There are hundreds and hundreds of miles of singletrack in the Crested Butte/ Gunnison area, but for visitors with limited time, the question becomes “Which are the best rides?”. These rides have been chosen for the quality of the descent, not on the scenery. Also, there are great short rides, but these are all “full day” rides. Read on to discover Crested Butte’s best rides- and let us know your favorite.
The most enjoyable trip to the doctor ever…
Distance: 20 miles
Level: Moderate- long gradual road ride followed by a short but steep road to the start of the singletrack descent.
Description: Whether you call it Doctor’s Park or Doctor Park, this is a ride not to be missed in Crested Butte. The upper meadows give way to some fast technical riding, and that’s where the fun really begins. The middle section leaves flies through the trees with twists and berms that will leave you grinning. The Doctor keeps giving, however, and the bottom section is another fun tech section just to keep things honest.
Quality knee technique on Hunter Creek.
Distance: 20.5 miles
Level: Difficult, with some hike a bike, and high altitudes.
Description: This a probably my favorite alpine ride in the Crested Butte area. But Hunter creek has more than views- it’s an ear-to-ear grinning descent on its own, with a little bit of everything on the way down. The cross country part of this loop is one of the best as well.
Riding through the flowers on Teocalli Ridge.
Distance: 20.5 miles
Level: Moderate-difficult with a steep climb.
Description: Like many, we missed Teocalli ridge when it was closed for a few summers and the trail was realigned. Thankfully, Teo ridge is once again open, and riders can enjoy the playful ridge section along with the rough and tumble middle, and fast meadows at the bottom. Oh, and the views are tough to beat.
Green Lake at the top of the trail.
Distance: 20 miles, less from town.
Level: Moderate but steep climb.
Description: Starting in downtown Crested Butte and ending at a subalpine lake, Green Lake is one out and back ride that is well worth the time. Alternating between fast flowing sections and the occasional technical section, this shorter ride has long been a favorite.
409 and a Half
There are lots of opportunities for airtime on 409.5.
Level: Moderate-Difficult depending on route choice.
Description: Whether you access 409.5 from the new Point Lookout trail or Cement Creek and Walrod Gulch, this trail is sure to please those who like to get their wheels off the ground. This high speed trail has berms and drainage berms which double as jumps. Adding 402 makes for some serious downhill fun.
Green grass and tacky dirt on the Starvation Creek trail.
Distance: ~35 miles plus shuttle
Level: Moderate with a shuttle.
Description: This is another trail that isn’t technically in Crested Butte, but it’s in the area so it’s on the list. It’s tough to pick the best trail on Monarch Pass, but we’ll pick this one.
Pine needle freedom on Texas Ridge.
Distance: 28.6 miles
Level: Difficult, with some hike a bike.
Description: This rugged adventure ride is worth the tough climb. Weaving through the pines on an extra thick carpet of pine needles, Texas Ridge is one to check out.
Whitepine/ Canyon Creek
Dropping in from treeline on the Canyon Creek trail.
Distance: 20.5 miles
Level: Difficult, with hike a bike to the summit, and high altitudes.
Description: While not technically in Crested Butte, this ride near Monarch Pass is one of the longest descents around. After a tough road climb and hike a bike to a mountain summit, Canyon Creek throws a little bit of everything at riders. Grassy alpine meadows are followed by technical riding through rock gardens, but then the trail opens up into a fast and flowy descent through the trees.
On July 2nd, Natalia and I stood on top of Mount Oklahoma and scanned the skyline around us. Some peaks were devoid of snow, while others held nice pockets of white stuff. These ones struck our fancy:
Mount Champion, 13736, and Deer Mountain.
We’d originally had plans to ski the north face of Democrat, but upon seeing this, we decided to try for the northeast sides of Mount Champion and/or the adjacent 13,736′ instead.
We started at dawn with a rather freezing cold river crossing right off the bat. Although paths were not on our maps, we found trails to follow for a ways until this cabin.
After the cabin, willow hell ensued.
The East River Trail from the Brush Creek Trailhead has become a Crested Butte favorite. Though it’s fairly short and about as flat as trails get in this neck of the woods, the East River Trial is a great place to view wildflowers from late June to early July. It’s also a favorite among fly fishers to access the East Brush Creek. Either way, this trail is an excellent choice for families and others wanting an easy way to view the wildflowers. Better yet, it’s an out-and-back, so you can go as long as you like before turning back around.
The trail is decorated with wildflowers almost the entire way.
The East River Trail is covered with Aspen Sunflowers.
Oklahoma had been on my list for many years. Anyone who has skied Mount Massive has likely gazed upon the slopes of Oklahoma which hold snow late into the spring and early summer. I know I’m not the only one who spotted it as I climbed up Mount Massive and wondered, “What am I doing here? I should be over there!”
Oklahoma in the morning.
After camping just down the road from the trailhead the night before, we got a pretty early start in the morning. Halfmoon Creek was raging.
The wildflowers were starting to make their mark on the landscape.
After having a rather adverse experience climbing Oklahoma the year before, Natalia suggested that we access it by heading to Halfmoon Lakes first. So, that’s what we did.
Natalia with Mount Oklahoma and Upper North Halfmoon Lake.