July 22, 2012
Yes, skip the shuttle, but if you are low level flat lander as I am, you may want to consider saving you engergy for the climb the starts just as you cross the creek. While this may be ridable at times, we took our shoes off and walked through the very cold creek. If you skip the shuttle as some have recommended, it is mostly a 3% climb for just over 8 miles. As soon as you make a hard right, pass over a cattle gard, look for a hard right turn down, to a small parking area. The trail will be a fire road just on the other side of the creek. There will most likely be fly fishermen parked in that area. I am a sea level flat lander so we shuttled. For excellent local trail info, talk to the fly fishing guy at Almont Resort, i think his name is Mark. About the Almont Resort, they have cabins, bar/lounge, and a good restuarant. Highly recommend Almont Resort if you plan to ride Crested Butte area trails such as Doctors Park and Trail 401.
About the trail, after you cross the creek, there is a the 2+ mile 6%+ climb on fire road and then you pass through the Aspen. This can be very muddy and it was in mid-July becuase of late day thunderstorms. About the thunderstorms, they come fast and the temps drop 25 to 35 degrees, be prepared if riding late in the day. After you pass through the muddy high section, there is a very rocky/tight switchback section that starts the downhill. If you are not use to cliffs, rocks and switchbacks, this can be very unsettling. Be carefull. Then starts the sinlge track down hill, good times. The trail is very deeply dished so stay on the tail, you wil pic up a lot of speed. The last half mile, steep drop to the finish is also very rocky and lots of switchbacks, be careful as you wil be tired. If are on out of town rider, traveling to epic trails as I did, this rail is a must ride but the two rocky sections can ruin your day.