There’s a motive Crested Butte persistently tops bike bucket lists. Set among the many Elk Mountains—a few of Colorado’s most iconic and picturesque—the city is surrounded by limitless grime and paved roads and a few 750 miles of trails that vary from rocky high-desert loops in Gunnison to pristine alpine epics. The perfect half: there’s one thing for each type of rider. Right here’s methods to take advantage of your first journey to the Gunnison Valley.
Sea of Sage to Luge
Greatest for: Household circulate
This linkup in Hartman Rocks Recreation Space, roughly half-hour downvalley from Crested Butte, avoids the technical rock slabs discovered elsewhere at Hartman, boasts sweeping views and loads of whoop-inducing circulate, and is large sufficient for hand cyclists. “Should you get rained out in Crested Butte, Hartmans is normally driving rather well,” says Dave Wiens, government director of the Worldwide Mountain Bicycling Affiliation. Publish-adventure, pitch a tent or park your rig among the many granite formations at a chosen campsite (50 are up for grabs). Or head into Gunnison, the place you’ll discover adventure-themed lodging just like the Wanderlust Hostel or the Blue Mesa Camping Pods.
Greatest for: Grinding gravel
Trip Trails, Offset Carbon
Need to offset your journey’s emissions? Within the Gunnison Valley, it’s as straightforward as driving a motorcycle. For each mile logged with the CBGTrails app, you’ll offset 22 kilos of carbon.
For a change of tempo, an off-day shakeout, or a nontechnical journey, spin the pavement and gravel to Ohio Cross. En route, absorb westward glimpses of The Castles, towering lava-rock spires left over from the West Elk Volcano eruption, and a shocking Ohio Creek Valley overlook. “You too can full a terrific loop from Ohio to Kebler Cross,” says Wiens. Regardless of the way you select to deal with this experience, it ends with a descent into downtown Crested Butte, the place Elk Avenue’s plentiful pubs and eating places await with the final word payoff: chilly drinks and nice meals.
Greatest for: Cruising from city
This idyllic mountain-bike lap might be scaled up or down relying in your urge for food and incorporates a little bit of every little thing that makes CB such a terrific place to pedal—aspens galore, a lush river valley, and beautiful mountain vistas. Possibly one of the best half is that it begins and ends proper on the town. “You may finish on Elk Avenue and seize blissful hour on the Brick or on any restaurant patio,” says Lauren Koelliker, growth director on the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Affiliation.
Greatest for: Elevate-served wildflower descents
Whereas Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s extra technical trails could garner extra consideration from the lift-served crowd, this undulating, winding path provides a backcountry really feel—full with handlebar-deep wildflowers in summer season—in an approachable package deal. It’s additionally the proper warm-up lap must you select to go again up the Purple Woman Specific or hyperlink up with close by trails like Snodgrass. Need to skip the warm-up? Keep on the Lodge at Mountaineer Square to catch the primary chair up—it is solely 200 yards away from the Purple Woman elevate.
Greatest for: Enjoyable, cascading drops
Don’t let this loop’s comparatively quick, 7.5-mile size idiot you—the steep climb up Strand Hill is difficult, and the payoff is sometimes technical. Alongside the way in which you’ll recognize one other payoff: views of snowcapped Teocalli Mountain. After your experience, arrange camp within the Brush Creek space (the place designated tenting might be launched by September 2021).
Greatest for: Two-lane velocity and mild grime
Gravel cyclists can ramp up the revolutions on this nontechnical lasso from Crested Butte to Jacks Cabin Cutoff, alongside Taylor River, and into Almont. “It’s not pure gravel, so you will get by with a street bike. This can be a nice lollipop from both Crested Butte or Gunnison,” says Wiens. For a lift, swing by the historic city’s Basic Retailer or seize a plate on the Three Rivers Smokehouse. Should you end in Gunnison, “the reside leisure out of the I Bar Ranch is incredible.”
Greatest for: A technical early-season outing
Usually melted out and able to experience early in the summertime, this CB mainstay makes its means between Cement and Brush Creek by means of darkish coniferous forest and throughout open, flowery meadows. As you experience, gander south throughout Cement Creek on the retired ski-run cuts of Pioneer Ski Space, the place Comet—Colorado’s inaugural chairlift—was put in in 1939.
Greatest for: Seasoned bikepackers
Earlier than following a monitor impressed by the game’s earliest pioneers, cease by the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum to find out about Crested Butte’s klunker era and the unique ascent of 12,700-foot Pearl Cross. Then set out for what must be some of the scenic routes within the state—you’ll cross quite a few 13,000- and 14,000-foot peaks, peer down huge drainages, and gasp for air atop excessive passes. Deal with the traverse in as a lot time as you want or have time for, although it’s mostly accomplished over two or three days.
Greatest for: Select-your-own-adventure by means of slickrock obstacles
For a mixture of fluid singletrack, technical steering, and rocky options, hyperlink up Rocky Ridge and Rattlesnake by way of Sea of Sage, then end with Becks and Collarbone. “Rattlesnake is filled with pure options: you create your individual playground out of massive rock rolls, difficult steep climbs, and technical descents. Or persist with simpler cross-country choices,” says Koelliker. After path time, it’s onerous to beat a refreshing dip in close by Blue Mesa Reservoir—the Elk Creek Marina provides SUP and kayak leases for an added journey.
From technical desert trails at Hartman Rocks to epic high-alpine loops in Crested Butte, there’s at all times one thing new to experience within the Gunnison Valley’s 750-plus miles of singletrack. Come for the mountain biking; keep for the quintessential Colorado mountain cities. Your subsequent journey awaits in Gunnison–Crested Butte!