SoCal to Crested Butte, where else to go?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    SoCal to Crested Butte, where else to go?

    Hey everyone, I'm taking my first mtb trip to Colorado in early July. I have two weeks off work and will be driving from Southern California. Crested Butte is my main destination; mostly because it looks like they're a ton of trails and the scenery is gorgeous. Two weeks minus driving time seems like a fair amount time but there are so many places in CO and on the way that look good.

    What are some of your must visit/ride areas for ones first visit to CO or is there somewhere on my route that I should stop? Fruita, Phil's World, Aspen, Durango, and/or Breckenridge worth adding to the itinerary?

    I am tentatively excluding St George and Moab as I'm thinking I can make those their own dedicated trip at some point. I am however considering adding Park City.

  2. #2
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    Your options are limitless and there is no "best way" out there because they are all great options. Crested Butte is out there on it's own, other than Hartman Rocks in Gunnison which I'd definitely ride one day, probably on your way out of CB or on a bad weather day in CB. Barring something crazy odd, you're going to get monsoon rain in July.

    I would probably go over to Salida and ride the Monarch Crest before heading North into the Aspen area. It doesn't make a lot of sense but once I get that far East, I won't miss riding Buffalo Creek. That being said, I hear good things about the riding in Breckenridge. You could also head West and hit Fruita before moving on to Park City (which is way out of the way). Personally, I'd go South from Fruita and ride the Whole Uncolada outside Montrose, maybe ride the RAT trails in Ridgway (not too exciting but worth doing once) and then move down into Durango before riding Phil's World on your way back Westward.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2rider1964 View Post
    Your options are limitless and there is no "best way" out there because they are all great options. Crested Butte is out there on it's own, other than Hartman Rocks in Gunnison which I'd definitely ride one day, probably on your way out of CB or on a bad weather day in CB. Barring something crazy odd, you're going to get monsoon rain in July....
    You're totally right about Park City being way out of the way. I just looked at a map, I forget how far north SLC is located.

    Is it common for the monsoons to make to unrideable for several days in a row? Speaking of moisture reminds me of ticks, are these a problem in the spring?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by kdiff View Post
    You're totally right about Park City being way out of the way. I just looked at a map, I forget how far north SLC is located.

    Is it common for the monsoons to make to unrideable for several days in a row? Speaking of moisture reminds me of ticks, are these a problem in the spring?
    I'll let the locals comment about ticks but I've never encountered one in Colorado myself. When we go to Durango in July, you can pretty much count on it storming for 45-60 minutes every day in the early afternoon. It doesn't rain very much and it's over quickly. There's usually thunder and lightning involved so being from SoCal, it's actually pretty cool. I ride in the mornings and it never effects my rides.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kdiff View Post
    Hey everyone, I'm taking my first mtb trip to Colorado in early July. I have two weeks off work and will be driving from Southern California. Crested Butte is my main destination; mostly because it looks like they're a ton of trails and the scenery is gorgeous. Two weeks minus driving time seems like a fair amount time but there are so many places in CO and on the way that look good.

    What are some of your must visit/ride areas for ones first visit to CO or is there somewhere on my route that I should stop? Fruita, Phil's World, Aspen, Durango, and/or Breckenridge worth adding to the itinerary?

    I am tentatively excluding St George and Moab as I'm thinking I can make those their own dedicated trip at some point. I am however considering adding Park City.
    Early July will be too early for lots of Colorado high country this year. Just yesterday the Monarch Crest got moar snow. There will be plenty around well into July.

    Also just heard that this year we are supposed to have a bumper crop of ticks. Yes, Colorado has ticks. Way back before anybody ever talked about lyme disease we used to worry about Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Tick transferred).

    Have a nice trip.
    always phoneless

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Ryall View Post
    Early July will be too early for lots of Colorado high country this year. Just yesterday the Monarch Crest got moar snow. There will be plenty around well into July.

    Also just heard that this year we are supposed to have a bumper crop of ticks. Yes, Colorado has ticks. Way back before anybody ever talked about lyme disease we used to worry about Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Tick transferred).

    Have a nice trip.
    Thanks for the input. A fall visit is sounding better.

  7. #7
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    I wouldn't worry too much about coming out here in early July. Sure, one or two trails might still be snowy, but it was just a slightly-above-average snow year in Colorado so it's not all that different than most years. For instance in Crested Butte, you might not be able to ride 401, but most everything else will be just fine by then. There's also a good chance the Monarch Crest will still be snowed in, but honestly I wouldn't consider that too much of a loss- there are plenty of other epic rides in CO that are just as good, or better.

    As for other destinations on your way... I'd look at Durango, Breckenridge, and maybe spending a day or two around Salida. Depending on the weather, you might be able to hit Fruita/GJ for a day assuming it's a cool, cloudy day and not 90+ and sunny. Lots of good riding in the Vail Valley too, which includes Eagle, Vail, Minturn and Avon/Edwards.

    As K2rider mentioned, Hartman Rocks in Gunnison is worth a day while you're in Crested Butte... just save it for a rainy day and you'll be fine. And no, it's not common for trails to be unrideable for several days in a row. We get pretty regular afternoon thunderstorms, but even then most trails are OK to ride an hour or two later.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by smmokan View Post
    I wouldn't worry too much about coming out here in early July. Sure, one or two trails might still be snowy, but it was just a slightly-above-average snow year in Colorado so it's not all that different than most years. For instance in Crested Butte, you might not be able to ride 401, but most everything else will be just fine by then. There's also a good chance the Monarch Crest will still be snowed in, but honestly I wouldn't consider that too much of a loss- there are plenty of other epic rides in CO that are just as good, or better.

    As for other destinations on your way... I'd look at Durango, Breckenridge, and maybe spending a day or two around Salida. Depending on the weather, you might be able to hit Fruita/GJ for a day assuming it's a cool, cloudy day and not 90+ and sunny. Lots of good riding in the Vail Valley too, which includes Eagle, Vail, Minturn and Avon/Edwards.

    As K2rider mentioned, Hartman Rocks in Gunnison is worth a day while you're in Crested Butte... just save it for a rainy day and you'll be fine. And no, it's not common for trails to be unrideable for several days in a row. We get pretty regular afternoon thunderstorms, but even then most trails are OK to ride an hour or two later.
    That sounds good, thank you for the input.

  9. #9
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    Regarding monsoon rains-the average start date is around July 10th or so. First week of July is an excellent time to bike as most of the snow is melted out and you still have a decent chance for stable weather. Even if some of the high country rides have snow you can either opt for a hike a bike across the snow or find other great rides that are at lower elevation.

    All of the suggestions you have received are great. On suggestion for a stopover ride is Penitente Canyon in the Del Norte area. It has some really fun trials in a unique setting.

    UNT

  10. #10
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    Pretty much what everyone has said, but I'll add to it. While there will be tons of riding that's good to go, one of the unique things about riding in CO is the above treeline singletrack, stuff like Monarch Crest, Wheeler in Breck, and a bunch of other trails, that's unlike anything else in the US. So yeah, you will for sure have a good time in early July, but if you can go later, you can get some of those rides in.
    Durango, CB, and Breck have more than enough to keep you entertained for that amount of time, and all are equally worthy of a few days, plus maybe a day on Monarch Crest. Fruita would be worth it for a quick ride early AM if you happen to be driving by, otherwise it's way too hot that time of year.
    Get on the trails early. Take a rain jacket, even if you don't see a single cloud in the sky. And get way below treeline once the clouds start building.

  11. #11
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    I'll second Salida and Hartman rocks. Both not far from CB.

  12. #12
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    Thank you all for the input. I was planning a trip somewhere else in September but now based on the feedback I'm thinking that Crested Butte in Sept will give me the most options. There's more than enough to keep me busy in early July but given that this is my first trip to CB I want to try some of the trails that are uniquely CO. (I'm really excited to visit/ride!)

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