After two rides in Crested Butte this past weekend we stopped in at our friend T’s house to bum some showers and hang out while the afternoon rains passed overhead. T lives in CB and was eager to bike with us that weekend.
“What’s something you guys haven’t done? Have you done Farris?”
“Yep, done that one.”
“What about the Dyke trail?”
“Done it; I’ve done it; He’s done it.” Seriously, between the four of us who were there, most of the trails in CB had been ridden one or multiple times. There are several that I haven’t done, but T wanted to find something none of us had done.
“What about the Lupine trail?” Finally, he nailed it. None of us had even heard of the Lupine trail, let alone ridden it. It was settled. We’d combine this new Lupine trail with a piece of the Upper Loop and part of the Lower Loop to make a 15-mile ride on Saturday. Since we had finished the 401 that day we were all happy to hear T say that this route would be fairly mellow without too much climbing. (This route can also easily include the Snodgrass trail, but it was already closed for the season.)
Saturday we parked in town at T’s house and headed east towards the Crested Butte bike path. Instead of turning onto the gravel road to the bike path we went slightly further south to a dirt road where a bunch of cows were hanging out. We took this road east and soon picked up a little spur trail on the left called Tony’s Trail. We climbed easily for less than 2 miles to an intersection with the Upper Loop.
Intersection with the Upper Loop and Tony’s Trail
From here we turned left and rode the Upper Loop towards Crested Butte Mountain Resort. There was one long but not overly steep climb and there were a couple of rock garden hills that we all hiked through, but mostly the ride was fun. The trail flowed through aspen forests and we had nice views of town below us.
Once at the end of the Upper Loop (or the beginning depending on which way you ride that one) we headed down through the resort back to the main road (Gothic Road). We turned left, as if to head back to town, briefly hopped on the bike path, and then turned right (crossing the highway) into Saddle Ridge. This is just past Washington Gulch Road. It has a large arched entrance so it’s pretty hard to miss. We biked up the paved road for just a few minutes to a cul-de-sac and a new piece of signed singletrack: Lupine Trail.
Looking back at Mt. Crested Butte from the start of the Lupine Trail
The Lupine trail is just fun. It rolls along, traversing a hillside, through a meadow. You’ll go in and out of aspen groves and cross a bridge or two (nicely covered with chicken wire to prevent slippage). Soon you’ll intersect with a jeep road; go straight (don’t turn left) and climb up the road for just a few minutes. The trail, signed again, picks back up on your left.
Views from the Lupine Trail
This last, and newest section, built by the Crested Butte Mountain Biking Association (CBMBA) is full of berms and banked turns. We all agreed it was great fun when we ended the Lupine Trail on Slate River Road. The good news, though, was that the fun wasn’t over yet! We turned right and peddled down the road just a short ways and found ourselves bearing left to drop down and cross Oh-Be-Joyful creek. From here we picked up the Lower Loop trail and rode it all the way back to T’s house for beers while the rains made their afternoon appearance.
The view from Slate River road down to Oh-Be-Joyful creek
Looking up the Slate River valley
Our route made a great intermediate loop. It’s long but not overly strenuous or technical and we all enjoyed the views and the rolling singletrack. Since we were planning to ride Doctor Park the following day this was a nice low-key Saturday ride. We weren’t too tired when we headed back to camp either!
Speaking of camp, we once again camped out near Taylor Park at Rosy Lane, a National Forest campground. Rosy Lane has nice big tent sites and is quite popular but this year there was a snafu. It’s not mentioned on the reservation site, Recreation.gov or at this particular campground, but now the fee, which used to be per site, is basically per vehicle. So if you are camping and spending $18 a night, and your friends drive up and are camping, at the same site, it will cost them another $18. It’s still a great campground and it’s much cheaper than a condo, but it’s definitely something you want to be aware of before arriving.
Along with the Lupine ride and the 401 we also rode the Lower Loop and Upper Lower Loop trails on Thursday as soon as we got into town and ended our trip with a ride (and a shuttle) on the Doctor Park trail. That one is definitely becoming one of my favorites!
View of the Maroon Bells from the 401 Trail