The new Gunsight Connector trail connects Mount Crested Butte to the Lower Loop trail system. Some locals have begun referring it to “Lupine 3″, since it can be considered the third installment of the newer Lupine trails. The trail is best if used as a descent, starting in the Saddle Ridge development. When “Lupine 2″ begins its final descent off the Cloud City road, continue ascending until you reach the well marked Gunsight Connector.
Like any new trail, the Gunsight Connector is still a little rough and bumpy, needing time, tires, and weather to wear it in to perfection. Alex Reidman:
The Beckwith Bench Trail is more or less an extension of the trail to Beckwith Pass. I’ve long been a proponent of hiking to Beckwith Pass in the summer to view the wildflowers. But, the next couple of miles on the Beckwith Bench offer possibly even better flowers and some great views.
I began on the Cliff Creek trail which greeted me with lots of wildflowers including these wild roses.
Views of Ruby, Owen, and Purple in the distance.
I reached Beckwith Pass quickly and the scenery along the way was quite nice. But, the real beauty began on the other side of the pass, and into the Wilderness.
For years I rocked a Marmot softshell as one of my essential backcountry skiing layers. After too many hard days it was beat up, smelled less than stellar, wasn’t even close to its original color after all the sun-fade, and it was permanently engrained with layers of dirt and grime that I swear added a couple of ounces of weight to the overall jacket. It was time to replace it, but every time I tried, any new softshell I acquired didn’t pass the test. Most weren’t breathable enough and caused me to sweat more while touring, making me essentially colder in the long run – defeating the purpose of sporting a softshell in the first place. But, then this beautiful piece landed in my hands – the Black Diamond Dawn Patrol LT Shell. It’s the perfect blend of breathability, warmth, and water-proofing all wrapped up in a nice lightweight softshell.
The Black Diamond Dawn Patrol LT Shell
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.