(Last Updated On: August 28, 2011)
Once upon a time in the early 1990’s, a Crested Butte guidebook proclaimed Doubletop to be the very best ride in the area, above now well-known classics like 401, Doctor’s Park, as well as now-closed due to Wilderness expansion rides like Oh-Be-Joyful. So it was during my first summer here in Crested Butte in 1997 that I quickly made my way to Doubletop. My main memory of that ride was a frightening lightning storm amidst the rolling terrain near timberline on this trail. I rode it a few other times over the next few years, but what I quickly realized was that whatever the trail once was, it was that trail no longer. The combination of steep grades, soft soil, shady tree sections that take a long time to dry out, and increased usage by dirtbikes doomed this trail in short order.
These days, Doubletop is a poster child for the dirtbike destruction that has befallen so many local trails, rather than a local classic. The vast majority of local riders have never bothered with it, let alone any visiting riders. During the summer of 2010, the forest service took extraordinary measures, dropping pallets of cinder blocks along the trail in an attempt to armor it and save it from further erosion. Trail reroutes and a closure to dirtbikes would have been a much more successful option, though Doubletop’s extreme popularity with the moto crowd would likely make that a difficult choice to make by the Forest Service. In any case, I was hopeful the trail work would make a return trip to Doubletop worthwhile, and I convinced Tom Runcie to join me.
Sadly, all the trailwork was only in the first mile after the Block and Tackle intersection, with the rest of the trail worse than ever. Thankfully, the scenery and a few good sections of trail remain. Tom:
With rain approaching, Tom and I didn’t stop for any more photos as we bombed down 409 and a half, still one of my favorite downhills in the valley. I added on a quick descent of Strand Bonus as well, and the rain finally caught us near the Skyland golf course. No worries, we knew exactly where we were headed:
While it was great for me to get on a trail I hadn’t been on in ten or more years, it was disheartening to see it remain in such sorry shape. It looks like I’ll have to wait until returning again. Here’s the route we took: Upper-Brush Creek-Block and Tackle-Doubletop-409.5-Strand Bonus-Brush Creek-Brick Oven. My bike computer needs a new battery, but it’s probably close to 40 miles. We were out for over 6 hours including stops.
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