The Monte Cristo trailhead is at Barlow Pass, where there is a large parking area and vault toilets. The trail follows the Everett & Monte Cristo Ry bed to Monte Cristo, the gold mining town that brought civilization to this part of the PNW. But on the way there, more folks are branching off toward Gothic Basin for scenery, and to avoid crossing the river (the bridge is out). Both hikes are rewarding, one for the rich history, one for the spectacular views.
Gothic Basin is a strenuous hike despite its deceptively short "mileage". The views are worth the effort, but this is truly exercise for everyone/anyone.
Monte Cristo: 8 mi roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 700 ft
Gothic Basin: 9.2 mi roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 2840 ft