Crested Butte Information
SUMMER IN CRESTED BUTTE
The possibilities for recreation in Crested Butte are endless in summer. Our little mountain town offers festivals, wildflower hikes, peak hikes, fly fishing, climbing, golf... you get the point. Most importantly to us here at Big Al's... and probably to you is the EPIC MOUNTAIN BIKING!!! As we all know Crested Butte is the birthplace of mountain biking (Marin what?... ha ha!) We have miles and miles of beautiful singletrack and jeep road for all abilities, and lift-served riding on the ski area. Besides how much fun the riding is the trails are surrounded by one of the most scenic mountain ranges you can find.
We are way up high in the mountains so the weather can be unpredictable to say the least. Afternoon thunder storms are a norm in Monsoon season which is generally late July and most of August. That being said our summer weather is generally mild and gorgeous. It rarely gets "hot" = above 80. Mornings and evenings are crisp and a long sleeve layer is usually a must. DO NOT RIDE IN THE THREAT OF LIGHTNING! Our rides start at 9000 feet and go up... there's not much between you and that storm that just rolled in. Always carry a rain jacket when riding in the mountains... trust me the time you don't you'll wish you had... rain at 10,000 feet is always COLD!Oh, and please wear your sunscreen the sun is super intense here all year round.
The town of Crested Butte sits at 8,995 feet, and you ride up from here! Allow yourself time to acclimate and take it easy on day one if you are a true flatlander (you know who you are.) Many people have difficulty catching their breath walking a flight of stairs here, so don't feel bad if it happens to you. Drink lots of water, fuel up with good food, get your rest and don't drink too much beer after your ride and you will be just fine.
Crested Butte is surrounded by National Forest so camping opportunities abound. There are many dirt roads that go out various drainages in the area all of which have several designated camp sites. Unfortunately there is not one perfect spot to camp for the convenience of riding from camp. Gothic Road is a good spot for riding Trail 401, and Brush Creek is good for Strand, Ferris, and a few others. We recommend Slate River road for being close to town. In a nutshell, there's good camping... it's everywhere... but you may have to do some driving to get around.
There are all kinds of Lodging options in Crested Butte and Gunnison. I think the Gunnison Crested Butte Tourism Association is a great resource for lodging options, www.gunnisoncrestedbutte.com.
We have trails for all abilities here in Crested Butte. There are fewer beginner options than intermediate/advanced options but every rider will still have plenty of riding to do.
The ski area, Crested Butte Mountain Resort, offers great lift-served riding for both XC style and serious Down Hill/Free-ride style riding.
Some of the Favorites...
I'd have to say this is the must do ride in CB especially if you've never done it before.
The ride is a 14.4 mile loop (2-3 hours) from the Copper Creek Trailhead, or a 33.4 mile loop (3.5- 6 hours) from town.
This trail requires high aerobic effort and is rated in difficulty and technical difficulty as Advanced Intermediate.
The elevation gain on this ride from the Copper Creek Trailhead is 2,180, it tops out at 11,350.
In big snow years this trail will not be open as a loop until July, and we had record snowfall this year, so check with us to see if it's riding or not. You may have to Out and Back it which is doable but bumps it up a few notches on the difficulty scale.
This is a great shorter ride if done from the parking area out Brush Creek road, or there are a few other options for getting there with varying difficulty both technically and aerobically to make it a longer ride. Strand itself is a double track grind of a climb with a descent that will put a grin on your face from ear to ear. It's long, fast and smooth and winds you through beautiful aspen forest.
The ride from town is a 16.3 mile loop (2-3 hours) or about a 6 mile loop (1-2 hours) from the Brush Creek Trailhead.
The aerobic effort is moderate after you get up 1.5 miles of step climbing. The difficulty rating is intermediate.
This is a locals favorite evening ride and is great for that not so epic-ly long day.
Big Al's way to get there: Riding from town climb Tony's Trail to the Upper Loop and on to the Upper Upper Loop (left at the sign into the trees). Unless your feeling super strong and want to do some incredibly challenging climbing take the Whetstone Vista descent to Brush Creek road. At the Road go left - down the hill past the Brush Creek Trailhead past the old ranch house, around the bend until you see Strand Hill climbing up to your right. Ride Strand, at the end you'll hit the road again, go Left. Follow road back to either Whetstone Vista (only if your feeling good) or further down the road you can weave your way thru the Skyland Housing area and get to a short climb back up to the Upper Loop. At the top you will go left and backtrack up the Upper Loop and quickly meet a Left hand fork for Tony's Trail descent. Have Fun! This will be a good 18 mile loop that will take you from 2.5 to 3.5 hours.
The Lower Loop
Day One at 9000 feet? Novice rider in the group? Kids learning to ride? Looking for a fast and fun quikie? This is your ride.
The Lower Loop is Crested Buttes beginner ride, but that doesn't mean its boring. It's great ,buff, fast smooth, singletrack with incredible views.
You can ride right from the shop or from anywhere in town for this one. The trail shoots right off the northern end of town out the Peanut Lake Road. The trail is a Lollipop loop and is well marked along the way.
The Lower Loop is a 9.9 mile loop that will take 1-2 hours. This is an easy intermediate ride and has a low aerobic effort except for a few little spots.