Brush/Cement Creeks Trail Area

Rating

Flow - Tech

60% Complete

Description

A lot of our most favorite trails in the entire Gunnison Valley can be found in the Brush Creek and Cement Creek Areas. Most of it has great access with several 2wd access points, but a lot of it is also serious backcountry riding with massive vertical ascents and descents, alpine riding, moto track, and ton of adventure.

At least 100 miles of singletrack can be ridden in this zone, and what’s listed below is just the tip of the iceberg. Spend a few days with a map and see what you want to piece together for an epic time in Brush/Cement Creeks.

Recommended Rides


Deer Creek (Mileage:11-29 miles Elevation Gain:1,200-3,100′)

I’ve heard tons of negative things said about Deer Creek. I’m staking out an unpopular position when I say that Deer Creek is a great trail. It has beautiful flowers, beautiful views, and a few really fun, albeit relatively short, downhills. It also rides in both directions and melts out relatively early in the spring before a lot of the other classic CB singletrack. I’ll admit that you’re either going to have a lot of road riding, do a lot of “extra” singletrack, or have to shuttle it, which is what I see as the most legit criticism of Deer Creek. If you haven’t ridden it, check it out. Don’t forget bug spray though!


Teocalli Ridge (Mileage: 11.5 miles Elevation Gain: 2,200′)

This is a challenging ride with a steep climb. Even the road can be tough to clean let alone when you get onto the steep singletrack. It’s worth it for the descent though. This is one of those trails that scared me for years. It’s steep. It has some exposure. It has some weird cinder block armor that might freak you out the first time you see it. The descent is so good though. The trailhead is technically over by the East River Trail, so there’s a lot of road riding.


Strand and Canal (Mileage: 7.5 miles Elevation Gain: 900′)

Another trail that opens up pretty early, Strand is a classic lunch or after work ride. It’s good old school CB singletrack. Either climb the road and then down Strand to link up with Canal or climb the bottom of Canal to pick up the Strand Bonus, then ride the road for a bit, then hit the Strand singletrack. If you like it that much, head back up the bonus and get the top half of the loop again before heading back to your car. Like Teocalli Ridge, the official trailhead is at the East River Trail. It’s best to ride from there.


The “409s” (Mileage:18-35 miles Elevation Gain: At least 2,000′)

Cement Creek and Brush Creek are connected by a lot of trails. Two of those trails are 409 and 409.5. You can either start in Brush Creek and ride 409 up to Point Lookout and 409.5 down or start in Cement Creek, access the top of Point Lookout from any number of places (try either Walrod/740.2C to Double Top/405.2A or up the Caves/409), descend 409.5, and come back up over 409 and down the Caves. If you’re feeling particularly spry and full of energy, you can link it up with Strand or Strawberry Trail or Farris Creek on the Brush side. Just the 409s loop from Cement Creek is about 18 miles and 3500+ feet of climbing, so tacking extra onto that is ambitious.


583/400 (Mileage:18-30 Elevation Gain:4,000-5,000)

A few summers ago the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association did a re-route on 583 aka Crystal to make it just within the realm of “rideable” rather than a hike-a-bike. A lot of us still end up pushing our bikes up this trail. It’s beautiful though and the views of Star Pass and the surrounding mountains when you hit Trail 400 on the pass at nearly 12,154 feet. From there, there’s a bit more of a climb to the top of Star Pass on Trail 400. Then, it’s a long descent. You can ride all 5 miles down with 2,000+ feet of descending and then ride the highway back south or you can use a couple of different trail combinations to get back to Cement Creek (Double Top to Hunter, Block and Tackle, Double Top to Block and Tackle, Double Top to Waterfall). None of them are easy.


Reno, Flag, Bear, Deadmans (Mileage: 18 miles Elevation Gain: 3,400′)

This is an absolute classic loop in Cement Creek. It has three climbs and three descents. Over the course of the loop, the climbs get shorter and the descents get better. Well, you could argue whether Bear or Deadmans is a better descent. They’re both good.

Park at Deadmans Gulch, climb Cement Creek Road to Italian Creek Road aka Reno Ridge Road, then ride Flag to the bottom, climb Bear singletrack, jump back on the road for a bit, then descend Bear. Then, get ready for a false flat brutal climb up Deadmans culminating in some challenging switchbacks. But once you’re there, it’s just 30 switchbacks down to the creek, each a little different. It used to be a sometimes challenging creek crossing at the bottom, but the Forest Service put in a new bridge a few years ago.

You can also turn left on Deadmans rather than right and head over to nab Doctor Park in the Taylor Trail Area if you so desire.


Cement Mountain/Roaring Judy/Eccher/Rosebud/Etc. (Mileage:20-35 miles Elevation Gain:2,000-4,000′)

These trails offer some of the biggest, most challenging rides close to the town of Crested Butte. They are for real. They offer tough climbs. Don’t sign up to ride them if you’re not willing to push or carry your bike. Even the best climbers need to get off for stretches of these rides. Once you top out on the climbs, it’s time for big, steep, often loose descents with some challenging technical moves. We love them, but they’re serious.

TrailQuest Strategies

We suspect that this will be the hardest area in close proximity to a population center to ride all of the trails. There are just a ton of them between Cement and Brush Creeks. Luckily, they’re also some of the best ones in the Valley so you’re going to have a blast. Given that a lot of these trail networks started as moto routes, and many of them are still motorized singletrack, these trails offer some of the stoutest climbs and steepest descents with a lot of loose rock. If you’re into that kind of thing, pick one of the loops described above and get after it.

Trail Heads 3

  • Brush Creek Main
  • Caves
  • Deadman's Gulch

Trails 20

  • 409 1/2
  • Canal Trail
  • Ditch Trail
  • DoubleTop
  • Farris Creek
  • Hammer
  • Point Lookout
  • Strand
  • Strand Bonus
  • Strand Hill Road
  • Strawberry
  • Teocalli Ridge
  • The Wall
  • Waterfall Creek
  • 409 1/2
  • DoubleTop
  • Farris Creek
  • Point Lookout
  • Waterfall Creek
  • Waterfall Creek

Categories

Map of the Brush/Cement Creeks Trail Area

Photos of the Brush/Cement Creeks Trail Area

Videos of the Brush/Cement Creeks Trail Area

One Good Ride: Warm Springs

One Good Ride: Strand Hill

One Good Ride: Canal Trail