Green Lake Trail is one of the closest trails to the town of Crested Butte. Access is directly behind the Big Mine Ice Arena at the end of Belleview Ave. Be prepared for a long and arduous uphill battle. Starting at 8890’ in town, winding switchbacks with a consistent pitch take you up to 10600’ over about 3.5 miles. Daniel and I decided to take a morning to tackle this trail.
The first short section takes you from town up to Journey’s End Road, a row of houses just above town. A quick ride on the road connects up with the main trail. From here, switchbacks through the trees make for a fun techy uphill. Roots and rocks dot the trail, but the shade is great for the climb. About 1.5 miles in, you end up on the Wildcat Trail for a short road ride to the next section of trail. This is where the climbing gets much more technical.
Near the top, the terrain opens up out of the trees underneath 4th bowl on Mt. Axtell. Daniel and I decided to walk the last section from the Carbon Trail crossing to Green Lake. The lake sits in a high mountain bowl with great views up to Mt. Axtell and then back towards Mt. Crested Butte. The lake was chock-full of cutthroat trout, waiting to be angled.
After a short break beside the lake, it was time for the descent. The climbing was definitely worth the effort as you can cruise the entire way back to town without hardly a pedal stroke. This was of particular benefit to me as the climb had finally finished off my finicky hub. The roots and rocks that make the climb so hard are playful features on the way down. Now I just need to perfect my switchback technique so that I don’t have to get off on the sharp ones. I’ll be back for more practice.