Our Top 3 XC Rides from the Evolution Bike Park
The Evolution Bike Park features 30 miles of lift-accessed cross country and downhill trails for all ability levels. Unique to the Crested Butte is that the Evolution Bike Park’s system of trails blends seamlessly into the vast network of trails that make the Gunnison Valley one of the top mountain bike destinations in the world.
A quick bike-equipped chairlift ride up the Red Lady Express Lift presents the opportunity to link together a much larger ride – from the patrolled bike park to the backcountry.
Below are a few of our favorite lift-accessed cross country rides that depart from the top of the Red Lady Lift.
Snodgrass – Lupine
An excellent ride for beginner and intermediate riders, this route takes advantage of two of Crested Butte’s most popular trails around town, Snodgrass and Lupine.
From the top of the Red Lady Lift, make your way over to the Meander trail, which winds through aspen groves and fields of wildflowers. Following the full length of the Meander trail (including Lower Meander) will lead you directly to the Snodgrass trailhead. Cross the parking lot and follow the signs up and over the Snodgrass trail, approximately three miles.
At the end of the Snodgrass trail, you will find yourself on Washington Gulch Road. Take a left and follow the road downhill until the intersection with Gothic Road. Veer right on Gothic Road until Saddle Ridge Lane, and take a right underneath the large wooden gate. The Lupine trail begins at the top of this cul-de-sac. Lupine will skirt along the hillside for approximately 3 miles until it drops you at the trailhead on Slate River Road. From here, follow the road to the left for quick access back to town, or head to the right to access the Lower Loops.
Please respect any trail closures and property signs along the route, and no parking or shuttling is permitted up Saddle Ridge Lane.
Upper Loop – Bridges
This ride is shorter than the Snodgrass – Lupine route, but is technically much more difficult. Recommended for intermediate or advanced riders, this route departs the top of the Red Lady Lift on the Westside trail. The Westside trail is a very good precursor for the rest of the ride.
Approximately two-thirds of the way down Westside, you will see the Happy Hour trail veer to the left. Descend the Happy Hour trail until its junction with Upper Loop. At this intersection, a right would take you quickly back towards the resort while a left will continue you along the Upper Loop and towards Bridges. Continue all the way to the end of the Upper Loop trail (past Tony’s trail) until an obvious 4-way intersection. Take the trail that is second on the left – old Upper Loop – and continue to ride through the aspen grove with some beautiful overlooks of Whetstone Mountain. After about a mile, the Bridges trail will intersect on your left. Turn left onto Bridges and enjoy the descent back to the large 4-Way intersection on Upper Loop.
Once back on Upper Loop, head back towards Tony’s trail and descend down the hill and pedal directly into the town of Crested Butte.
One of the “big rides” in the Crested Butte area, Deer Creek trail is meant for intermediate or advanced riders who are looking for a challenging backcountry ride. This full route is approximately 30 miles.
The route begins the same way as the Upper Loop – Bridges description above; however, rather than turning left onto the Bridges trail, continue straight onto the Upper Upper trail. This is a challenging trail that will end on Brush Creek Road.
Once at Brush Creek Road, turn left and follow the road for a few miles until it forks, at which point stay left. There will be a second fork shortly after the first, where again, you want to stay left. Climb the road to the top of the hill and you will see a small parking lot with the Deer Creek singletrack continuing straight. At this point, you are about to hop on an uninterrupted singletrack for the next eight miles or so. At the end of the trail, follow the double track to the right and you will end up on Gothic Road just outside of the Gothic Townsite and Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. At Gothic Road, take a left and follow the road all the back to Mt. Crested Butte.
So the next time you are looking to begin a ride around Crested Butte, save your legs, ride the chairlift up, and take off on one of the aforementioned classic rides! For a trail map and trail information, download the MTB Home /CBG Trails application for your smart phone.