10 Stellar Mountain-Bike Trails in the Gunnison Valley

We have been giving you our take on the best rides here in the Gunnison Valley. From 401 at the northern reaches of our Valley all the way down to Hartman Rocks in the south, we’ve been riding, and writing, all summer long. But with 750+ miles of trails, we have a lot of ground to cover, so we invited the team at Visit Colorado to weigh in on their favorite ten trails in Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley. Here’s their list:

Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley offer an expansive mountain biking experience like no other The area’s more than 750 miles of mountain-biking trails lead to wildflower-peppered valleys, unparalleled mountain vistas and multi-hued desert expanses. Read on to learn about some of our favorite Gunnison and Crested Butte mountain-biking trails.

Need a ride? From downhill bikes equipped with large coil shocks to selections for kids, check out bike-rental options from our area outfitters.

1. Lupine Trail

Lupine Trail near Crested Butte, Colorado
Difficulty: Intermediate
This popular single-track loop is padded with blossoming wildflowers like violet lupine and golden mule’s ear sunflowers in the summer months and fiery-hued aspens in the fall. Located at the north end of Slate River Valley, the ride affords gorgeous panoramas of the valley and Mt. Crested Butte.

2. Evolution Bike Park

Difficulty: Varies
Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s bike park presents convenient, lift-accessed mountain biking for all abilities. Favorite trails include Awakening, a wide course with plenty of narrow-space detours to help beginners build confidence; Frequency, which features a series of mid-sized jumps; and Psycho Rocks, a challenging trail with massive boulders and a network of bridges.

3. 401 Trail

mountain views from trail riders trail 401

Difficulty: Intermediate/Advanced
Ride up Gothic Road toward the summit of Schofield Pass to the start of the 401 Trail, a favorite in the Gothic Trail Area. Known for its beautiful, knee-deep foliage, riders who endure the route’s steep grades and switchbacks are rewarded with outstanding high-alpine views of the Gothic Valley and Mt. Crested Butte.

4. Lower Loop

Lower Loop Trail along the slate River

Difficulty: Beginner
Many detours are available in the Lower Loop Trail Area, including options to connect with the Woods Walk, Budd and Upper Lower Loop trails. Located on the outskirts of downtown Crested Butte, the route has a few technical sections and short climbs and travels along the Slate River amid towering snow-capped peaks.

5. Hartman Rocks

Difficulty: Varies
Touted as one of the best desert trail systems in Colorado, Hartman Rocks boasts more than 40 miles of single-track routes and 33 miles of dirt road for mountain biking in Gunnison. Riders can connect to different trails in the system to create their own experience. One recommendation is to climb Jack’s Trail to Josho’s and connect to Sea of Sage. From there, ride Rocky Ridge and end at Becks.

6. Dyke Trail

Difficulty: Advanced/Expert
Encompassing leg-burning climbs, smooth single-track, water crossings and technical descents, the Dyke Trail keeps seasoned bikers on their toes. This trail near scenic Kebler Pass is especially magical in the fall when color-changing aspens frame views of the Ruby and Anthracite mountain ranges.

7. Monarch Crest

Difficulty: Advanced/Expert
A segment of the Continental Divide Trail, Monarch Crest is a versatile ride that requires a shuttle to Monarch Pass near Poncha Springs and Salida. Hearty cyclists climb to the Continental Divide from the pass, where breathtaking sights of the Rocky Mountains surround.

8. Strand Trail Area

Finishing out Strand on the Canal Trail in Crested Butte

Difficulty: Varies
Riders find more than a dozen trails in this area at Brush Creek Trailhead, which is favored for its variety. Families and beginners like the Ditch Trail, a two-track out-and-back trail, while Strand Hill Trail has power climbs, exciting drops and a forested single-track descent for intermediate riders.

9. Doctor Park

Difficulty: Expert
This locals’ favorite in the Taylor Canyon Area rewards riders who endure the steep ascent up Spring Creek Road with a fun, speedy descent featuring rocky and technical components as well as long sections of smooth riding.

10. Lower Cement Creek Trail

Difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate
A wonderful option for beginners, this trail in Crested Butte’s Cement Creek Area has a few short climbs and rocky sections. Perks include excellent glimpses of Cement Mountain, aspen and pine woodlands and lush meadows.

What do you think of Visit Colorado’s picks? What local gem did they miss from this list?

As always, thank you to Gunnison TrailsCrested Butte Mountain Bike Association, and everyone else who has a hand in building and maintaining our 750+ miles of trails.

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