West Gunnison is an area more known for elk and hunting than mountain biking. Although the map of this area includes hundreds of miles of BLM 4×4 roads on the south end that are ideal for bikepacking, the actual singletrack is more or less concentrated on the west side off of CO-92 near Crawford.
This area is full-on and unknown. A Google search of specific trails yields only this epicly scored video from the Topeak Ergon team led by Dave Wiens on an epic 7 hour hike-a-bike. If Dave recommends you leave your bike behind in favor of hiking boots, you may want to listen. On the other hand he did mention several of the trails in this area as being at the top of his list for exploration this summer.
If exploration of trail systems that haven’t seen a bicycle in 5+ years is your thing, then have at it. Bring CBGTrails and a paper map if you can find one, and make sure your battery is full.
S. Dyer Trail (#714) to Dyer Creek Trail (#888) (Mileage: ~16 miles Elevation Gain: ~2000’)
This is the best ride that the MTB Home team is familiar with. That being said, there will be trees down, poor drainage, abandoned hunting camps, and you will probably lose the trail at least once.
Park as close to the exit of Dyer Creek Trail (#888) as possible. This may be in the small dispersed camp just before, or it may be better to find a pull-off on Crystal Creek Rd. (County or FSR 713). Ride up the road for 8 or 9 miles until you reach the intersection with S. Dyer Trail (#714). The first part of this climb is long, but well graded. Once you top out on the mesa the riding is much easier and more pleasant.
Follow S. Dyer Trail (#714) into the meadow. Chances are you’ll lose the trail through this meadow at at least one point, but follow the creek and the trail will show itself as you work your way into the woods. Once you’ve found the trail lower down it’s hard to miss it. Obviously this was some kind of road at one point so the cut is very apparent even if it’s covered in aspens or grass. At the bottom you’ll find yourself in a beautiful campsite with some mining relics scattered about. Finding Dyer Creek Trail (#888) in this field is your next challenge. It shouldn’t be too hard since you’re headed downhill anyway.
A creek crossing followed by a short climb should signify that you’re nearing the end of your ride. Intersect Crystal Creek Rd. again and find your car for well-deserved beverage.
You tell us. Backpacking?
All we know is that you’re better off cleaning up your spurs while you’re out. Consider car camping somewhere along Crystal Creek Rd. and knocking out as much of the Dyer Creek/Mendicant Ridge trail system as you can in one sufferfest weekend. Good luck figuring out the stuff to the north. It may be easier, it may be harder, but you’ll have to let us know how it goes.