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Tags:
Level: Advanced
Length: 23 mi (37 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +1,027/1 ft
Total: 154 riders
 

Mountain Biking Doctor Park

*****   Add a review
#6 of 1,347 mountain bike trails in Colorado
#38 in the world

Doctors Park offers some fantastic downhill on the Gunnison Spur of the Colorado Trail. This trail can be ridden as a loop or you can use a shuttle if riding up eight miles of road doesn't appeal to you. Most people park at the bottom (North Bank Campground) and ride or shuttle up Spring Creek Road to Doctor Gulch (trail 554). After going about eight and a half miles up the road, where the canyon starts opening up into a wide valley, look to the right (southeast) and you will see doubletrack crossing thru Spring Creek and going up the gully. At the time of this writing there was a trail sign on the south side of the creek for 554. After leaving Spring Creek Road, at exactly one mile there is a right hand turn; trail 554 continues to the right. Go right and continue up, winding your way on the doubletrack to the top of the ridge. After about three miles you will come to heavy forest. This section of the trail can be a miserable root-infested mud pit after it rains so be prepared to grind and grunt your way thru slop if there has been rain. The misery is compounded if cows or horses have recently used the trail. Continue working your way along and after another mile you will break into a large open meadow; this is Doctors Park, and this is where the real singletrack and the fun begins. From here you have five miles of fast downhill. The top section is a bit steep and rocky, but it is a lot of fun. After a mile or so you get into some fantastic cruising thru aspen forest; this is the best part of the trail and probably some of the sweetest singletrack you will ever find. Fast, flowy, and full of variety. It rocks! Let your bike run and enjoy the miles. About a half mile from the bottom the trail gets steep and rocky with fun switchbacks on a steep sideslope. If you are tired, stop and take a break so that you are ready to work your way down the steeps. The trail can be a bit technical and the drop-offs are severe, so the penalty for mistakes is high.

Now, about alternate routes, the top of the ridge is crisscrossed with a few trails, and you really can't go wrong exploring as long as you remember that you want to work your way to the southwest corner. Just remember that most of the other trails allow motorized access so they are going to be more chewed up.

If you want to have an epic ride combine this ride with the Flag, Bear and Deadman trails (see review for "Reno / Flag / Bear / Deadman"). Instead of crossing Spring Creek to go up Doctor Gulch continue riding up Spring Creek Road past Spring Creek Reservoir until you get to the bottom of the Flag trail. Go a short distance up Flag and turn left on the Bear trail. Follow Bear to Deadman Trail where you take a left and follow it back down to Spring Creek Road. From there it is a .7 mile ride back up to Doctor Gulch where you can resume the ride described above. This makes a figure eight loop that tallies up to 34 miles of riding with almost 4,000' of vertical. Yeah, that qualifies as an epic day.

If you are into camping there are many formal and informal places to camp near Spring Creek, or the whole Taylor River Valley, for that matter. I highly suggest getting the Latitude 40 map for Crested Butte.

First added by bonkedagain on Aug 8, 2006. Last updated May 10, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: yes
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
Have you ridden this trail? Help improve this information.
Getting there
From Gunnison, take highway 135 north to Almont, take a right on the Taylor River road (Forest Road 742), continue past the Spring Creek Road for about a half mile and turn left into the North Bank Campground. Go thru the campground to the end of the road to find the trailhead. From Crested Butte, go south on highway 135 and take Jacks Cabin Cutoff, which will put you on the Taylor River Road just west of Spring Creek Road.
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Doctor Park Trail map

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steven315 (on Sep 13, 2019)
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Doctor Park
 
Doctor Park - Crested Butte, CO
 
Doctor's Park and the Brothers Tabaian
 
Flag/Bear/Deadman/Doctor Park
 

Mountain Bike Trails Near Crested Butte, Colorado

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Rider questions

Q: Is it motorized
A: No...

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Reviews

  • Gdb49   ✓ supporter
    *****

    Don't know what the best trail in Colorado is, but this is the most fun I have ever had on a trail- it has everything. Rugged, beautiful, classic high alpine riding. STUPID FUN! The climb up is on a fire road and goes for 3 uninterrupted miles and is nothing special. Shuttle this ride, the loop is dry and very dusty!

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  • Reet_TripOutside.com
    *****

    This is a local's fav! We got so many recommendations to ride this while we were there that it was built up in our head, but it still delivered true happiness!
    If you're looking to camp in the area, this is a great recommendation: https://www.campendium.com/washington-gulch-road
    If you're looking to rent, this is a great resource to rent online: https://www.tripoutside.com/location/crested-butte/

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  • Jim Cummings
    ****

    It gets underway as a classic old-school downhill trail - steep and fairly straight apart from a couple of switchbacks. There are lots of drops and lots of rock garden action which gets better and better. Just when your brake fingers really start complaining the trail changes completely. You're down in the valley among aspens and on a very fast rollicking trail - narrow and with a really nice surface of weathered granite. It's a blast! And there is more variety to come... After a little climbing you start a wonderful, technical descent around and through large granite boulders on the side of a steep slope. There is enough side exposure to keep you focused until you roll into North Bank Campround - smiling from ear to ear - assuming you have advanced riding skills!...

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  • Jim Cummings
    ***

    I rode Doctor Park as a loop from North Bank Campground. It starts with an 8 mile moderate climb up Springs Creek Road. Then you ford Spring Creek (knee high in September 2017) and begin the four mile slog up the Doctor Gulch 4wd trail. Finally you hit singletrack but its no fun for about one mile - muddy, rocky and undulating. Then the descent starts and you start smiling. Soon its a classic old-school downhill trail - steep and fairly straight apart from a couple of switchbacks. There are lots of drops and lots of rock garden action which gets better and better. Just when your brake fingers really start complaining the trail changes completely. You're down in the valley among aspens and on a very fast rollicking trail - narrow and with a really nice surface of weathered granite. It's a blast! And there is more variety to come... After a little climbing you start a wonderful, technical descent around and through large granite boulders on the side of a steep slope. There is enough side exposure to keep you focused and gripping the handle bars. Then you drop back into the campground - smiling from ear to ear - assuming you have advanced riding skills!...

    But I find I'm unable to rate the overall ride very highly because over three quarters of the time is a fitness exercise with little interest.

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  • Richard Hespen
    *****

    I rode this for the first time in 4 years and it is still one of the finest rides anywhere. It has eroded a bit and become more technical with more chunk and bigger drops. The middle section is still an ultimate speedway, and the switchbacks an incredible challenge. If you're an experienced rider, don't miss this one.

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  • BSAphex
    Reviewing Doctor Park: Loop:
    *****

    Speaking as a "sea level" guy I have to say the number one tip I would give is to get a shuttle to the top if possible. Or at least to the river crossing. 3,000 feet of climbing and hours wasted. Yes, the ride up Spring Creek Rd is scenic, but if you are limited on time or fitness find a ride. The downhill itself is amazing. A bit muddy at the top. Then a bit rutted. Then its gets technical and chunky for a bit. Then its a fast/flowy joy ride, and its hard to believe it just keeps going. A short bit of climbing near the bottom. Then the terrain gets a bit more sandy/arid and the downhilling continues. Some fun technical stuff near the end as you near the parking lot. Its a blast! Do it!

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  • CFM   ✓ supporter
    ****

    We rode out & back from the North Bank campground. Super technical, steep climbing out of the campground but it levels out into a fun ride through aspen groves. The downhill ride back was a lot easier but you still have to take care on the last drop into camp.

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  • *****

    Fantastic trail, we rode it a couple weeks ago. Pretty brutal climb all the way from the base for a few guys from 700' but obviously doable.

    Once we got to the top it was smiles all the way down. I loved the variety in terrain, rocks, loose dirt, hard pack, stumps and roots. The constant change in scenery was a nice bonus, heavy timber, open fields, tall grass/flowers and steep drops on the sides of the trail all added to the enjoyment.

    Bring plenty of water, we were pretty much out by the time we got to the top.

    We rode this on hardtails, next time I come I'll bring my FS plus bike and really fly down the trail!

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  • We took our shoes/socks off knowing we still had quite a ride ahead. Waters cold but its all part of the experience!

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  • Greg Heil   ✓ supporter
    Reviewing Doctor Park: Loop:
    *****

    While this is an alternate to the main trail, I found this loop to be comprised of excellent singletrack with gorgeous views! If you ride Doctor Park, be sure to tack on this loop!

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  • ktdelves
    *****

    Terrific trail! Road climb isn't bad, shuttle can cut some time off but not necessary. When in doubt at a junction, turn right, most are marked. For the bonus trail stay left at the "spur" sign; access great views. The descent is killer! Smooth flowy single track with fun little pump berms to air off. Be aware of downed timber in the descent as they can be common and you will be hauling ass! 5 stars based off the descent and variety of ecosystems you travel through. Climb has a few steep cranks and little shade until you reach forest. Last mile is very steep, technical descent; rated this advanced based off that. Do it!

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  • Richard Hespen
    *****

    This descent starts in some high meadows where you can get some serious speed. Next is a conifer forest where the rock gardens take over. As the forest changes to aspens, the rocks go away. Suddenly, you are on a perfectly smooth, high-speed racetrack. This section leads to seriously sore cheeks induced by ridiculous grins. As the trail leaves the aspens, it becomes sandy and rocky. You then ride a series of switchbacks down the mountain. This is my favorite section of singletrack anywhere.

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  • Jeff Barber

    Get wet! Some people take off shoes & socks and wade across to keep feet dry.

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  • gotdurt
    *****

    It really doesn't get a whole lot better than this. There's nothing like racing through Aspen at mach speed, and the final twisting technical descent is a hoot. We rode it one morning and I realized I forgot the GoPro, so my buddy drove me back to the top and I did it again... right as the descent began, it started pouring rain... that was an adventure!
    https://youtu.be/5VmXALRSxHc
    Skip the boring road climb and shuttle if you can; you'll enjoy the descent more with fresh legs and save a LOT of time... enough to shuttle it twice!

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  • DH001
    *****

    A tough 2-3 mile climb , for a sea level dweller, after the first large creek crossing off the main gravel road. Hiked the bike through 2 miles of snow and flowing water until the Bonus Trail (TR# 424.1A) intersection where things finally started to dry out. The trail bed was still mostly frozen in the upper pines. The descent is a blast. Fast ( 30 mph) flowing turns with plenty of grade reversal drains to air off of. Lots of technical rocky sections mixed into the descent with tight switchbacks and steep rocky grades towards the end. Great views from multiple areas of the trail. Found out after the ride that locals ride it as an out and back,starting at the bottom, when there is snow at the higher elevations. Was harder than expected but the long descent more than made up for the suffering on the climb and unexpected snow.

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  • Richard Hespen
    *****

    This is the best trail I have ever ridden. The first 7-8 miles of the climb is easy with fantastic scenery. After crossing the creek, the climb is much more difficult. It isn't overly steep, but it is relentless. The first mile or so of singletrack is still mostly climbing, as you travel through coniferous forest. Watch for mud in this area. When you reach the clearing the fun begins! It starts with mostly straight, high-speed singletrack. Then, you reach a technical, rocky section through forest with several switchbacks. The next section travels through aspen trees and it is composed of super fast, smooth, gently flowing singletrack that seems to go on forever. This is what life is all about. The last section is rocky, technical switchbacks down the side of the mountain. I could ride this trail everyday and never get bored with it.

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  • Brendan Kohler
    *****

    Super fun challenging trail. Gear up for a long climb. Its a long climb and a long downhill.

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  • Greg Heil   ✓ supporter
    *****

    Doctor Park is a ripping descent with high speed flowy sections, rock gardens, jumps, whoops, drops, and more. Hands-down one of the top descents--if not THE single-best descent--in Crested Butte.

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