Maroon Pass and then down to Crater Lake where you can join the Crater Lake Trail on down to Maroon Lake.
There is no designated campsite at the trailhead, however, if you walk a short distance in from the parking area, there are some nice flat tent spots & fire rings within the trees and just off the trail. It's also easy to "car-camp" at the trailhead and there are some primitive sites along a road that heads off NW from the parking area. In addition, you may also find some primitive campsites by driving a short ways up the Paradise Divide Road #519, that turns off from the west side of Scofield Pass, not long after crossing the pass summit. There are no designated Forest Service Campgrounds in the immediate area and no vault toilets. Also, large open meadow area west of the trailhead has private cabins. Please respect any posted signs for private property.