Location: Crested Butte, Colorado, United States
Trail Type: Singletrack
Take Brush Creek Road (738) east from Colorado Highway 135. Brush Creek Road is a couple miles south of Crested Butte. Around four miles out the road will start climbing out of the valley floor. Just up the hill will be an intersection with West Brush Creek Road (738.2A). You can park at the intersection, but there isn't a lot of room there so I suggest continuing to the right for less than a quarter mile to an informal parking area. Of course, locals are expected to ride out from town.
Ride here if you want to combine mountain bike adventure with fantastic views. This loop is not for those looking for sweet single-track. It combines a double track ride up the valley with a lung bursting ascent at the top and then a steep and sometimes treacherous descent down the ridge back to the starting point. Count on spending two to three hours to cover the 11 miles of the described loop. The trail is well marked and easy to follow.
The ride up the West Brush Creek Valley is gorgeous, with stunning wildflowers toward the top. After about two miles the road crosses to the east side of the creek. If you want to keep your feet dry, ride another fifty yards past the creek crossing and you will find a log bridge in the trees. As you get toward the end of the road the pitch gets steeper and your heart pumps harder. When the road ends take a right on the Teocalli Mountain Trail (554). This trail is all rideable, if you have legs of steel. Otherwise, if you are an average rider like me you may decide to save your legs and push portions of it. I won't tell anybody if you decide to walk.
At the crest of the trail is the intersection for the Teocalli Ridge Trail (557) which goes to the right. It appears to go downhill, but don't get your hopes up yet. You still have another steep climb before you get to the top of the ridge. You will know when you are at the top. To the left (east) you will have a fantastic view of the Middle Brush Creek Valley, with Pearl Mountain at the end. A bit further down you get a view to the west that frames Mount Crested Butte. Continue riding downhill past the trail coming in from the left. The trail will get steeper and gnarlier as you go, with roots, ruts, and a couple belly-on-the-seat steep sections. Save yourself from pain and rehab by being alert and cautious while going down this portion of the trail. At the end of the ridge you will break out into an open steep grassy slope with a couple fast traverses. The trail then joins the Brush Creek Road. You will have dropped about a thousand vertical feet in the last mile.
If that was enough excitement for you can then ride the road west to the parking area to close the loop. However, most people who enjoy this kind of ride probably won't be satisfied after eleven miles, so I suggest continuing south across Brush Creek to hook up with the north end of the Farris Creek Trail (409). Soon after rejoining the road you should see single-track going down to the creek. Cross the creek and continue your adventure. You can add another easy four miles by staying low, cruising down the Canal Trail (408), and then riding back up the Brush Creek Road to where you parked. If you are a jock then you probably have the energy to go explore the trails around Strand Hill, or continue on 409 down to Cement Creek.
Submitted by: bonkedagain
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