Three-Day Flow Beginner Mountain Biking Itinerary

If you’re relatively new to the sport of mountain biking, we recommend starting your visit with our three-day beginner flow mountain biking itinerary. There are some mountain bike epics here in the Valley and those are great to dream about while practicing your skills and learning how to bike. But, we don’t recommend starting with the epics. Instead, we recommend that beginners start on the easiest trails and work their way up to some of the bigger rides like 401 and Doctor Park.

Day 1: Evolution Bike Park

To help you get used to the altitude, we recommend you spend day 1 riding chairs at the Evolution Bike Park and cruising the green circle downhills. Unlike many Bike Parks, Evolution Bike Park actually has a really great progression from the green circles all the way up to double black diamonds (just like skiing, mountain bike trail ratings go green circle< blue square< black diamond< double black diamond), so it’s a great place to learn.

Mountain bikers with a few days under their belts should start on Hotdogger and then work their way up to Awakening. This will give you a chance to work on your bike handling and braking skills. Riding lifts means you won’t be as tired as you would be if you had to ride the uphills, too. You can also spin a few laps in the pump track at the base area to learn a little about berms and rollers or in the skills park at the top of the Red Lady Lift.

youth mountain biker on flow trail at Evolution Bike Park

If you’re a true beginner, consider taking a lesson with one of the Evolution Instructors. There isn’t much about mountain biking that is truly intuitive, so lessons are a great way to get a good skills base before you hit the trail.

Day 2: Lower Loop

Now that you’ve got your wheels under you, it’s time to head out on a crosscountry trail. The Lower Loop is a great option for beginners because it has a doubletrack option and a singletrack option. It’s also super easy to ride from town without gaining too much altitude. Just ride out Peanut Lake Road to the Lower Loop and pick up the doubletrack. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the singletrack on the way back. It does have one big technical move, but it’s fine to hop off your bike and walk up the rocks.

Two riders on the Lower Loop singletrack along the Slate River with Crested Butte in background

Make sure you stick to the true Lower Loop though. If you climb up from the Lower Loop, you can end up on the Upper Lower or the Budd Trail. They’re a significant step up in terms of difficulty. Most of the sections are rideable for intermediate riders, but they could be pretty challenging for beginners.

Day 3: Lupine OR Hartman Rocks Flow

Depending on how you’re feeling on Day 3, we have a few suggestions. If you’re up to try a little more climbing to get more of that really good flow, push yourself and go for the Lupine Trail. This will be your biggest day of climbing yet, but it’s a flow-filled trail for a blue square. We did a ride report last year with a few different options for riding the Lupine Trail. We recommend beginners climb the Rec Path and then ride Lupine 1 to Lupine 2 for beginners. There is one somewhat exposed section in the trees. Don’t hesitate to walk it.

Solo biker riding Lupine 1 trail with Crested Butte Mountain in the background

If you’re starting to feel fatigued, you can head south to Gunnison and ride the flow trails at Hartman Rocks instead. Sea of Sage, Broken Shovel, and the Luge are all great beginner flow trails. They’re fun and fast enough that you could ride them once, or go for broke and lap them a few times. If you’re feeling confident, head to Beck’s and rip a great downhill. If you go right at the “y” on the trail your skills should be tuned up enough that you can cruise this locals’ favorite.

Sharpen Your Skills

If you’re ready to progress from the beginner flow itinerary, but you want to improve your skills first, check out our listing of lessons and clinics. A few hours of practice with an expert instructor will help you gain the skills you need to progress from these beginner trails to some of the more difficult ones in the Valley.

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