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The Scarp Ridge Traverse



10.8 mile 17.3 kilometer point to point
80% Runnable


Ascent: 1,689' 515 m
Descent: -3,481' -1,061 m
High: 12,274' 3,741 m
Low: 8,934' 2,723 m


Avg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 27% (15°)


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Trail shared by Scott Krankkala

The ultimate in ridge running and tour of the Ruby Range and Paradise Divide!

Scott Krankkala

Features River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers


This run is best as a point to point from Irwin to the Gunsight Bridge on the Slate River. The trail along the ridge (Scarp Ridge Trail) is very primitive and you'll seldom see other people. This run is known for its legendary views throughout and great wildflowers in the summer.

Need to Know

There are no areas for water along this route, as all of the water in Redwell basin is very acidic and laden with heavy metals.

Runner Notes

The descent down the Gunsight Pass Road is rocky, and supportive trail shoes are recommended.


Start by either parking at Lake Irwin and following the road uphill to the old Irwin Lodge or utilize the parking area immediately before the chain gate and lodge. From here follow the signed trail (Trail 419) and continue uphill. Stay right at some of the faint junctions (Trail 421) until arriving at the top of the ridge.

From here enjoy the view of Peeler Lakes and the Paradise Divide and take a look to the east at the ridge you'll be running. Scarp Ridge Trail is a primitive trail and some areas may not be visible. If you find yourself off track, just continue back uphill towards the ridge top. If you have the most recent data downloaded on the Trail Run Project mobile app, it can be helpful for navigation. When you reach a gate, this is known as the gunsight notch. If you are feeling it, you can continue uphill via the Mt. Emmons Trail to enjoy the excellent views from the summit.

Whether or not you complete the out and back to the summit of Emmons, head north down Gunsight Pass Road as it switchbacks down towards some small ponds with bleached rock. Continue past some old mining equipment and follow the road uphill for a short ways towards the east and into the trees. Remain on the road as it travels through Wolverine Basin and back into the trees.

As an extra addition, you can access the GB Loop on your left after passing a fenced in pile of rocks near the bottom of the road. There will be signs noting that there are hazardous minerals in the surrounding rock. Follow this short section of road below the gated area towards the trees where it will drop down to singletrack. This extension provides excellent views of Oh Be Joyful Creek and the stunning falls. Continue along this trail until it joins back to the Gunsight Road, which you'll follow to the gunsight bridge.

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Dogs Allowed, Flora & Fauna, History & Background

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Aug 3, 2019
Annie Ochs
11.6mi — 2h 51m

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 3 votes


  5.0 from 3 votes
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in Colorado


13 Views Last Month
5,262 Since Sep 15, 2015



Ascending to the ridge with Ruby Owen and Purple in the background
Sep 15, 2015 near Crested…, CO
View of the Elk Mountains.
Sep 14, 2015 near Crested…, CO
View of the Ruby Range from top of the ridge
Jul 31, 2019 near Crested…, CO
Trail starts off with an amazing view of Lake Irwin below.
Jul 31, 2019 near Crested…, CO
Running the ridge
Sep 15, 2015 near Crested…, CO
Oh Be Joyful waterfalls
Sep 16, 2015 near Crested…, CO


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