Cement Creek is often one of the first north valley locations to melt out during the summer. Due to its location a few miles south of the main range, it generally receives less snow than other areas even just a little bit north. This past year has been a bit of an exception though. At one point my backyard in Crested Butte South had 8 feet of snow in it. As of June 14, 2017, many of the trails above 10,400 and treeline still had significant amounts of snow. That means that Reno, Flag, Bear, Deadman’s, 409.5, Doubletop Trail, and Waterfall Creek are all still very snowy and muddy for at least a couple more weeks. Couple that with the high wind events that took place this winter and the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association is going to have a busy summer of trail work indeed.
Don’t let this little bit of information get you down though. There is still plenty of great riding opening up in the Cement Creek area, and trust me, once the snow is gone, those trees will get cut out quick. I went out for a quick jaunt in the backyard to test out some new reroutes on Warm Springs, and to test out a hypothesis that riding up Caves Trail and down Walrod Cutoff is really the way to go.
I started my ride at The Caves Trailhead. This large pullout is about 1 mile up the road from where the gravel begins on Cement Creek Rd. From there I started to climb. I was able to clean the first .2 miles or so before the grade and some technical uphill became too much. From here to the top of The Caves, a large limestone outcropping, was mostly walking with a few short sections of riding. At the top of The Caves I took a short break before hopping back on my bike for the last .3 miles of climbing to the 409 intersection. This piece is a little easier and I was able to ride the entire segment thanks to some awesome switchbacking.
At the 409/Walrod Cutoff intersection I stopped again to lower my post (I’m still stuck in the stone age with my ride) and began the downhill to Walrod Gulch Rd. Pictures can’t do this section justice. The Mule’s Ears Sunflowers, Lupine, and Larkspur were in full bloom. If you ride this section I recommend a stop or two along the way. The ride is fast and things come up quick. If you’re looking around at flowers, it’s pretty likely you’re going to wipe out into them.
At the bottom of Walrod Cutoff I made a left to begin the second climb of the ride. Going up Walrod wasn’t as bad as it has been in seasons past. I think Trailquest is turning me into a fitter rider earlier. At the top of the Warm Springs intersection I lowered my post and dropped into an entirely new section of trail. It at least felt that way. CBMBA did a work night on this section a couple weeks ago and it is a huge improvement. Lots of flow, and the water bars are incredibly fun to romp down. It’s a short trail so before I knew it I was back out on Cement Creek Rd.
I took Lower Cement Creek singletrack as far as I could and then wound up at my car an hour after I started. Just in time to eat some lunch and get back to work for the day.