The Evolution bike park at Crested Butte Mountain Resort offers a combination of classic country trails, freeride, and downhill. It’s a great option for all levels, and allows you to both satisfy you’re crazy friends who love to climb, the novice rider still figuring out their bike, and anyone who prefers the downhill to the uphill grunt. At CBMR, you don’t always have to go up to go down.
Cross Country Trails
If you’re looking to get some climbs on Mount Crested Butte, the three best trails to start with are Up and Away, Westside, and Meander. Each of these trails offers a different level of difficulty, either with pitch, technicality, or both. Please keep in mind that all three of these trails are multi- use trails and that you will most likely encounter foot traffic along the way. While mountain bikers do have the right of way, remember to always be polite and to share the trail!
Up and Away will be the most obvious trail climbing out of the Crested Butte Mountain Resort Base Area. If you’re looking at the Red Lady Lift, take the paved path to the left, past the trampolines, and look for the trailhead on your right. Up and Away is a short, intermediate trail that is open to both foot and bike traffic. However, only uphill bike traffic is permitted on Up and Away. There are few rocks or roots on this trail, with the most challenging aspect being the moderately steep switchbacks climbing Warming House Hill. As your crest the top of Warming House Hill, you will see another single track veering to the left. This is Columbine. If you’re looking for more singletrack climbing, turn left here. If you’re looking for an easier climb, continue on Up and Away until it runs into the cat road. You can follow this cat road to the top of the Red Lady Lift, aka the top of the Evolution Bike park.
Westside is your second option for a climb straight out of the mountain village. This time, take a right when you get to the Red Lady lift, pass the Silver Queen lift, and the Westside trailhead will be on your left. Westside is rated as an expert trail and will try to tucker you out. It’s a steep, rocky, and root covered climb to the top of the Red Lady lift. It is also the longest route to the top, but don’t let that scare you. If you’re up to the challenge, Westside is a great way to test your fitness and your technical climbing skills. Westside is a multi-use, multi-directional trail, so please keep your eyes open for hikers and other mountain bikers.
If you interested in descents, stick to your half shell helmet for Westside. While many of the downhill mountain bike trails will test your technical skills, Westside will not only test your skills but your physical fitness levels too; it requires pedaling on the way up and the way down!
The final pedaling access option to CBMR is on Meander. You can access Meander from the top of the Gothic road, across from the Snodgrass parking lot. When you hit the dirt road, look to the right. You’ll the Mount Crested Butte water treatment plant, and the Meander trail starts right next to it. Meander does exactly what the name suggests; it follows a gentle slope to the top of Prospect Drive. It is a intermediate trail, but is easily manageable. Meander is a great option if you’re looking for a quitter ride as it sees less traffic, plus if offers fields of wildflowers in the summer, and golden Aspen groves in the fall.
Crested Butte Mount Resort also offers the only lift-serviced trails in the area. You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy them either. Everyone from the novice rider to a seasoned pro can find something to enjoy and get their adrenaline pumping on the Red Lady Lift.
Hot Dogger is the easiest trail down the mountain. But don’t let the green square fool you, it’s full of banked corners and optimal flow, making it enjoyable for all levels of riders. Hot Dogger is wider than many of the other trails with the majority of rocks and roots removed from the trail. The banked corners make it easier for riders of all levels to corner, and the moderate pitch means you won’t be squeezing the brakes the entire way to the base area.
After you feel comfortable on Hot Dogger, head on over to Primer. Primer is a great, mellow warm up for Luge or Awakening, both of which you can access after Primer intersects with a cat road. If you’re still in need of a little more warming up, take the trail directly in front of you, Painter Boy, and follow it for a fun, cross-country style descent that will connect to Columbine. Since Painter Boy and Columbine are both multi-directional trails, please ride in control and be prepared to stop for uphill traffic.
If you’re feeling good, take a left at the cat road to find Luge and Awakening. Luge does have more rocks and roots than Hot Dogger, but all of the terrain is easily navigated and can be rolled over. From here you can either take a left to continue down Luge all the way to the base area or for the easier option, take a right to jump onto Awakening. Awakening is a great way to progress your skills from Hot Dogger to the blue trails. It has slightly tighter corners, a moderately steeper pitch and rolling sections that allow you to work on some bike skills. If you’re comfortable on the top part of Luge, continue all the way down to the pass. There are a couple sections where you can either jump or roll over the top of these features safely and corners you can take with speed.
If you’re more interested in jumps than flowing, wind single track, check out Frequency. Frequency combines smaller jumps, banked corners and fast straight aways for a little bit of everything. Even if you’re not 100% confident hitting jumps Frequency is a safe place to practice dialing in your speed and gradually clearing the jumps.
Note: If you’re looking for a place to practice your bike skills, there is a pump track both at the base area and the top of the Red Lady Lift. The pump-track at the top of the lift allows you to practice pumping, transitioning between jumps, and has a progression of drops from 6” -18” that you can try before heading out to the more challenging trails.
Timeline is the next trail in line when it comes to progressing your jump size and hitting more wooden features. From drops to wallrides, Timeline has a little bit of everything and is guaranteed to get your adrenaline going. The trail is well designed, allowing you to take speed into the features the whole way down the trail, and ends in a fun, swoopy traverse towards the base area.
Avery is the easier of the two downhill specific trails. This is where you will want your full-face, especially if you plane on hitting the drop. The majority of the features on Avery are rollable, with a good mix of roots and rocks to keep you on your toes and challenged. There is one big rock drop on the trail, but there is an easy roll around to the right on this feature.
If you’re looking for some more adrenaline while you’re riding Avery, take the right hand turn off for Psycho Rocks. Take head of the name, as this is some rowdy terrain with large boulders, rock gardens, steep terrain and bridges. You’ll definitely want your bike skills and full face for this section of the trail. There are multiple routes you can take through Psycho Rocks, allowing you to progress at a comfortable level, and the trail will connect with Avery about 2/3rds of the way down the mountain.
Captain Jack is the rowdiest of them all. Rock gardens, mandatory drops, jumps and wood-framed features. This is where the World Enduro Series raced their athletes on CBMR to test their technical skills, and you can do the same. Please ride with care and inspect all features before hitting them.
The last descent – which fork will you take?
All the trails, with the exception of Westside, finish in the same area at the top of Warming House Hill. Negotiating the forks in the trail takes a little bit of route finding. If you’re looking for the easiest way down, bear right at the first and the second forks in the trail. There are a couple of jumps in the top section of this trail, but you can easily and safely roll over them. For an intermediate progression, take the first left and then the second right, and for the biggest jumps, stick to the left hand line all the way back to the lift.
Trail Heads 1
- Snodgrass on Gothic Road