Location: Crested Butte, Colorado, United States
Trail Type: Singletrack
To ride it from Brush Creek, start from town and ride south on the bike path that parallels highway 135. Turn left on Brush Creek Road (County Road 738) and pass the entrance to the Skyland. Keep riding out Brush Creek Road for about five miles. At this point, youíll cross Brush Creek on a good bridge and start climbing on the road. Youíre passing through private ranchland here, so keep to the road. The road continues to climb and becomes rougher. At the "Y", stay left and begin climbing more steeply on West Brush Creek Road. The right takes you up East Brush Creek and Pearl Pass. The climb gets a little tougher at this point, then levels out before coming to another split in the road. Take another left onto Deer Creek Road. Right takes you further up West Brush Creek toward the Teocalli Ridge Trail (another classic ride).
There are wooden signs at these intersections directing you. Deer Creek continues to climb up a rough double track. Go through a gate at the top of this climb and continue about 1/4 of a mile to another split in the road. Go left again and ride steeply down down through some aspens. Follow the doubletrack through a boggy area to its end, where the Deer Creek singletrack begins. The trail is very distinct and buffed along here.
After two creek crossings, the trail starts to climb steadily and steeply. See how long you can stay on your bike. Iíve seen a few very strong local riders ride all the way to the top of this one. It is a major push. At the top, whether youíre walking or still riding, youíll love the view of the upper East river valley and the back of Crested Butte Mountain. This is a great place to recover and have bite to eat. If youíre lucky, youíll see elk grazing in the aspen groves uphill from you.
From here, the trail weaves and bobs its way along the flanks of Whiterock Mountain. There is everything you could want in a singletrack for the next seven miles. The trail is usually in great shape early in the summer. Later on, cows can hammer the trail if it rains a lot. There are a couple tricky places where the cows regularly make side trails. The first is right after you cross the wide and rocky Perry Creek at 13 and 1/2 miles. The main trail climbs up out of the creek and through the aspens a very short distance and turns sharply right to climb through a meadow. Donít be tempted to stay low and straight ahead on the well worn cow path!
Again, at mile 15, after you start a steady and switchbacking descent through a meadow and then into the aspens, the trail makes a sharp turn back to the left and climbs quickly for 100 feet or so to avoid a boggy area. (Several cowpaths go straight down.) Next, follow the trail down the creek and to the right, crossing a couple small creeks and heading out into the open meadows, Gothic Mountain in view straight ahead. Follow this gradually rolling section through the meadows to the final descent. At one point (mile 17.3) the trail veers hard left at some private property. There is a sign here, donít miss it! Continue to the left through the meadows, then curve right and down to a doubletrack. Take a right on this rough road and ride out to Gothic Road (the main gravel road). Turn left on Gothic Road, cross the East River and begin riding back toward town. After a gradual, three mile climb, top out on the road climb above Mount Crested Butte. Still feeling strong? You can ride the Snodgrass Trail (just to the right) on the way back. Or you can continue on the fast road back to town.
One of the best long rides to open up early is Deer Creek. It faces south, southwest and traverses a relatively moderate elevation. This is a fairly long ride. Take lots of water and plan on enjoying the great views of the north side of Crested Butte Mountain and the East River drainage. Deer Creek offers some lung busting climbing and awe inspiring singletrack. Most people ride starting from the Brush Creek end. This way you get most of the climbing on a doubletrack and its over early. You can also ride it clockwise starting in the town of Gothic. If youíre feeling especially spunky, ride it from Gothic, and when you get to the intersection of Deer Creek Road and West Brush Creek Road, turn left and continue on to ride the Teocalli Ridge trail.
Source: Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association
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