Reno / Flag / Bear / Deadman Loop

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↑ 3,000 ft
↓ 3,400 ft
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4.73 out of 5
About This Trail
added by bonkedagain Gnarly on August 29, 2005
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The route described here is just over twenty miles long and can be ridden in three to four hours, making a nice half day ride. It is well marked, so donÝt worry about getting lost. There are no extreme challenges so any reasonably competent single-track rider should enjoy it. The loop features an easy road ride uphill, feeding into miles of single-track, and finishes with a fast, somewhat steep downhill. You can make it longer by riding from town or adding in other segments that are close by. As with most Crested Butte Trails, avoid this area if it is wet. The trails will appreciate it and your body will appreciate it,.

From the Deadman Gulch trailhead, head up the valley on Cement Creek Road (740). After a few miles you come to the intersection for Italian Creek Road (759). Take a right on 759 and head uphill. Now you start the real climbing. This is a steady uphill that, after a few miles, will crest at the top of the Reno Divide. Look for the obvious sign marking the top of Flag Creek Trail (422), your first downhill. This is a nice, easy ride down a mellow valley for a few miles. Keep in mind that this is a shared use trail, which means motorcycles, which means occasional whoop-dee-doos and ruts that, if you arenÝt paying attention, can send you sailing. Pay attention.

On the right you will see the start of the Bear Creek Trail (415). Remember all that altitude you just gave up on Flag Creek Trail? Well now you get to gain it back. Cross the creek and start pedaling uphill. After a couple miles you will come to a dirt road. Important! If you cross the road and keep going up the (now very steep) trail you will end up on the top of Reno Divide. That is a fine ride, but you will miss out on the best single-track in this loop, the downhill portion of Bear Creek Trail. Go left (south) and follow the road for three quarters of a mile. There you will see a sign for the remainder of Bear Creek Trail. Take a right and cruise down into a wide open meadow. As the valley narrows you will go thru a fence line. Wahoo! This is what you have been waiting for. A fast downhill, winding down the valley, with swoopy rolling turns. Part way down you will realize this is why you coughed up the extra dollars for a full suspension bike with disc brakes. It is over way too soon, but is way fun.

Just before you cheek muscles start to ache from all the grinning you will encounter the Deadman Gulch Trail (420). Guess what. You get to ride uphill again! Take a right and follow the trail to the crest of Reno Ridge. The last quarter mile will get your heart pounding. On the crest you will see the Reno Ridge Trail come in from the right. Think about trying it the next time you come out.

After your heart has quit pounding check your brakes ˝ you are going to need them. The ride back to the trailhead is a series of fairly steep long switchbacks, dropping about 1200 vertical feet in a bit over a mile. By the time you get to the bottom your arms will probably be tired and your brakes will definitely be hot. This is the only section of the ride that may be trying for a neophyte single-track rider, especially if the trail is wet and slick.
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GTechRacer on August 9, 2014
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: Fantastic! Make sure you bring your climbing legs though, there are three tough climbs with the longest being the first one. Yet, it is so worth the effort, the downhills are flowy and you will always be going fast on all of the 3 descents. This is how it went straight up straight down x3. Motorbikes also venture here but it's not an issue if anything it makes the trail more flowy especially during the switchback sections because of the amount of turning radius you get.

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jeremyg998 on July 16, 2013
1 out of 1 readers found this useful
Review: Great trail, a bit chewed up by the cows but Bear Creek has to be one of the best single track downhills I've ridden - it just keeps giving! Three big climbs and three great downhills. Deadman's Gulch is a mixture of torture and ecstasy, 30 switchbacks and lots of brakes

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baber3000 on September 7, 2010
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: great trail until the not take the option unless you want to push your bike up rocky loose single track for hours. not worth taking the option...otherwise a great epic ride!!!

Similar Trail: Doctors Park

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AboveTheRidge on August 15, 2010
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: Rode this trail on Thurs 8/12 when some storms rolled through. Got caught in a hailstorm for about 10 min but it rolled through with enough window to get us out, but the climbs were tough once the rutted trails were wet. This trail is definitely one of the best in the Butte. Definitely add to the "must do" list when in CB.

Similar Trail: 401

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watertightg on August 1, 2010
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: Great trail, ride it more to keep the dirt bike contingent annoyed enough to go somewhere else. The trail is getting hammered by an increase in motorized use and areas are getting trashed. The wetlands at the top of Deamans are getting braided, the whoop de doos are getting prolific and there is an area in the middle of Bears descent that has eroded so much in the last few years that it is pretty much unrideable. If you are in the Taylor/Spring Creek res area you can ride it starting at the bottom of Flag Creek, don't have to do the big drive around and you are 180* out from the masses that start from Deadmans parking area.

Similar Trail: Doctors Park

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kuala_tahan on July 14, 2010
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: Rode 401 the day before this, thought that was the best trail I had ever ridden until I rode this. Got a MAN climb at the beginning if you park in Deadman's TH, up the Reno Divide road. 6 miles, 2,000 feet. No joke. Then you get screaming singletrack down Flag, better than the 401 singletrack I think. Best I had ever ridden. Then, after having zero legs from your big boy climb up the divide, you get to climb up Bear, gradual and long enough that you feel like puking. Remember how I said Flag was the best singletrack I'd ever ridden? That was before I hit Deadman's. 4(ish) miles of stupid fast singletrack through wide open, beautiful meadows, in the trees, just insanity. Like stuff you see in MTB movies. Easily the best singletrack I've ever ridden. And pretty deserted trail cause it's so long, so don't have to worry about running into people for the most part, just open up and let 'er rip. Then, more climbing, when you REALLY have no legs. At all. Feel like passing out. Then, you get the switchbacks down. A shop told me there's 32 switchbacks down, and they wail. Tons of fun, and exhausting. You're so tired that you really have to focus on these, cause they get kinda gnarly and very fast. Totally badass trail, ride it

Similar Trail: 401

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bikecandy on November 8, 2008
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: Even though this trail system attracts motos and can be a bit chewed up and dusty in spots, it is still pretty awesome. We have been lucky to ride it with perfect trail conditions where the dust wasn't a problem, but I could imagine that it could be a bit annoying on a hot, dry summer day. The switchbacks on Deadman's are so fun!!

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bikecandy on September 5, 2008
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: What a great trail! As mentioned, motos do use this trail and it obviously can get dusty and chewed up in spots, etc. but those spots were few during our ride after some rains. The climbs are mostly gradual but tough with a some good short, steep climbs in the middle of the ride. The downhills are well worth the climbing, and the switchbacks on Deadman's are all rideable even for those who suck at them like me. (That's one thing you can thank the motos for I guess). It's got it all - stream crossings, singletrack in the woods, wide, open meadow sections....just a great ride

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Greg Heil on August 24, 2008
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Review: Uber sweet! The downhills can't be beat!

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BobinConifer on May 13, 2007
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: This is a great ride! Perfect distance, great scenery and lots of fun, smooth single track. I've very rarely seen any traffic on it although some campers will find their way up from Spring Creek and be on the trail out in the middle of nowhere right when you don't expect them! I think the downhill back to complete the loop has 39 switchbacks!

Similar Trail: Crystal Peak

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xtrsmith on April 10, 2006
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: dope.

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Reno / Flag / Bear / Deadman Loop MTB Trail 4.73 out of 5 based on 11 ratings. 11 user reviews.
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Trail Features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
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