This short yet very popular trail near Crested Butte leads to a pretty waterfall and offers amazing mountain views. It begins on Gothic Road six miles north of Mount Crested Butte at the Copper Creek trailhead. High-clearance vehicles can drive another half-mile up the dirt road to an upper trailhead. Otherwise walk up the road through aspen groves to the trail (which is still more of a road.) It’s a simple half-mile walk on narrow, rocky terrain as the sound of the falls comes into earshot. Turn right at a junction and reach the waterfall overlook with a stone bench. Take in the awe-inspiring view of the falls, gushing down from the mountains, and Mount Gothic across the valley to the west. Return the way you came or for greater adventure keep hiking up the Copper Creek Trail, which enters the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.
- With just two miles and less than 300 feet of elevation gain, this is a great family outing for those visiting the Crested Butte area in summer.
- Visit in late spring/early summer during the melt-off to see Judd Falls in all its glory.
- For longer adventure continue three miles up the Copper Creek Trail to Copper Lake, a pretty alpine lake with ample backcountry camping. Hikers can continue on to East Maroon Pass and deeper into this majestic wilderness.
Recommended season(s): Spring – fall.
–R. Scott Rappold