The human immunodeficiency virus HIV-1 establishes persistent infections in humans which lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins, gp120 and gp41, are assembled into a trimeric complex that mediates virus entry into target cells. HIV-1 entry depends on the sequential interaction of the gp120 exterior envelope glycoprotein with the receptors on the cell, CD4 and members of the chemokine receptor family. The gp120 glycoprotein, which can be shed from the envelope complex, elicits both virus-neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibodies during natural infection. Antibodies that lack neutralizing activity are often directed against the gp120 regions that are occluded on the assembled trimer and which are exposed only upon shedding. Neutralizing antibodies, by contrast, must access the functional envelope glycoprotein complex and typically recognize conserved or variable epitopes near the receptor-binding regions. Here we describe the spatial organization of conserved neutralization epitopes on gp120, using epitope maps in conjunction with the X-ray crystal structure of a ternary complex that includes a gp120 core, CD4 and a neutralizing antibody. A large fraction of the predicted accessible surface of gp120 in the trimer is composed of variable, heavily glycosylated core and loop structures that surround the receptor-binding regions. Understanding the structural basis for the ability of HIV-1 to evade the humoral immune response should assist in the design of a vaccine.