Last weekend, Chasing Epic hosted a private group from the Boulder Mountainbike Alliance for their 25th Anniversary in Crested Butte. Let’s just say the timing was perfect, as the leaves were near-peak and the riding was absolutely spectacular. We had three days of 65 degrees and sunny, blue skies; and we put together a ride itinerary sure to blow their minds.
Mountain biking in Crested Butte is like no other in Colorado- it’s a true back country experience. Sure, you might see a few other mountain bikers, but the trail traffic is nothing compared to some of the other big name destinations closer to Denver. Here’s a breakdown of the 3-day customized, private trip; in a few words, and a whole bunch of awesome pictures.
On the first day of most Chasing Epic private tours, we like to do an “introductory” ride to get a shake-down of abilities, preferences, and overall group dynamic. In Crested Butte, that doesn’t mean we’ll be taking it easy the first day! Last weekend, we started off with an easy climb up Meander, then down some super fun singletrack trails like Westside and Happy Hour. After we hit the Lower Loop, we split up for a little bit to explore some of the newly-built trails on the west side of Mt. Crested Butte before regrouping to ride into town for pizza at the Brick Oven on Elk Avenue. Ride stats: 14 miles, 2000 vertical.
Day Two: Reno, Flag, Bear, Deadman’s… and Doctor Park!
That’s right, we combined two of the epics into one all-day spectacular. Most visitors to Crested Butte ride either R-F-B-D or Doctor Park…. we said screw it, let’s combine them into one full-day adventure. I’ll admit, we did take a shuttle van up to the top of Reno Ridge, which saved us six miles and 1500 feet of climbing. However, that left us with an absolutely incredible ride that included downhills of three miles (Flag Creek), six miles (Bear Creek to Deadman’s), and six miles (Doctor Park). All with only 2300 feet of climbing. Now that’s epic.
Day Three: Don’t Go Gently Into the Night
You might think: last day of the trip, let’s take it easy, get a few miles in, and head home. Not with Chasing Epic. We turned it up a notch for the crew from Boulder Mountainbike Alliance, and again combined two epics into one: 403 and 401. After getting dropped at the trail head for the 403 trail, we made the short but steep climb up and over into the East River valley and descended over 1500 feet to the 401 parking area. From there, it was an easy (but slow, it was the last day after all!) climb up to Schofield Pass and into the woods for the last little bit before one of the sweetest descents in Colorado. The 401 Trail never disappoints. The stats for the last day: 13 miles, 2800 feet of climbing (but 4000 descending!).
Final Word: When to Visit Crested Butte
In all likelihood, the riding season is just about done in Crested Butte for 2016. The snow is about to fly, and since most of the riding is above 9000 feet, it’ll get snowed over in no time. That said, it’s not too soon to start planning for 2017! We have two trips scheduled for 2017, July 20-23 and September 21-24. With Crested Butte, you get to pick your pleasure: wildflower season or fall aspens. Both are two of our favorite trips of the year, and for good reason.
About the Author
Steve Mokan is the owner of Chasing Epic Mountain Bike Adventures, an adventure travel company offering all-inclusive, guided trips to the bucket list destinations in the western United States. Their trips include everything you need for an epic riding experience: lodging, meals, bikes, guides, training, nutrition and much more. Steve won’t admit it publicly, but Crested Butte is his favorite area to ride of all the places Chasing Epic serves. Prior to starting Chasing Epic, Steve ran an adventure sports photography business and served his time in the corporate marketing world.