“Anthracite Falls”

Last week, I sporadically decided to do some exploring. I’d seen the trail a few times before. But, it wasn’t really a trail. There was no trail sign. No official parking lot. Just a pull out on the road. Still, the beaten down dirt leading slightly to the right and upward into the forest revealed that others had been there. Though, this path was not heavily traveled.

I found myself wandering through a beautiful moist forest full of mushrooms.
forest near Crested Butte

The forest then emerged into a meadow, where the trail disappeared for awhile.
Meadow near Anthracite Falls near Crested Butte

Where is the path going? Is it going up the mountain? Or is it going to this waterfall?

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Alpine Tunnel/ Tunnel Lakes Loop 9.13.14

Since moving to Crested Butte roughly 20 years ago, checking out the Alpine Tunnel has been high on my list. The Alpine Tunnel was built between 1880 and 1882 by the Denver, South Park, and Pacific railroad. This company was in a race with the Denver and Rio Grande Western railroad, which was building their railroad over Marshall Pass. Marshall Pass won, and the Alpine Tunnel was abandoned by 1910. Yes, I like history.

I also like big alpine bike rides, and the Tunnel Lakes section of the Continental Divide trail has been near the top of my list for a couple of years for 2 reasons. 1- I haven’t ridden it (always a great reason) 2- DaveMo of Gunnison’s Rock’nRoll sports, described this ride as his favorite in a small magazine article. Considering he’s ridden everything over the past 3 decades or so, I knew it must be good. So Brittany and I were joined by Adam Kagy to find out what this area was all about.

tincup napolean pass

Looking towards Napolean Pass 3/4 of the way through our ride.

We drove through the Quartz Creek valley past the towns of Ohio City and Pitkin to the trailhead at the junction of the Alpine Tunnel road and Cumberland Pass road. This is a beautiful area which doesn’t get a lot of traffic from either Crested Butte or Gunnison. Speaking of which, I have a terrific 36+ acre property for sale in this area. Upper Quartz Creek:
quartz creek valley, co

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Three New Bike Trails at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

The short summer arrived and quietly left. The rainbow colors of wildflowers have been replaced by the fabulous hues of the changing aspen leaves. While the seasons progressed, CBMR was hard at work. The result? – There are three new bike trails at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. And three great ones at that. Here’s a spotlight on each of the trails.

Captain Jack’s

Captain Jack’s is an expert trail, truly meant for downhill riding. It is accessed from the top of the Red Lady lift by taking a right when off loading the chair and heading toward Westside. Beginning on a start block and immediately rising to a tall bridge crossing over Upper Westside Trail, Captain Jack’s then continues through a particularly steep and rocky section in the forest. Once that is cleared, Captain Jack’s continues traveling through the forest, swooping steeply through tight trees, rocks, stumps, and roots. It’s a fun trail. Somewhat intimidating, Captain Jack’s is adequately ridebable by those riders used to tackling techy downhills. Here’s some Captain Jack’s photo stoke:

The bridge over Westside near the start.
Bridge on Captain Jack's at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

The steep rocky section in the forest. Frank.
Captain Jack's trail at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Captain Jack's trail at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Me.
Captian Jack's at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Riding Captain Jack's at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Tight trees.
Riding Captain Jack's at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Riding Captain Jack's at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Stumps and roots.
Riding Captian Jack's at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Hot Dogger

Hot Dogger is a beginner trail that has many fun banked turns and small jumpy features. It is accessed from the top of the Red Lady Lift by turning left as you off load from the chair. The start is right there. Hot Dogger was a needed addition to the existing trails at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, as there was previously really only one beginner route down the mountain (although it combined three trails – Primer, Awakening, and Downtime). Hot Dogger is a fast trail with lots of fun banked turns and small jumpy features. It is a great trail for all levels of riders.

trail sign for Hot Dogger at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Hot Dogger crosses under Avery with the aid of this new bridge.
Hot Dogger at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Flowy.
Riding Hot Dogger at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Fun corners.
Riding Hot Dogger at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

riding Hot Dogger at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Deer Park

Although a short trail, Deer Park is a worthy addition to the backside of the ski area. It’s about a half mile long, and it connects Prospector to Lower Meander. Deer Park is ranked as an intermediate trail, but it could even be a beginner trail. It makes a nice shortcut for if you descend Meander and want to climb up Prospector (or vice versa). Or, you could even just make a short loop between Lower Meander, Deer Park, and Prospector.

The beginning of Deer Park from Prospector.
Deer Park sign

Deer Park is a cross-country style trail.
Deer Park at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

The trail crosses the Prospector Road under this bridge.
road crossing at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

As it cuts through the grass, Deer Park intersects with Lower Meander.
Deer Park at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Lower Meander.
Lower Meander at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

September Riding

September is one of the best times to ride at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. The dirt is typically tacky “brown pow”. The colors are fabulous. The crowds are non-existent. And the lifts run Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. If you don’t want to ride the lifts, there’s plenty of trails for you too. Don’t forget about our Crested Butte Mountain Resort Biking Guide which can help you plan your bike route(s) in advance!

With a couple of weeks still left of riding at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, it’s time to get out to enjoy these new trails. Or, enjoy some of the ones that were already there. Like these, some of our favorites:

Avery:
Riding Avery at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Crusader:
Crusader at Crested Butte Mountain Resort


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