Summer is right there, just around the corner. It won’t be long, especially with this warm weather, before Hartman Rocks has melted out and the summer ride training can start. The anticipation is killing most of us, and while the trips west to Moab, Sedona, and Fruita are great, they just can’t live up to what we know is waiting for us this summer in the Gunnison Valley.
Aside from the rides that I do every season like Teocalli Ridge, Reno/Flag/Bear/Deadman’s, and Green Lake I’ve already started my bucket list of new trails to knock out this season. Here are the top three trails that I’m dead-set on riding this season.
Deer Creek is probably one of the most disputed trails in the valley. Most people really hate it, some
people really love it, and there doesn’t seem to be much in-between. For me, I think I’m going to love it. I’ve hiked it before and the wildflowers in late June and early July are some of the best in the valley. I also don’t mind going for a ride that doesn’t have a definitive downhill section.
That being said there’s a definite short window of riding for this trail. For optimal conditions it needs to be ridden after the bugs and before the cows. Even if I can ride during this window, the cross-country nature of this ride, and the fact that it’s most commonly ridden as a 30 mile loop from town make this a bear.
I don’t know much about this ride other than that the people who ride it rave about it. Some people say it’s super technical, others say that other Crest descents are far worse. I still have yet to ride anything along the Monarch Crest so Agate will take care of that goal . High alpine riding to a gnarly descent are two of the things that have piqued my interest in this ride.
Due to the many creek crossings that are required to ride Agate my goal is to tackle this trail in September when the leaves are turning and the water is low.
One of the long-term trail projects in the valley is slated to be finished this summer. The Baxter Gulch Trail starts at Avalanche Park just outside the town of Crested Butte and climbs the drainage between Gibson Ridge and the flanks of Mt. Whetstone. The trail itself is only a connector from town to Carbon Trail, but the best thing about it will be the loop it creates with Green Lake, one of my favorite downhills in the Valley. With a smoothly switchbacked climb, the not-shitty cross-country segment of Carbon Trail, and the rippin’ downhill of Green Lake, this will quickly become a go-to trail for anyone short on time and hard-up for fun. Bonus points for climbing Whetstone during your ride.