Backcountry Hiking & Camping

RMBL’s high-altitude location in Gothic, CO is an ideal site for research and exploration


Gothic, Colorado and its back-country is a great location for exploring the West Elk Mountains on your days off. Some of the most famous mountain biking and hiking trails in Colorado are literally right outside your door, so get out there and enjoy them. Just make sure you’re doing it responsibly. You and the members of your party should sign out in the hiking log in the Dining Hall before you head out for a day. Bring plenty of food, water, first aid supplies, and extra layers. Always be aware that the weather and conditions can change dramatically from one moment to the next.

RMBL class on Triangle Pass - photo from RMBL Archives
RMBL class on Triangle Pass – photo from RMBL Archives

List of Required Items to Take on a Hike

  • Dry, warm clothes, extra socks, warm hat
  • Rain gear for upper and lower body
  • Gaiters and Mittens for snow
  • Plenty of food
  • Plenty of water (at least 2.5 liters/day)
  • A first aid kit (see below)
  • Sunscreen, sun hat, and sunglasses
  • Watch
  • Matches in water proof container like film canister (for emergency fires)
  • Map of where you are going (and compass if you know how to use it)
  • Comfortable hiking shoes and thick hiking socks
  • Blister treatment like Molefoam
  • Flashlight with extra batteries (in case you are delayed and get back after dark)
  • Pocket knife
  • Insect repellent
  • Toilet paper and baggie to pack it out
  • Two garbage bags (to keep you and your stuff dry if it rains)Sandals (for river crossings)

List of Minimum Items for a First Aid Kit

  • Ace bandage- to support sprains or construct splints
  • Duct tape, strong string, or rope – to secure splints
  • Iodine ointment for cleaning wounds
  • Band-Aids
  • Sterile gauze dressing, for large wounds
  • Adhesive tape, to attach dressing
  • Antibiotic cream, like Neosporin
  • Pain killer/ anti-inflammatory (i.e. Ibuprofen)
  • Antihistamine (i.e. Benadryl)
  • Signal mirror or whistle – in case you get hurt or lost
  • Candy or Sugar packets (for quick energy)

Other Valuable Resources

The Gothic Visitor’s Center carries useful items for hiking in the vicinity including:

  • Timber, Talus, and Tundra by Mary Ann Tarr (RMBL Alumna), a hiking guide book for Gunnison County
  • Latitude 40 Maps: Waterproof, tearproof maps of the local area
  • Wild About Wildflowers by Katherine Darrow (RMBL Alumna), a great field guide to the wildflowers of Gunnison County
  • Field supplies such as sunscreen and insect repellant
  • Hiking snacks
  • Water bottles

It is possible to purchase a Colorado Search and Rescue Card (CORSAR) to help defray costs if you should need to be rescued. Purchasing a CORSAR contributes to a fund that pays for Search and Rescue team costs if you should need to be rescued by the local Crested Butte Search and Rescue team. It will not cover medical transport. CORSAR cards can be purchased online here.

The most accurate forecast for weather in the Gothic area can be found at NOAA.

Information on Crested Butte Search and Rescue can be found here.