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  1. #1
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    The dreaded CB vacation question...

    I swear I read the sticky, and searched, but I still have the feeling i'll be standing in the parking lot at the bike shop (renting from Alpineer) going "what now?"

    We will only be in CB 2 days, staying at the Elevation hotel. I know I want to ride 401 the first day (big shock, no?) and I think I want to do something a little easier the 2nd. (on the theory that our blood won't thicken up 'til the 2nd day...we are sleeping the first night in Salida.) Was thinking Lupine + whatever can be connected.

    So...does anyone want to take pity on me and give me turn by turn directions for those two? July 4th and 5th.

    And if not...can you recommend a link w/ written directions or a map w/ names on it? and elevations? All the links i've found so far describe the trail, but don't really give enough info for an out-of-towner to follow. Or will I have to wait and buy a map when I get there? Husband and I are both a little type A and would really like to have a Plan In Place. ;-)

    We live at 1000, ride in Pisgah from 3000-5000, like to climb and usually do around 20-25 miles on a ride, HOWEVER, the husband has had some issues at 10k in the past and does not know how to dial it back, so I'd like to limit his death-by-altitude chances as much as possible.

    And finally...i've been looking at restaurants. Is Soupcon worth the $$$$$$$$$$$$ ?

    Thanks so much, and I'd be glad to return the favor re: Pisgah.

  2. #2
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    I would recommended getting a map since they are pretty cheap, the number of trails in the area can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. If you ride 401, you can either ride right from your hotel at the elevation up gothic road, this is 20+ miles, otherwise if you park up at the Judd falls parking area it will be around 14 miles (there are lots of signs to the Judd falls parking).

    MTB Project | Mountain Bike Trails and Maps --this site has a great deal of trails and gives a nice visual of trails in the area with google maps.

    The 2nd day lupine is a great easy ride that combines nicely with lower/upper lower or budd trail. If you want to make it a longer ride, ride snodgrass first, then lupine, then lower and end in town for a beer (17ish miles or so total). If you're feeling tired then you can just grab the bus back up the mountain to the hotel (runs every 20 min and has bike racks).

    Soupcon has excellent food, but definitely on the pricey side. Another higher end restaurant to look at is django's.

    If you go to 9380 (the bar/restaurant at the elevation) say hi to my wife Kristi, she'll probably be working the bar. hopefully this helps, enjoy your stay!

  3. #3
    Get to dah choppah
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    Strand Hill is short and easy to get to. Dear Creek or Dear Creek / Snodgrass are longer but not difficult.

    These basic maps should actually be adequate, though i'd buy one in town if i were you.

    Crested Butte Trail Report | Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association - Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association

    I go to Donitas after a big ride...
    Santa Cruz TBc
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  4. #4
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    Both the linked maps are great resources for you to study up on the rides and routes.
    All I have to add is when you ride 401 get an early start (before 10:00am) the road gets moderate to high vehicle traffic and if it has not rained it will be dusty.
    It is a gentle road (good for rubber necking all the beautiful scenery) for the first 3-4 miles but the final push on the road and first mile of singletrack are steep.
    Start early take your time on the climbs and if the weather is nice enjoy some time in the upper meadow before you descend.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by icsloppl View Post
    Strand Hill is short and easy to get to. Dear Creek or Dear Creek / Snodgrass are longer but not difficult.
    strand is very good, farris is another alternative that is a bit more technical and interesting, same with 402.

    Deer Creek is no bueno, no self respecting local will ever recommend Deer Creek as a "good" ride, unless you like a trail that feels like it's uphill almost the whole ride. Deer Creek is the most overrated and probably one of the worst rides in the valley.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BDKeg View Post
    strand is very good, farris is another alternative that is a bit more technical and interesting, same with 402.

    Deer Creek is no bueno, no self respecting local will ever recommend Deer Creek as a "good" ride, unless you like a trail that feels like it's uphill almost the whole ride. Deer Creek is the most overrated and probably one of the worst rides in the valley.
    Got to agree. Deer Creek is the best way to cross over from the Brush Creek area to Gothic road and many races in the area use this route for one single reason - it makes grown men cry. If you like pain that just won't end, do Deer Creek; if you are training for a big ride, do Deer Creek. If you only have a few days to do the best rides in the valley, avoid it like the plague.

    Here's a list of some amazing rides you can hit up from Elevation (I work there; feel free to hit me up. Be more than happy to show you the goods!)

    -Upper to Upper Upper to Strand
    - Upper to Upper Upper/Whetstone to Farris to Strand (you can do both Farris and Strand without retracing your steps. Makes for an amazing 25+ mile ride)
    - Snod to 403 to 401 to lower 401 (if you are going to do 401, do it the right way!)
    - Green Lake!!!!!!
    - Reno/Flag/Bear/Deadman's
    - Doctor's Park

    The CBMR trails are actually really amazing and well maintained. West Side is my personal favorite. You can ride the lifts (free on Friday/Wednesday nights) or can ride up a variety of ways for little more than a few hundred calories and 30 minutes of effort.

    Check out Frank's blog here: Crested Butte Mountain Bike Guide ? 14erskiers.com

    He's my personal god of mountain biking and has ridden just about everything in the valley. You should check it out.

    And like Frank says. There are many, many more that I can't tell you about; I'd have to show you...

    In other words, make friends with a local and go where they tell you.

    And don't do deer creek. Please. You'll be happy you didn't.

  7. #7
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    The Dyke trail is pretty nice, too.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowgypsy View Post

    Check out Frank's blog here: Crested Butte Mountain Bike Guide ? 14erskiers.com

    He's my personal god of mountain biking and has ridden just about everything in the valley. You should check it out.
    Jeez, talk about trying to give me a big head. Luckily this town is full of people much faster than me, and I know I'd lose a game of "name that trail" with people like Don Cook or Rob and Holly. But thanks anyway.

    For those of you who aren't familiar with this area, like the OP, may I ask how clear (or unclear) my online guide is? For me, with a map and the directions with all the roads and trails named, it couldn't be any clearer. but my perspective is completely skewed because I know the area so well after all these years.

    I really didn't want to add maps, because I think that leaving a sense of exploration is important, and ultimately feels more rewarding. Although I have a map in the intro paragraphs, though it isn't perfect. But if the entire list is nearly useless to newcomers, I might have to add a few google maps at least.

    I would love some feedback...
    Last edited by cbmtbr; 06-23-2013 at 02:29 PM.

  9. #9
    I have Flat Pedal shame.
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    Make sure you do Lower Loop; easy ride, jaw dropping views.
    I don't care what you ride or how you ride just as long as you ride.

  10. #10
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    Thanks everyone for the replies to what must surely be a tedious question.

    cbmtbr: I have already looked at your site several times, it's fantastic and very helpful as far as helping me decide which trails I'd like to do. If I were looking at a map, it might be pretty clear, but the one you linked to has numbers rather than names, so it's hard to translate the named trails. Your "route" paragraph is also helpful, but doesn't say right vs. left at the turns.

    As for your exploration comment...I agree entirely when thinking about my own weekend trails. But on vacation when I only have 2 days, a rental car that I may or may not be able to get bikes in, a rented bike that might assplode any minute, and bodies 10,000 feet higher than normal that might also break down....i have a strong urge for very specific directions ;-) I doubt I speak for the average tourist, though, most of my friends park it for a week or more when they do mtb vacations.

    Hope that sounded like the feedback you asked for and not complaining! I greatly appreciate your site.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbmtbr View Post
    Jeez, talk about trying to give me a big head. Luckily this town is full of people much faster than me, and I know I'd lose a game of "name that trail" with people like Don Cook or Rob and Holly. But thanks anyway.
    Not trying to give ya a big head, loves. Just very inspired by your riding and your sense of adventure. Hopefully, the next time you and Adam head out, I'll be confident in my ability to keep up and will learn a few things from you both.

    I also love your guide, but it does require some work. I get my ideas from it and then research the trail to find out exactly where it is, what it's like, and all those details. It's a good starting point, and after living here for a while, it makes perfect sense. But I can see how it would seem confusing to someone who isn't as familiar with the area.

    To the OP, I hope that you find a few trails that spark your interest. It really all depends upon your riding and what you want to find. If you say, "technical roots and steep, lung busting climbs" or "long, fast, and flowy" or "great views" or "rocky and challenging" etc., we can give you more details and trails more specific to what you want to ride and what you will actually enjoy.

    I really love Green Lake, Farris, Strand, and everything near Cement Creek. If I'm feeling completely out of my mind, I almost kind of like the pain of Deer Creek - don't ask me why. And I really am not a big fan of 401, though it is a classic and you should definitely ride it, just do 403 first so you get some killer down hill in before the epic sh*t show on Gothic.

    If you ride lower, do upper lower, check out GB loop, then hit up Bud's trail for a more spicy adventure.

  12. #12
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    ^^ thanks, both of you. I think I will add some more directions and I spent some time on google maps and it's pretty easy so I'll start adding that to some of the routes as well. Might keep the ones that are off the beaten track as is, they're all adventures anyway.

  13. #13
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    The dreaded CB vacation question...

    Went to CB the first time last August
    , from Ohio. The 14er skier blog, holly's book got used quite a bit. Both are very helpful and made our trip much more enjoyable.

  14. #14
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    You could ride the bike path or ride the bus up to Mt. Crested Butte, ride the road up to Snodgrass, then Link Snodgrass to Lupine to Lower/lower-upper and end up back in town.

    Did that this past weekend, and it was a nice 2hr mellow time.

    On 401 - even if it is ~90deg in town, you still want to pack a jacket. Didn't even think of that, and got caught at 12K in the rain and hail with nothing but spandex.

    Rookie move.

  15. #15
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    Thanks again, thought I'd post a report in case it helps any other visitors.

    We parked at the Snodgrass parking area on Gothic and rode from there to 401 and made the loop back. Gothic is not so much fun to ride, although the views are superb. As mentioned above, LOTS of car traffic, but the thing is...they kick up the very deep, loose dirt which you then get to breathe in along with the low-O2 air. Make sure you don't forget your glasses....and your respirator ;-) That's a 22-23 mile route, and even though we took it very easy at the top, walking some steep places we wouldn't have been caught dead walking at home, it was still the hardest 4 hour ride I ever did...and that included a WHOLE lot of stopping and staring and picture taking. Pedal time a lot less.

    Less epic, but more fun, was rec path from the Elevation, lower, upper lower, budd's trail, lower again, slate creek rd., lupine trail...yes, it appears we should have ridden lupine the other direction! ;-)

    We hadn't planned to ride again on Sat, but were having so much fun we got up early and did Snodgrass out and back. Riding from the hotel was pretty cool. I'm glad I couldn't find a room in the b&b's in town after all.

    Warning to tourists: There is no AC in CB. Go ahead and ask for a box fan. Even with the balcony door open and the ceiling fan on, it was pretty miserable trying to sleep the first night before we figured that out.

    The map they gave us at the Alpineer was great! Also, Secret Stash pizza was incredible. I'm a food snob in my other life, and really wasn't expecting to be impressed. But I was. Ditto Camp4Coffee.

    Thanks again to everybody who gave advice!

    p.s. Although we didn't ride or run in Salida, we did spent one night there and I highly recommend the Palace Hotel. Room was much nicer than at Elevation, better bedding, had A/C, breakfast brought to our room, and was about $70 cheaper.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by forkboy View Post
    On 401 - even if it is ~90deg in town, you still want to pack a jacket. Didn't even think of that, and got caught at 12K in the rain and hail with nothing but spandex.

    Rookie move.
    Isn't that SOP for any riding in CO high country? I always carry a hat, long sleeve shirt, and a rain jacket. But admittedly, I'm a wimp; a rain jacket is probably enough for most.

  17. #17
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    So glad you both had a fantastic time! My dogs love Snodgrass - their favorite trail and my husband's too.

    401 is a good trail, but the ride up gothic is one reason why I don't ride it as much. Not the road itself, but the traffic. One day I'm going to dump a bucket of dust in the driver's seat of a few parked cars at the trailhead with a sign that says: "Thanks to your speeding down Gothic, this is now in my lungs. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Slow down and share the road."

    For future reference, 401 is much more enjoyable after 4 or 5 in the evening when the traffic dies down a bit.

    Hope you'll be back soon to explore a bit more! There's literally hundreds of miles of trail left to discover. And do hit strand on your next trip; best downhill in the valley (besides doctor's park, of course).

    PS: Stash is awesome, Camp4 is legendary. Now I'm hungry and in need of coffee

  18. #18
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    I am heading to CB for a quick weekend trip on Saturday. My wife and friends are doing the Canyon City - CB relay run so at the minimum I will be riding by myself on Saturday barring afternoon storms. If my wife or running friends feel up to it they may head out with me for a Sunday morning ride.

    My question is as I will be solo, are there any trails I should avoid or any that are better than others? I am an intermediate to expert XC rider but have never been to CB. I live at 6000' so I have will have the typical altitude adjustment.

    Thanks

  19. #19
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    SunnyinCO
    The only trail that I would avoid would be 401 unless you plan on heading up really, really early on Sunday. The weekend traffic on Gothic road leading up to the trail is intense and despite the rain, it's still very, very dusty. Bring a mask if you do it. I would also recommend avoiding Deer Creek - just because I don't like it.

    Strand is awesome. A good solo loop is Upper to Whetstone (or upper upper) to Strand and back. You can also park at Brush Creek trail head and hit Farris to Strand Bonus to Strand (awesome-r ride!).

    Snodgrass to Lupine to Lower is a good loop as well.

    Have fun!

  20. #20
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    Hey everyone....I found this thread after doing some research for my first trip to CB the last week in September (coming from Ohio). Lots of good info!

    I was planning on bringing my Felt Nine One hardtail and hitting the usuals (401, 403, lower, strand, etc). From most of the videos i've watched, it seems like hardtail would do just fine, correct? I'm more of a XC rider who likes to climb, not much into DH or Enduro type riding.

    Also, are there any late-september gotchas or info I should know about the CB area?

    Thanks!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Latent View Post
    Hey everyone....I found this thread after doing some research for my first trip to CB the last week in September (coming from Ohio). Lots of good info!

    I was planning on bringing my Felt Nine One hardtail and hitting the usuals (401, 403, lower, strand, etc). From most of the videos i've watched, it seems like hardtail would do just fine, correct? I'm more of a XC rider who likes to climb, not much into DH or Enduro type riding.

    Also, are there any late-september gotchas or info I should know about the CB area?

    Thanks!
    If you ride roots & rocks at home nothing in CB will beat you up too bad on a HT. Late September gotcha's = weather could be amazing or could be rain/snow mix and lower trails/roads may have cattle moving on them (that's the time of year they are brought down from the high country grazing areas) or cowpies left behind them.

  22. #22
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    There are some trails that are a bit more fun on a FS, but all the trails are still a blasty blast on a hard tail. With the exception of a few moves on 403 (that trail is my white horse), there's nothing too extreme.

    And as a note, it's extreme for me...maybe not for others, but I'm working on it

    A few gotchas for September:

    1. Weather. Keep an eye out and be prepared for anything.
    2. The aspens can be amazing. If you can, ride Dyke trail. You won't regret it. Highly recommend parking at the Y.
    3. Snodgrass is closed; if you ride 403, shuttle at least part way up Washington Gulch. Snodgrass connects gothic road to Washington Gulch, cutting out a lot of concrete road miles with fun single track. Now that snoddy is closed, the road climb is even less fun. There's no other way to say it; that road climb...I'm a decent rider with damn good legs and I was pumping hard for a good hour. I never thought I'd say that cleaning a road was an accomplishment, but damn. That was intense. You might just like it though.
    4. If you ride 403, watch out for ruts at the top. Seriously. You'll see what I mean. And don't just let it fly unless you are a mountain bike god. Seriously. You'll see what I mean.
    5. Watch out for cows.
    6. Check out the cement creek area by CB south if you have time. Some amazing, amazing trails back there that lay relatively untouched. So amazing.
    7. If you ride Strand, loop Upper and Upper Upper in there. Upper Upper is going to be re-routed so it may be your last chance to ride that trail in its true form. And it is probably the most technical, ride-able uphill in CB. Again, my opinion. Damn that second root!

    Have an epic blast, bring a map, have fun, and don't be afraid to look up a local or two for rides and drinks (pretty much my favorite things in the world).

  23. #23
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    Great info! Good to know about the cattle, I would never have expected that. I was a little concerned about the weather but hopefully Mother Nature cooperates. I was a bit surprised to see the average temp range from 32 to 75 that time of year. That makes ride planning challenging....a jacket and warmers are going to be my friend it seems like.

    Is the last week in sept well past the leaves changing? Not sure how the seasons are out west compared to Ohio. Hopefully things are colorful...that should keep the wife happy

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Latent View Post

    Is the last week in sept well past the leaves changing? Not sure how the seasons are out west compared to Ohio. Hopefully things are colorful...that should keep the wife happy
    The timing of the colors is a big gamble either way. Usually, though, the last week or so in September is usually prime time for it. Where at in Ohio? I'm a Cleveland native. Traveled out west and got happily stuck about 7 years ago

  25. #25
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    Hah! No way!? I'm from Rootstown, just east of Akron. Small world! I'm hoping my wife and I will get stuck also. I'd rather live out west. UT is my favorite but this trip to CO may change that....

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