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  1. #1
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    3 solid days in Crested Butte - advice sought

    I am heading out west to CB to do some riding but will be with my wife (beginner/intermediate rider) and my Dad (67 but decent shape but beginnerish on MTB). I want to do 401 with them. Good idea or bad idea? How much tech is there?
    Are there other trails that you could recommend that score high on the scenery and less on the tech factor?
    Maybe you could suggest a good, technical, trail in case I get some time by myself for a ride too.
    Thanks,
    FR
    "It's NEVER all downhill" DMR

  2. #2
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    I have a few suggestions for you, having ridden in CB dozens of times:

    - 401. The climb from the top of Schofield Pass is steep and there's not much air at 11k feet, but it's well worth it even if you have to push your bike. The climb is only a mile or so, and it's all downhill from there. Not much technical riding on 401 at all. I usually park at the TH near Rustler's Gulch and climb the dirt road from there. It's even better if you have someone drop you off on the top of the pass so you can ride all the way back into town.

    - Upper, Upper Upper, and Strand Hill. Start up on the mountain (take the free shuttle or ride the bike path if you're in town) and ride the Upper Trail, then on to either Upper Upper or Whetstone (these have some technical spots, but aren't bad). These will both drop you down to Brush Creek Road. From there, head left on the dirt road for a couple of miles and hit Strand Hill. It's a decent climb for a couple of miles, but well worth it. The views are stunning and the downhill is some of the fastest, smoothest singletrack around. One of my favorites for sure.

    - Doctors Park. Near Almont, this is best ridden (IMO for a beginning rider at least) with someone dropping you off at the top of the dirt road. Otherwise, it's about eight miles of a steady grunt climb that seems to last forever. Once you cross the creek, the road gets steeper but is rideable. The views from the top are amazing, and the downhill is probably one of the best in Colorado. Well worth the short drive from town.

    For shorter rides, you can always link up the trails on the mountain (lots of fun ones) with Snodgrass, Lupine, and the Lower trail system. Honestly, you can't go wrong in Crested Butte.

  3. #3
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    401 should be fine, just take your time on it since the uphill can be stiff for lowlanders and beginners. Not much tech stuff, just be careful of some of the gully crossings as some of them can be a little funky.

    Reno/Flag/Bear/Deadman's is a really quality ride and has some nice scenery when you get to the top of reno road. Doctor's park as well, great downhill, but a few tech spots near the bottom...you shouldnt need to shuttle either of these.

    Dyke trail has some nice scenery and isn't too bad tech wise either.

    409.5 has really nice views near the top and isn't ridden by the masses.

    If you want something more techy 403 has a ripping downhill that is steep and techy in spots.

  4. #4
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    Ditto on 401 trail to rustlers gulch. Riding past rustlers is uneventful and will just make your family tired. Once they do the 401 trai, if they have any type pf appreciation of nature, you will have made their trip. Here's a couple of my ride reports for crested butte. Let me know if you have any questions

    Crested Butte, CO
    www.24hrBikeShop.com 10% of your purchase price is donated to the trail organization of your choice!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeppman View Post
    I will also be heading to that area in July. Is it not smart to ride the 401 alone? Meaning on a weekend, if something were to happen what would the chances of another biker passing by be?
    100% chance of not being alone.

  6. #6
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    I will also be heading to that area in July. Is it not smart to ride the 401 alone? Meaning on a weekend, if something were to happen what would the chances of another biker passing by be?

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    Awesome, thanks.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeppman View Post
    I will also be heading to that area in July. Is it not smart to ride the 401 alone? Meaning on a weekend, if something were to happen what would the chances of another biker passing by be?
    I usually avoid 401 in July on weekends since there are so many people that ride it. The parking areas near rustlers are usually full with cars parked down the road. If you're staying up on the mountain, instead of driving up, the extra miles are really easy spinning up from mt. CB. If you'd like some company on any of your rides i'd be more than happy to ride with you.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the tips - Much appreciated!
    If any of you gets out East (Boston) with a bike, hit me up and I will show you around some pretty fun, tech trails.
    FR
    "It's NEVER all downhill" DMR

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BDKeg View Post
    I usually avoid 401 in July on weekends since there are so many people that ride it. The parking areas near rustlers are usually full with cars parked down the road. If you're staying up on the mountain, instead of driving up, the extra miles are really easy spinning up from mt. CB. If you'd like some company on any of your rides i'd be more than happy to ride with you.
    The right way to do it is from town, up Slate, 403, climb to Schofield, 401, Snodgrass, back to town.


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeppman View Post
    I'll extend the same offer if anyone is in the Chicago area.
    What offer is that? Show us where the good pizza is?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    The right way to do it is from town, up Slate, 403, climb to Schofield, 401, Snodgrass, back to town.


    I live on the mountain, but last weekend I hit snod, wash gulch, 403 then 401. 403 is still a few weeks away, lots of snow/mud and walk a bike. Really nice combo ride if you don't mind all the road miles.

  13. #13
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    I'll extend the same offer if anyone is in the Chicago area.

  14. #14
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    Haha.. pizza, beer and believe it or not, there are some decent trails within 1 hr of chicago... yes, its a 1 hr drive and there's barely any elevation change, but they are fun, somewhat technical and flowy. Its the best I can offer And then amazing pizza and beer after.

    I wish I had the trails you guys did.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by far raider View Post
    I am heading out west to CB to do some riding but will be with my wife (beginner/intermediate rider) and my Dad (67 but decent shape but beginnerish on MTB). I want to do 401 with them. Good idea or bad idea? How much tech is there?
    Are there other trails that you could recommend that score high on the scenery and less on the tech factor?
    Maybe you could suggest a good, technical, trail in case I get some time by myself for a ride too.
    Thanks,
    FR
    You could start your GF and dad on something close to town. Lupine to Lupine 2.0 up Slate River road over to the lower loop is a great way to break them in.


    Quote Originally Posted by zeppman View Post
    I will also be heading to that area in July. Is it not smart to ride the 401 alone? Meaning on a weekend, if something were to happen what would the chances of another biker passing by be?
    What SS said...
    401 alone, yea probably not. As in there is always someone riding 401...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeppman View Post
    Haha.. pizza, beer and believe it or not, there are some decent trails within 1 hr of chicago... yes, its a 1 hr drive and there's barely any elevation change, but they are fun, somewhat technical and flowy. Its the best I can offer And then amazing pizza and beer after.

    I wish I had the trails you guys did.
    Yeah... just show us the pizza and beer. We won't bother with the trails.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeppman View Post
    Haha.. pizza, beer and believe it or not, there are some decent trails within 1 hr of chicago... yes, its a 1 hr drive and there's barely any elevation change, but they are fun, somewhat technical and flowy. Its the best I can offer And then amazing pizza and beer after.

    I wish I had the trails you guys did.
    Actually Palos is quite fun and then for a giant pump track there is always Saw Wee Kee. Not a lot like that around here (Front Range). Sometimes I miss it (but only a very little )

    Anyway I'd really like to head out to Crested Butte later this summer. My issue is that I have a decidedly non athletic wife. Any tips on keeping a family entertained (I also have a 6 and 9 year old - though they bike a swell) when I am off biking?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by kerryn View Post

    Anyway I'd really like to head out to Crested Butte later this summer. My issue is that I have a decidedly non athletic wife. Any tips on keeping a family entertained (I also have a 6 and 9 year old - though they bike a swell) when I am off biking?
    There's a lot more going on at the base area than there used to be- bungee trampoline, climbing wall, mini golf, zipline tours, frisbee golf, plus riding the lifts and either riding or hiking. Also a children's museum with lots of activities. I think a family could easily spend a day just walking around town and checking things out there. I'm biased, but it's a pretty cool town. So that's 2-3 days, after that I'd have to dig a lot deeper.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeppman View Post
    And then amazing pizza and beer after.
    Just to stir the pot, but THIN crust and microbrews are the way to go!!!
    FR
    "It's NEVER all downhill" DMR

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ilovemtnbiking View Post
    Ditto on 401 trail to rustlers gulch. Riding past rustlers is uneventful and will just make your family tired. Once they do the 401 trai, if they have any type pf appreciation of nature, you will have made their trip. Here's a couple of my ride reports for crested butte. Let me know if you have any questions

    Crested Butte, CO
    Are you really riding 401 if you only ride half the trail? Ride the whole thing, the lower half is really fun and in much better shape than the upper half. Pretty lame that so many people bail at Rustles.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnirider View Post
    Are you really riding 401 if you only ride half the trail? Ride the whole thing, the lower half is really fun and in much better shape than the upper half. Pretty lame that so many people bail at Rustles.
    +1 Lower 401 is nice, a few techy spots and some nice downhill at the end, although i wish they had a singletrack all the way down to the road instead of the road near judd falls trail junction.

    To make a case for people out of town, a lot of them are super tired after upper 401 so i could see it easily being skipped. It is pretty lame to drive up past the judd falls parking area though.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnirider View Post
    Are you really riding 401 if you only ride half the trail? Ride the whole thing, the lower half is really fun and in much better shape than the upper half. Pretty lame that so many people bail at Rustles.
    +2.

    Hell - I don't even *remember* the junction at Rustler's... granted it has been a number of years.

  23. #23
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    Crested Butte riding

    I live in CB and can give you some advice.

    For beginners, think about altitude as well as technical ability. If they are not used to riding at 11,000 ft be prepared to take it slow on 401. This is not a technical ride, however the uphill is in high altitude. If you park at Judd Falls you will climb 7 1/2 miles on dirt/rock road followed by 1 1/4 miles single track. Downhill is dusty at the moment, but not technical. Expect a beginner to fall at least once or twice

    Doctor's - great ride but I would not take a beginner on it, especially if not shuttling. The downhill is 3 parts, first is very rocky, 2nd is a luge 3rd is rocky with tight switchbacks and high consequence falls. Can be very overwhelming for a new rider as they will walk a lot.

    If you would like a test ride, think about Lower Loop to start - it's our beginner trail. Will have some easy rocks, short climbs and there are a number of off shoot trails that have been built so you can ride for a while. No drops, no consequence.

    Check out the new Lupine Trail which you can also connect to Lower Loop. If they are up for it, you can ride Snodgrass - great for beginners - come down Washington Gulch road, then you can connect with Lupine to Lower Loop to Budd Trail. You can now connect about 30 miles of easy trails around town and with such close proximity if anyone wants to cut out early, they will have the option. (Also, on east side of town, upper, upper upper, Whetstone etc but these are rockier than the trails on the west side of town. They are short though, so even if you have people walking they will have fun.)

    I would take them on Snodgrass the first day to test their ability, then try 401. You may also want to check out Strand Hill - which will test a beginner but won't make them hate riding..

    Reno Flag Bear has about 6 inches of dust at the moment. Fun, but with 3 big climbs and dust a beginner may again be overwhelmed.

  24. #24
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    I'll echo the sentiments about elevation. 401 and all of CB is much higher then most of us are used to. I'm not expert on the area, but despite the altitude, there is a lot of really, really awesome riding that isn't very technical at all - 401 being one of them. Coming from 4k feet and toting around a 34lb Nomad was tough for me.

    Maybe locals feel like it's a trail that's over hyped, but 401 is pretty amazing. Awesome alpine riding. Oh, and the second part is fun, but there is a decent amount of additional climbing on it.



    Complete trip report and photo dump here: Cool Temps and Thin Air | Singletrack Hack

  25. #25
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    Great pics Jwind! I can't wait to get there!!
    WWXD.
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    She'd clean the whole section,you know that!

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