(Last Updated On: September 27, 2010)
Crested Butte is blessed with more singletrack than just about anywhere. A quick scan of my mountain bike guide will confirm that. While the recent Forest Service Travel Management Plan will eliminate some trails, most notably 413, it appears that thanks to some forward-minded citizens we will be getting quite a bit of singletrack back.
The first area will hopefully be a re-opening of Baxter Gulch just south of town, situated between Whetstone Mountain and Gibson’s Ridge. This area historically saw a lot of use, but the development of Trapper’s crossing put an end to it. Now it appears an easement will someday open this area up for bikers as well as hikers and climbers of Whetstone Mountain. Baxter gulch can be taken all the way to Ohio Pass, or another loop possibility will be to link it up with the Don Cook trail (aka Para mi/ Para Ti) and Green Lake. This development may be a few years away, but right now things look good for this to become reality. Here’s a Google Earth image of the area and the approximate trail route:
Even more interesting for mountain bikers will be the Kochevar parcels just north of town between Slate River and Washington Gulch. A number of different entities deserve thanks for this land- best explained by the Town of Crested Butte’s website: “On Wednesday June 30th the Trust for Public Land purchased 313 acres of land on Smith Hill from the Kochevar family and set the stage for preservation of 70 additional acres as part of the transaction. Protection of the property, previously owned by the local Kochevar family since 1905, will preserve important views from the town, provide hiking, biking and Nordic skiing trail connections on existing open space parcels, protect an elk migration corridor, and maintain some existing grazing uses. TPL immediately conveyed 166 acres to the Town of Crested Butte for protection as open space. The Crested Butte Land Trust (CBLT) will hold a conservation easement over the same property. The acquisition was funded by a $2 million Lottery grant from GOCO and $1 million from the Town of Crested Butte. CBLT also holds the conservation easement on the 70 acres retained by the Kochevar family. That conservation easement limits development to two building sites and provides for a public trail on that property.”
This area already has some trails, and some of them are already being flagged and used. Many of the photos from my “Fall Ride Photo Essay” were taken from these new trails, including this one on one of the newly flagged trails:
This area will have several access points: one being from the Slate River, of course, but an easement from the Saddle Ridge subdivision will allow access from Gothic Road, and it’s also hoped that the Kochevar trails will also be linked to beautiful Long Lake. All of this means that these trails will allows all sorts of riding options, right out of Crested Butte or Mount Crested Butte. For instance, a rider leaving Crested Butte could ride the following trails: Up Tony’s to the Upper Loop to the ski area (perhaps riding West Side to Horseshoe to Meander to Painter Boy to the Woods Trail). This would lead straight to Snodgrass, Long Lake trail, the new Kochevar trails straight to the Lower Loop. This loop would total roughly 25 miles, almost all of it on moto-free singletrack. Compared to a Crested Butte area classic like Reno-Flag-Bear-Deadman’s, which is less than 20 miles roundtrip from the trailhead, much of it on road and trashed from the motos, and you can see how appealing this new trail system will be. Here’s a Google Earth image roughly showing what this loop might look like:
As I mentioned earlier, many of these trails are already flagged with tape, so these trails will see use before we know it. A huge thanks to everyone involved with making these new trails a reality! Support 14erskiers and check out these deals: 2010 Men’s Jackets Must Go! – Get Up To 40% Off The North Face, Arc’terx & Patagonia At Backcountry.com. Valid While Supplies Last.
Latest posts by Frank Konsella (see all)
- Bluebird Backcountry Ski Area - February 14, 2020
- Gear Review: Smith 4D MAG Goggles - January 6, 2020
- Gear Review: LEKI Tour Stick Vario Carbon Ski Poles - December 9, 2019