Skip to content

Our Top 3 Rides from Elk Avenue

Wildflowers in Crested Butte

Our Top 3 Rides from Elk Avenue

Crested Butte Our Top 3 Rides from Elk Avenue

Crested Butte is nestled at the northern end of Gunnison County, crisscrossed by over 450 miles of cross country hiking and biking trails for all ability levels.  Unique to Crested Butte is that many of the trails stem from downtown, allowing for quick or all-day epic mountain bike rides. This incredible access is only one reason that the Gunnison Valley is knows as a world-class mountain bike destination. 

Below are a few of our favorite cross country rides that depart from Elk Avenue, located within Crested Butte’s historical downtown.

Lower Loop Trails

Crested Butte’s most beginner-friendly trail network features a handful of trails that are fun for the whole family. Conveniently beginning at the western end of Teocalli Avenue (1st and Teocalli), this single track parallels the Slate River with majestic views of Paradise Divide.

Beginners will enjoy the mellow cruise along the Woods Walk and Lower Loop trails, while intermediate riders can check out the Upper Lower, KB Connector and Budd trails, located slightly up the hillside from the Lower Loop.  All of these trails have clear signage and are very popular with hikers, bikers and dog walkers.

After your ride, make your way back to Elk Avenue for a homemade ice cream cone at Third Bowl or a beverage at Montanya Distillers.

Lupine – Gunsight Connector

Although the Gunsight Connector trail is one of the newest additions to the vast network of singletrack trails in the valley, it has quickly become a local favorite.  Due to its convenience off of the Lupine trail and fun descent, this is a ride not to be missed.

Depart from Elk Avenue and make your way to the start of the Lupine trail off of Saddle Ridge Road. Enjoy the rolling terrain until a fun descent drops you off at the bottom of a relatively short jeep road. Climb up this jeep road, and continue past the Lupine 2 trail until you reach the Gunsight Connector trail. Note that the Gunsight Connector trail is approximately one mile past the Lupine 2 turnoff.

Gunsight Connector features a blend of smooth singletrack through the aspen grove, some steep switchbacks and some roots to create a long, fun downhill. At the bottom of the trail, cross Slate River Road and enjoy access to the Lower Loop Trails.  

Green Lake

Green Lake is a difficult trail that climbs steadily from downtown Crested Butte up to Green Lake, at the base of Mount Axtel. However, once you are enjoying the scenic view of the lake, you have all downhill back to town!

From Elk Avenue, head south towards the Big Mine Ice Arena. Behind the arena, ride the short, steep dirt road to the top of the ridge and hang a right on the main dirt road. The Green Lake trail is easy to find on your left as you approach the end of the road. Once on the trail, there are few intersections to navigate, but signage is clear and helps keep you on course. Don’t give up when the trail steepens because the best is yet to come – the downhill!

The Green Lake downhill is known around Crested Butte as one of the best in the area. Recommended for advanced riders, this trail has a true backcountry feel while being close to town.

So the next time you are looking to begin a ride on Elk Avenue, check out one of the aforementioned classic rides!  For a trail map and trail information, download the “MTB Home /CBG Trails App” for your smart phone.