Prior to my recent trip to Crested Butte I reached out to Eryn Kaiser
, M.Ed, a Gunnison-based mama of two for advice on some great family-friendly trails to ride. She pulled together such a tremendous list, I had to publish her recommendations that are fantastic for every level of rider in your family.
Step 1: Get the CBGTrails app on your phone. It has all the trails mapped and shows you where you are while riding.
Step 2: Get your climbing legs! He he. Everything is a climb in this damn valley.
Step 3: Warm up on Woods Walk/Lower Lower Loop (yes, it is called Lower Lower). Ride from town. If you feel good, ride it as a complete loop and come back on Upper Lower and Budd Trail, both blue/blacks with some fun punchy climbs.
Step 4: Keep warming up on a loop on Mt. Crested Butte: Up and Away to Columbine to Painter Boy and back down the downhill trails (you choose). Remember I told you that you were going to climb. Don’t hate me.
Step 5: Ready for a good one? Like 22 miles? Ride up the Rec Path from town to Mt. Crested Butte. Stay on the road and ride to the Snodgrass trailhead. Ride Snodgrass (oh! fun punchy climbs!) to Washington Gulch Road. Ride the road down and then ride Lupine 1 and Lupine 2. Head to either Lower Lower or Upper Lower to get back to town.
Option: Ride to Lupine 1 from town and skip Snodgrass. Snodgrass is really amazing with views of the entire valley plus tunnels of aspens so I think you’re missing out if you don’t do it but it does make your ride a lot longer!
Step 6: Get tired of riding from town and head to Strand Hill. Fun! Punchy! Climbing! but then you get to ride down. You can also veer right and take the Farris option which is a much easier climb (in my opinion) but the downhill back to Strand is very technical. You can also just do Farris as an out and back.
Step 7: Feeling ambitious? Like, really ambitious? Park at Mt. CB. Ride Upper Loop to Brush Creek Road. Ride the road to Deer Creek. Ride Deer Creek all the way to Gothic. Ride the road back to the connector on Mt. CB. This is definitely an advanced option but if you give yourself all day and take your time, it is worth it. I think on a good day, with stops, it took about 3 hours. On a bad day, it has taken me 5 1/2 hours. The views are worth it. The tacos you eat afterward will also be worth it.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort
Lastly, the downhill park at CB is worth the $8 on Wednesday and Friday nights. You get 3 hours for $8 and your arms will fall off after 2 1/2 hours. Riding those downhill trails will really improve your cornering and technical skills. Even the green trails are super fun and improve your riding.
Lupine, Snodgrass and Strand are very popular this time of year as we wait for the high alpine trails to dry out. Avoid them on weekends or go later in the day on Saturday and Sunday. Be ready for some mud and creek crossings. And always carry a pack with the essentials. Because…duh.
The Slate River is PRIME right now for paddleboarding so you should do that too!!! You can also SUP at Lake Irwin where the views are out of this world amazing.
But so is pretty much everything in the Crested Butte area. Enjoy!
For more of Eryn’s insider tips, don’t miss: