Local Flavours: The Complete Guide to Riding in Crested Butte, Colorado

Aug 12, 2020
by Brice Shirbach  

Local Flavours

THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO RIDING IN
CRESTED BUTTE, COLORADO
Words, photos, & video by Brice Shirbach

Presented by the Gunnison/Crested Butte Tourism & Prosperity Partnership



I had to laugh a bit. It was getting close to sunset on my first evening in town when the news broke. I was munching on an overstuffed burrito from Teocalli Tamale in downtown Crested Butte when I read that the sparkling clean and lovely town of Bentonville, AR had recently given itself the designation as the "MTB Capital of the World", going so far as to actually trademark the phrase. I've been through Bentonville on a couple of occasions and it is very, very purpose built and presents quite a lot of really cool and creative trail designs to be sure. Reading about the trademark on my phone while surrounded by some of the American West's most iconic mountains that house upwards of 750 miles of breathtaking trails and terrain just kinda struck me in a peculiar manner. Looking around you realize that the people who are here could not care less about available trademarks, or how they might stack up against other mountain bike destinations around the world. I mean, just so we're clear, they're certainly aware that they have it really, really good here, it's just hard to get caught up in self-aggrandizing when you have so much trail to explore and only so much time in the day.

Listen, I am certainly not interested in propping up Crested Butte by diminishing the quality or experiences found in other parts of the world. Bikes are awesome, and it's actually pretty encouraging to see that an entire community sees enough value in mountain biking to actually trademark our sport into their official slogan. The truth is that Crested Butte's mountain bike history simply runs deeper than it does anywhere else on the planet. Case in point: While I was in town I made sure to swing by Chopwood Mercantile to say hi to my friend and Pivot Cycles compatriot Lisa Cramton, where we spent some time catching up. We watched a couple of old videos that documented the Crested Butte to Aspen Klunker Classic from 1980, pointing out some of the streets and buildings shown in the video before looking up from the phone to see those very landmarks just a few feet away. It occurred to me then that there's no amount of marketing savvy that can replace what decades of history has done for Crested Butte, and to be honest there's just no need for it. Listen, I'm not entirely sure that the world actually needs a "MTB Capital", but if there was actually such a thing, Crested Butte would surely be somewhere near the top of the heap. There are more than enough examples around the planet showing that mountains aren't really requisite for top notch mountain bike trails, but Crested Butte stands as a stark reminder of the undeniable magnetism that surrounds them, and if the high altitude doesn't take your breath away, the towering peaks that surround town certainly will.


Brice Shirbach // Local Flavours
Age: 38
Location: Wilmington, DE, USA
Supporters: Pivot Cycles, Maxxis Tires, Pearl Izumi, 9point8, Julbo, Shimano, Stan's No Tubes, Deity Components, Dialed Health
Instagram: @bricycles
Favorite Trail in Crested Butte: 409.5
Preferred Terrain: Lumpy


Local Flavours Crested Butte
Crested Butte, Colorado.

Local Flavours Crested Butte
The beauty of the region is as breathtaking as the high altitude.

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Crested Butte is an isolated mountain, disconnected from the Elk Mountain range that surrounds it.

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Local Flavours Crested Butte
CB has managed to fight off corporate encroachment over the years, an impressive feat considering its popularity.

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Even during the Covid-19 pandemic, downtown is a cheery and bright display.

Local Flavours Crested Butte
The town of Mount Crested Butte from the Snodgrass trail.

Local Flavours Crested Butte

A Bit About the Region

This was originally the land of Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱, or more commonly known as the Ute Tribe. Today the Utes have a tribal membership of just under 3,000 and oversee approximately 1.3 million acres of Northwestern Utah land, but prior to European colonization, the Utes were the original stewards of what is now Crested Butte. As early American settlers continued to venture west, the region that is now southwestern Colorado became well known as a source of mineral wealth, and the subsequent mining and attendant settlement sadly brought with it some devastating consequences to the land as well as the Ute Tribe.

Coal reigned supreme in the first half of the 20th century, but as that began to wane Crested Butte transitioned into one of the country's preeminent ski towns, with the summit of the namesake Crested Butte towering over 3,000 feet above downtown, which sits at just under 9,000 feet above sea level. There are actually two distinct towns here: Crested Butte and Mount Crested Butte. Colorado has something called the "home rule municipality", which I truly don't understand the nuances of, but the net result of which means that the 2.22 square miles of land that sits along the north facing base of Crested Butte 9 (the mountain) is its own little town, and it includes the resort operations. 1,000 feet below sits the town of Crested Butte. They have a separate collection of elected officials and different zip codes, but for the purposes of this story, they are one and the same. Let's go ahead and get that out of the way because we have bikes to get to.

While skiing and snowboarding dominate the winter months here (which is exactly why I came here for my first trip in 2009), the singletrack and stunning visuals available during the summer months have become an allure and cultural staple unto themselves. The town is purpose built for adventurers: easy and bountiful access to world class terrain during the day, and just as easy and bountiful access to food and beverage on many a deck and patio along Elk Avenue in the afternoon and evening. It presents an intoxicating lifestyle, and is precisely why many who pay CB a visit eventually call this place home.

Getting to Crested Butte

Crested Butte has never been an especially "easy" place to get to when you compared it to Colorado's other popular resort communities, and that's exactly what makes the journey here so sweet. There are zero interstates or international airports within a 60 mile radius of town, which means that a trip here is almost assuredly going to include the "scenic route", which is cool with me.

If you are looking to fly, the closest option is the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport located in Gunnison, about 30 minutes south of Crested Butte. It's serviced year-round by United Airlines, and seasonally by American Airlines. Connections are made through Denver International Airport as well as George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, TX. Flights to and from Houston are not running this summer due to Covid, but those are scheduled to resume by the winter and will include roundtrip service to Dallas as well. If you were interested in a flight to another airport in Colorado and then a scenic drive, here's a list of additional options and their respective drive times to Crested Butte: Denver, CO - 4.5 hours, Colorado Springs, CO - 4 hours, Grand Junction, CO - 3 hours, and Montrose, CO - 1.5 hours.

While in town, a car isn't necessary, but I'd highly recommend one if you're keen to explore the area's legendary mountain passes or to set up some shuttle rides. Crested Butte has an amazing system of free public transportation year-round, including during the winter via the Mountain Express.

You can stay up to date on all Covid-19 public health orders, as well as available community and business resources for Gunnison County here.


Local Flavours Crested Butte
Bikes + Crested Butte = Smiles.

Local Flavours Crested Butte
An out and back adventure begins on Baxter's Gulch.

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Mason Cameron crosses a creek en on his way up to 409.5.

Local Flavours Crested Butte
The 409.5 exit is pretty special.

Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Lauren Koelliker is one of 3 full time staffers for CBMBA.

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Lauren leads Janae Pritchett down Baxter's.

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Descending Lando Calrissian with the shark tooth shaped Mt. Crested Butte as a backdrop.

Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte
The wildflower hype is very real.

Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte


The Best Trails to Ride in Crested Butte

Crested Butte is fairly high up on many a rider's bucket list, so this will be an exercise in futility as I'm sure there are cases to be made for just about every single trail in town to end up on this list. Of course when you have 750+ miles of trail between Crested Butte and Gunnison, you could elect to just close your eyes, and point to a random spot on the trail map to make your decision, but I'll do my best to distill it down a touch for you below. Keep in mind that the nature of these trails is one of connectivity and massive rides, so while you'll see them broken down into various "networks" or regions, they aren't quite as distinctive compared to places where each network is cutoff from one another, often defined by various drainages in the area. This allows for any number of combinations that can be linked throughout Crested Butte.

Consider downloading the CBGTrails app on your phone before your visit. CBGTrails is a unique map app specifically designed for the Gunnison Valley. The app includes both online and offline map capabilities and helps users navigate all 750+ miles of trail. It can also be used to log your ride, run or hike. For more information about trails in Gunnison and Crested Butte, visit the CBGTrails website.

Crested Butte Mountain Bike Park
Due to Covid-19, the resort will not be reopening operations outside of scenic lift rides, on-mountain trails, and select grab-n-go food service. That said, when it does reopen and you're itching to bring a bigger bike to Crested Butte, the bike park formerly known as Evolution is where you can take it to task. With 30+ miles of trail available on Crested Butte, it's a properly fun and rowdy lift-served option.
Key trail - Psycho Rocks: Possibly the most challenging and high risk trail at the bike park. Mandatory drops and gaps abound! Have a spare tire or two at the ready.
Key trail - Avery: Nice mix of natural tech and purpose-built flow. The rock gardens are scattered throughout and have multiple lines available, and the bottom third of the trail is full of fun and poppy tables.

Town Trails
The trails that butt up against downtown are truly world class, which is funny because typically one associates a "town loop" as a bit of an afterthought, if not simply an after-work kind of ride. Not here. The views are staggeringly good, and the speeds can be staggeringly high. Oh yeah, and the have a bike park in town that connects to the trails.
Key trail - Baxter Gulch: This is often used as a means of climbing up to the ridgeline trail, Para Me a Para Te before descending Green Lake. However, no one would blame you for making it an out and back as well. It's 6 miles long and on the way up gains 2,500 feet, which means when you turn around, you get to drop all of that at a significantly higher rate while taking in views of Crested Butte and Teocalli Ridge.
Key trail - Green Lake: Starting at an alpine lake (yes, Green Lake) in the shadow of the summit of Mount Axtell, Green Lake is best ridden as a descent (as most trails are, ermaright?) due to the abundant rock drops and root gardens that will generate many more smiles if ridden down compared to ridden up.

Cement Creek
A few miles to the south of town, the Cement Creek drainage is a popular spot for dispersed camping, as well as those looking to destroy the legs. The miles and elevation add up quickly out here, and as is the case with most of the drainages south of town, you should prepare for a day in the backcountry, even if you aren't planning for a day in the backcountry.
Key trail - Double Top: This can be a sizable point to point ride, or it can be easily cut into or out of via a variety of trails that connect to it. As is, Double Top offers up amazing views for 14 miles end to end, and ridden east to west climbs 3,000 feet and descends 4,600 feet.
Key trail - Deadman's Gulch: This is a connection between the Spring Creek and Cement Creek drainages, but it's the descent into Cement Creek that really makes it something special. Ridden from Spring Creek, you climb for 4 1/2 miles at a reasonably comfortable gradient as you gain 1,300 vertical feet. It's the final mile and a half and 1,370 feet of descending that count. Oh, and I counted 30 total switchbacks during the descent. Enjoy.

Spring Creek
Spring Creek is the furthest drainage south of town before you are essentially not riding in CB. You are way the hell out there, and it's heavenly.
Key trail - Rosebud Gulch: Spoiler alert: it was his sled and an inference to the loss of his morality. Citizen Kane aside, you have yourself a lovely adventure just to get to the start of the descent that involves a fireroad climb to Cement Mountain Trail, and an undulating trip up and down Cement before turning right onto Rosebud. From here, it's quite literally all downhill. 3 miles and 1,300 feet of descending on Rosebud and you can add another mile of downhill by turning right onto Deadman's Gulch and finishing on Spring Creek Rd.
Key trail - Dr. Park: This trail is effectively a midpoint between Crested Butte and Gunnison, and it's arguably the most popular descent in all of Colorado. As it should be. It's a 7 mile long trail from end to end, and in reality the descending doesn't begin in earnest until you're about 2 miles in. From there, you'll drop 2,750 feet over the course of 5 miles. It's beautiful, it blisteringly fast, and it's worth all of the hype.

Brush Creek
Brush Creek is on the backside of Crested Butte, and for me is one of the single prettiest corners of the planet. There's a depth to the color back here that was pretty stunning for me personally. It is also home to my favorite trail in all of Crested Butte, and is a short drive from town and a reasonable pedal if you want to leave the car behind.
Key trail - 409.5: While 409 seems to get all of the love, it's 409.5 that I would call my personal favorite ride in all of Crested Butte. It's a grunt to get to the top of any way you slice it, but my goodness the trip down is really something special. The first half is a dark timber forest loaded with natural features galore, before dipping into lightening fast sections through a beautiful Aspen forest and exiting into a screaming fast meadow. If you can, make it a sunset ride and be ready for some life changing visuals.
Key trail -Strand Hill to Canal: So you can do some shorter rides here! Strand Hill is crazy playful and fun, and requires relatively little effort to get to via a 20+ minute climb. Most of it is straightforward enough, although there are a few sections that can catch you off guard with some techy lines, but the fun continues when you turn left onto Canal and get another mile and a half of ripping fun in a beautiful alpine meadow setting with views for days.


Local Flavours Crested Butte
Be sure to pick up souvenir at any participating CB trail.

Local Flavours Crested Butte
"Eat mor chikin."

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Sunset at the bottom of 409.5 is the move.

Local Flavours Crested Butte
The Aspen groves are surreal.

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Mason styling out of the forest on 409.5.

Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Local Flavours Crested Butte CO
Strand Hill is often overlooked, but it shouldn't be. Loads of fun packed into a 90 minute loop.

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Janae and Lauren enjoying some lovely, dark, and deep timber on Mount Axtell.

Local Flavours Crested Butte CO

Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte CO
Teocalli Ridge looms in the background along Canal trail.

Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Many years ago, Outside Magazine called Snodgrass the best trail in Colorado. Times have changed, but the views are still very much all time.

Local Flavours Crested Butte


Weather:

Winter reigns supreme here. Despite its relatively moderate snowpack compared to other ski destinations in the American West, Crested Butte's snow doesn't really go anywhere until April or May depending on the year. You can bank on most trails being open by June, and the riding is full on until October, which can be hit or miss depending on how early the snow starts to fly. The combination of high altitude and generally sunny days can mean that it feels warmer than it is, particularly in July and August, but in reality the average daytime high never exceeds 76 degrees (F). Of course it can get into the 80's and rarely the 90's, but from late Spring until early Autumn, the weather is generally quite lovely. You can expect regular afternoon storms to roll through town during the summer, but they do little to dampen the extremely dry dirt in CB, and are typically over in an hour or so.

Nearby Gunnison has a much longer riding season, and is the go-to for locals looking to get back on the bike as early as March and later into the winter months.

Bike Advice:

Crested Butte Mountain Resort is home to the Evolution Bike Park, which is probably the only reason you'd want to bring a long travel rig here. Otherwise, I spent the entire week on my Pivot Trail429, and at no point did I ever feel like I needed or wanted to be on anything else. Most modern short to mid travel trail bikes are built to handle themselves reasonably well when things get rowdy, and you can bet that there will be fast and loose moments here, but by and large the trail in Crested Butte are fast and relatively smooth. Moreover, there's no such thing as a quick ride here short of choosing to simply pedal out and back on a given section of trail, and you're going to want to keep things tidy and your energy output efficient for the many hours-long climbs that await you here.


Local Clubs and Advocates:

The Crested Butte Mountain Bike Alliance (CBMBA pronounced 'Simba') is the planet's oldest mountain bike club, having been in operation since 1983. CBMBA puts a lot of energy and resources into the 450 miles of singletrack immediately surrounding the town of Crested Butte as well as cultivating a strong and cohesive community through volunteer trail work days, group rides, events, and a professional trail and stewardship crew, the Crested Butte Conservation Corps (CBCC).

CBMBA has a board of directors comprised of 11 volunteers, as well as 3 full time paid staff which include David Ochs (Executive Director), Lauren Koelliker (Development Director), and Nick Catmur (Operations Manager).

Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte
This is the kind of Colorado I could get used to.

Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Twilight sets the clouds above White Rock Mountain aflame.

Local Flavours Crested Butte
Check out my full gallery of images here.

Accommodations and Food:

For a town as tiny as Crested Butte, the per capita food, beverage, and lodging options are incredibly abundant. That's no surprise, as the primary source of income for many here is the draw that outdoor recreation provides, which means that there is no shortage of hungry mouths and tired legs.

Camping in these parts is enormously popular, and definitely a good choice given the current climate of uncertainty amid the pandemic. There are really two types of camping here: developed and dispersed. Developed camping is probably what many families and people are familiar with, typically offering potable water, bathrooms, and occasionally electric hookups. Dispersed camping is a very different style of camping, and most of the drainages offer up some form of dispersed camping, which often means if you find a nice quiet spot in some alpine meadow off of a forest service road, you can camp there. However, with the privilege of dispersed camping comes a lot of responsibility, including packing it in and out, camping in established spots, and of course don't feed the wildlife. You can find more information on camping in and around Crested Butte here.

Of course rest is important when you're hammering at altitude, so CB offers a bevy of available options to suit a bevy of budgets and many are indeed bike friendly given the nature of the area. From resort hotels, to Airbnb and everything in between, you can take a comprehensive look at lodging options here.

Breakfast:
- Best coffee in all of Colorado? I heard that somewhere, and while I can't say I have had a chance to sample all of Colorado's coffee to be sure, they do in fact serve really good coffee at Camp 4 Coffee.
- I'm a smoothie in the morning kinda guy, and that's what you get at A Daily Dose. Plus burritos, sandwiches, salads and more!

Lunch:
- Remember that song by Jimmy Buffet? It's like that but with Pitas.
- The Avalanche Bar & Grill is a bar and restaurant in the CBMR base area

Dinner:
- I ate at Montanya's for dinner almost every night. Super delicious bowls and they make their own rum. So there's that.
- Who wants some calories? Secret Stash Pizza has you covered. Voted the best slice in CB.
- Contemporary Mexican fare with really, really good drinks can all be found at Bonez.

Local Bike Shops:

- The Alpineer is your go-to for bike service rentals, as well as general outdoor goods.
- Big Al's offers up top notch service on virtually everything, from suspension to drivetrain and all stops in between. They're also dedicated trail advocates and environmental stewards, recycling metal, tubes and tires.
- Crested Butte Sports is a full service shop with e-bike and kids bike rentals.

Other tips:

1. Take Some Time: A trip to Crested Butte will mean that you will be spending all of your time between 9,000 ft - 12,000 ft above sea level, which can be uncomfortable for the first several days if you're not accustomed to the altitude. Build some time into your trip to adjust if you can.
2. Cast a Reel: The Gunnison Valley is home to Colorado’s state-record brown, rainbow, kokanee salmon and lake trout. There is a lot of fantastic stream and river fishing in Crested Butte proper, and a 45 minute drive south of town will take you to the state's largest body of water, the Blue Mesa Reservoir, which allows fishing from the shore as well as by boat.
3. Drop the Kids Off: The Trailhead Children's Museum is located in Crested Butte at 16 6th St. near the Teocalli bus stop and offers nature and science day camps during the summer, winter, and during school breaks.




Crested Butte mountain biking trails

Regions in Article
Crested Butte


151 Comments

  • 118 25
 As part if the CBCC crew; building and maintaining trails, and more importantly, picking up all the shit and trash people leave behind in their camp spots, I feel like this article is extremely irresponsible.
It is irresponsible to advocate for more tourism in our small, isolated town during this time. Covid cases are soaring among service industry employees and people on the front lines with all the tourists. Our backcountry is getting overrun and becoming a giant clusterf*ck as more people flock outside. Entire prestine meadows are being ruined by ignorant people inventing places to camp and park and the amount of shit and trash I pick up on a weekly basis is mind boggling.
But hey, who am I to know, it's the cost of making money, right? 'Murica, f*ck yeah

But really, please be a responsible human and come next year.
  • 10 5
 PREACH
  • 22 0
 I was camping in CB about a month ago and the number of glampers was astounding. Spots that were good for dispersed camping in years past looked like trailer parks. It was heartbreaking
  • 9 3
 "Murica, f*ck year" and "be a responsible human" don't exactly pair well as proven recently.
  • 27 2
 Agreed 100%. All of our small mountain towns are disgusting right now. 90% of these tourists refuse to wear masks and as you said, invent their own camping spots and leave trash everywhere. It's infuruating. Please don't come to Colorado right now. And whenever it's safe to do so, PLEASE don't be a dick. Leave no trace FFS
  • 2 2
 You guys are killin it out there. I’m sure Dave has shed a tear or two this summer tho, and he’s such a nice guy...
  • 20 0
 The conduct of folks really is astounding.. I always assumed that despite my personal misgivings that more peeps outside would be overall a good thing - more people having intimate contact with the great but vulnerable outdoors would naturally mean more conservation-minded, light-footed visitors, right? More voices from more places shouting to preserve and conserve and enjoy.

Wrong. Loved to death in some places, and in others, well, I don't know what I'd call it exactly.

I was on the northern front range just a bit back camping and biking when we drove past a group of Tejas jeeps packing up and leaving a dispersed campsite. On our way back by a few hours later, we stopped by their site. Trash everywhere, casings everywhere. Unburied feces and tp. A HUGE fire ring full of glass and burnt cans. And fresh vehicle tracks headed into a couple adjacent meadows. Do I know for sure it was them? I suppose not..

But please, for the love of god, whoever you are and whatever you're doing: Act like you were raised right.
  • 5 1
 You are right, the camping situation is really bad in CB. The general populous doesn't know how to camp responsibly and sustainably. I'm really surprised this article said camping was a "good option." There's clearly a HUGE need for improved and sustainable camping in the area. I was there for one night in early July, a middle of the week Wednesday night, and every dispersed camp spot/zone was packed to the gills. We ended up driving around from place to place till dark looking for a place to camp, and we were not along in the venture, multiple cars were doing the same thing. Thankfully we found one of the last spots in a developed campground. Seems like there's a clearly defined problem and passionate groups (CBMBA and CBCC, among others) and individuals like yourself @Happytreez who should be taking a lead on working with the USFS to fix the problem.
  • 16 1
 It’s the Texans coming to CO that are the problem. That, and all the people whose vacations were canceled so they just decided to rent a 40 RV and park it wherever the hell they want.
  • 8 7
 I really fear that e-bikes will make these problems worse.
  • 2 0
 F*CK yeah Grant
  • 4 1
 Bring back the guillotine. 1 flower = 1 head.
  • 2 1
 I’ve never been to Crested Butte. I have spent a good amount of time in CO though, so it’s on the list. Not this year.

It sounds like local laws and regulations for camping need revision. (A) Proper penalties for unauthorised camping - enforced by local police - to punish the few (B) Well organised pay as you go camping facilities to accommodate the many.

It’s tragic that visitors are disrespecting a beautiful wilderness. But perhaps with the right framework in place they could be managed in a way that helps them to enjoy and respect the local environment, while benefiting the local economy.
  • 3 1
 “Let’s make outdoor sports more accessible!!!”
  • 3 4
 @fullendurbro: If you think Texans are a problem, you haven't met a Californian.
  • 6 0
 @LukeBurgie: this is happening across the west with Covid. Every decent meadow is being tramped by RVs and four-wheelers this year. A real shame, people go to a lot of trouble to haul the commodities of civilization out of civilization.
  • 5 2
 I honestly can't believe what the towns of CB/CB South/Gunnison are doing right now with this promotion. I have only gone out of my local area once this year on an "off weekend" to CB. Ironically MTBR had just put out an article similar to this one about how to ride all the Gunnison area trails.

CB was more packed than I have ever seen it and I have been coming to CB for at least 15 odd years to kayak and bike. Used to be able to come over on a Saturday and have plenty of choices in the official OBJ campground. When we came over the other weekend on early Friday the whole OBJ valley dispersed camping was neck to neck with campers. No social distance at all. I give it one more year before that whole valley is torn up and is a complete dust/mud patch.

I can't count how many times I got dusted by TX, AZ, and FL vehicles. The camping neighbors next to us from TX had fires the whole time even though there was a ban. Trails were torn up so bad they were almost unenjoyable. Gothic road was just a parking lot.

I really feel bad for you locals from another local a pass over. Its happening here too, but damn...

Stay positive and come on over here when you need a break
  • 6 0
 Man, I cringe every time I see one of these Local Flavors articles pop up. Many of these places don't need any more press. Feel bad for the local riders and builders.
  • 4 3
 @ACree: Californian here. I can't speak for all of California, but I've never seen trash on our trails in Santa Cruz County.

I've also heard many out of towners comment on how courteous our riders are, and how they actually get out of the way if they know they are slower riders.

Maybe it's an SC thing, i dunno. Or maybe just an MTB thing in general ( I know we have some real pieces of work out here off the trail).
  • 1 0
 @swillett116: super true !!!
  • 1 11
flag DetroitCity (Aug 12, 2020 at 20:22) (Below Threshold)
 You don't own the land. You are just lucky to be using it like everyone else. Pipe down cowboy
  • 4 0
 @DetroitCity: classic Detroit, we do own the land actually, we all do its public land and it's being destroyed by jackass'
  • 3 9
flag DetroitCity (Aug 13, 2020 at 6:21) (Below Threshold)
 @JamesPBlaw: who are influenced by marketing. Like this ad from the crested Butte tourism. So the crested Butte tourism thinks its a good idea for people to come there, but not the few crybabies who live there. You don't own the land. Maybe in your pea sized brain you have convinced yourself you somehow own land that has been year for millions of years and will be here for millions after you. Let me know how owning the land works out for you.
  • 5 0
 @DetroitCity: Most of the locals think the Tourism Association needs to be disbanded. We don't need any more press. It's not just a "few crybabies" here - its hundreds of locals who feel that our home is being overrun and destroyed by visitors and the occasional second homeowner.
  • 1 0
 Grant! We love you and agree with you. Thanks for all you do.
  • 2 8
flag DetroitCity (Aug 13, 2020 at 6:58) (Below Threshold)
 @skibumsierra: here's how things work. If you don't like something, do something about it. Don't cry on pinkbike. Why haven't the locals used their power to have decisions made they all agree with? Because they don't all agree. A few of the get off my grass types doesnt represent the whole town.
  • 5 0
 @DetroitCity: LOL you don't understand how our town works? Our small town politics are quite confusing and convoluted (as most small town politics are I assume...) most of the actual locals aren't able to vote in the town of CB. People who live in Mt. CB or CB South have a different municipality and our voices aren't heard regarding the "town of CB." I've made my opinions known through our local paper (as with many other locals), not just complaining on the internet.
  • 1 5
flag DetroitCity (Aug 13, 2020 at 7:14) (Below Threshold)
 @skibumsierra: I respect that. You're more than a pinkbike crybaby. Some of these people complaining have probably never even been to crested butte. It's the nature of the internet now. You obviously feel strongly and have used the proper methods to express yourself as a local. It's just a bad look when this article comes out to bring positive attention, and all it does is bring crybaby locals. It shows that the town isnt organized in how they want to be presented to the visiting public.
  • 2 0
 @DetroitCity: The town of CB mostly cares about profits. Not about preserving our culture, our natural resources, or it's local workforce. We are being overrun by visitors and we don't need to promote our town anymore. It has enough tourism to be word of mouth from here on out.
  • 2 0
 @skibumsierra: The Town of CB doesn't control the tourism association and does not market the Crested Butte. The Board of County Commissioners gives the tourism association direction by being in control of the local marketing district tax, which is their budget. You can still advocate and have a vote no matter where you live in the valley! My dream is that for every $1 spent on marketing, a $1 is spent on stewardship like the incredible work that the CBCC does!
  • 6 0
 @DetroitCity: that's whole point. It's been there for millions of years and we want it to remain in good condition for our kids and grandkids to enjoy. Not be sold out for profits. Were simply asking for the town to represent the people who elected them and the tourists to respect the land there using. Not being crybabies as you might think.
  • 2 1
 @JamesPBlaw: obviously I was speaking based off my research in the pinkbike comments. I didn't realize there were politics involved.it sounds like this is way deeper than a few dirtbag mtbers leaving some trash.
  • 2 0
 @skelldify: LOL! I appreciate the great sarcasm.
  • 2 1
 @moturner: Every damn mountain range seems jam-packed with people these days. The Cascades? Overrun. The Sierras? Crammed full. The Rockies? Swarmed. I'm beginning to think that our mountains may need more large predators roaming around.
  • 2 0
 @zwa2: We are taking action with the USFS. Next year the two main camping drainages out of CB will be designated camping only with no dispersed camping option.
  • 1 1
 @ACree: Na man. The main problem is folks with colorado plates. At least in CB it is.
  • 10 0
 Wow, really stirred the hornet's nest with that one so I need to make a few things clear:

My opinion is my own, and does not reflect that of the organizations I work for. I'm just someone on the ground who sees how COVID and the subsequent changes in how people are recreating this year are impacting our area. I'm fortunate to work for a great non-profit that helps mitigate these impacts and tries to improve everyone's experience when they are lucky enough to come to Crested Butte.
I take pride in my work.
I want people to enjoy it here when they visit.
I want people to be educated, respectful, and diligent when they come here to leave it how they found it.
It is not necessarily mountain bikers whom are the culprits (I only sometimes find trash on trails that mountain bikers frequent).
Our backcountry has exceeded its carrying capacity this summer because of our cultural/societal changes in how people recreate during the pandemic.
It has become a lot of people who are either a. new and under-educated about how to camp and be outside, b. don't care, c. desperate to find camping in an area that is already overcrowded, or d. all of the above. Add that to the infection risk associated with all of that to people I care about, I believe that it is irresponsible to market ANY tourism as business as normal this year; which this, otherwise pretty dialed although very mistimed, article seems to be doing.
Also, @DetroitCity, I'm not just a crybaby local who thinks I own the land, I'm actually doing something to make everyone's experience better when they get to ride here. Seem's like you don't understand how things work here so come enjoy the trails and the community next year or whenever after. We're not all a bunch of 'get out, stay away' a*sholes, just very protective of a very special place that is being 'loved to death'.
  • 5 0
 @zwa2: We(CBCC) are currently working with the USFS to designate campsites around CB. The free for all on the forest that people have grown used to will no longer be the case after this summer. Camping will only be allowed at marked sites with metal fire rings. This will be the case for all drainages north of Cement Creek.
  • 2 0
 Thanks for the feedback @Happytreez and for yours and CBCC’s role as stewards for the trails/environment. 

Crested Butte are not alone with the land management issues you face. Working with tourism bodies, and trail associations globally for several years I am well aware of the fine balance between encouraging visitation and managing over-tourism.

Local Flavours is a long running series which our audience is familiar with and it acts as a long-term reference for people wanting to learn more about the riding in a destination.

Don’t discount the intelligence of the average Pinkbike travel reader. For the most part they understand the importance of packing out what you pack in and are respectful to people and places. There will always be bad eggs wherever you go.

The benefit that biking brings to people means that we'll continue to inspire people to travel for mountain biking, however we entrust Pinkbike readers to make smart travel decisions at this time.

Our travel content will continue to go hand in hand with our Trailforks Trail Karma initiatives which focus on giving back to trails and we will continue to share the message of safe and responsible recreation along with any travel content we produce.

Happy for you to reach out to me directly if you would like to discuss further.
  • 1 3
 “but prior to European colonization, the Utes were the original stewards of what is now Crested Butte.”

Sure, keep complaining about tourists but look we all did to the original inhabitants and have some perspective. No one is coming to murder you if you don’t relocate. White privilege at its finest.
  • 40 5
 Nothing to see here. Move along. CB is over rated - Limon is where you'll find the best trails in CO.
  • 5 1
 Yep, I hear the best trails are in Genoa, but you have to ask one of the locals for secret access.
  • 19 2
 Colorado is full of Texans and their Corona virus... Stay home, stay safe...
  • 17 3
 Colorado is CLOSED!! Actually heard Florida is where the biking is at. Go there.
  • 1 0
 @KUNTHER: Why not. Everyone else invades FL. We could use more people and more out of state and Canadian infected idiot drivers. But really, everyone go to CO. Everything is awesome there.
  • 22 4
 Beautiful scenery. My New England eyes don’t see anything other than green rated connector trails in these pictures though.
  • 2 0
 lol
  • 2 4
 10000 ft above sea level makes every way more harder.
  • 4 1
 @Unrealityshow: pretty sure the locals have acclimated by now.
  • 6 1
 People in the latest fashion riding the latest enduro bikes down greens. Yep, that's Colorado alright.
  • 16 1
 To all considering: This place ain't disneyland. It's not a resort. When you are out there, you are OUT THERE. Nobody is watching out for you and you will be stuck out there for a while until the volunteer SAR crew (did i mention they are volunteers?) bail you out.

You are at very high elevation and higher.
You dont have cell service.
You will get rained on.
You will need to get wet crossing creeks.

Bring a Map (and for the love of god please learn how to use it)
Bring extra food, water and clothing
Bring a friend
get your WFA at minimum, WFR reccommended.
First aid kit
and all 10 essentials for that matter. Be prepared to spend the night in an emergency.
Leave no trace - leave only tire prints, take only pictures.
  • 2 0
 I've seem some seriously mental people out on reno/flag on e-bikes and tube socks with nothing but a water bottle. It's f*cked right now.
  • 1 0
 No doubt. We had a run in with a cougar yo Teo last year.
  • 1 0
 @hi-dr-nick: Its insane.

Riding in the backcountry is no different than skiing or sledding in the backcountry. Risk management is still very important and having the proper knowledge to overcome difficult situations, whether it be an injury/medical emergency, wild animal, disorientation, or disabled vehicle.

I would liken it to drunk driving. You are not just putting yourself in very real danger unknowingly (or knowingly), but many others as well. In this case its the CBSAR team or any one else you happen to be with.
  • 1 0
 @MikeyMT: How'd that pan out? Rode Teo this past Friday and it was epic! But always thinking of how sitch's like that play out and how people react to the animal and vice-versa. You're reall out there on these trails. Just curious...
  • 16 3
 Heres a great CB story... closing day 2018 at the bike park.. dead rot tree falls across the trail, in the blind spot of a jump landing, in between laps ridden on that same trail!! The tree fell right before where Avery and Psycho rocks splits. I hit it direct on. Snapped the fork off my bike, impacted the tree chest first, was instantly paralyzed and have been in wheelchair ever since. Hooray!
  • 4 0
 That's tragic, freaks me out a bit, hang in there bro!
  • 8 1
 I was one of the top lifties that day. Tree fell due to wind on the second wood feature under the lift on avery I remember very well. Sorry that happened to you man.
  • 4 0
 @doller33 The Danimal keep rolling folks. He and the group of friends around him are inspiring.
  • 1 1
 Did insurance call it"an act of God"???
  • 1 5
flag givemefive (Aug 12, 2020 at 10:57) (Below Threshold)
 @scottlink: sounds like pure negligence by the resort keeping dead trees around..
  • 2 1
 @gunnyhoney: would love to hear what you guys knew or were told about the incident. Vail resorts has kept everything real tight lipped.
  • 5 0
 Life is crazy. Keep on rolling.

youtu.be/ZIIFhP8sI-c
  • 3 0
 @bman33: much love!! ????❤????
  • 1 0
 @dsoller33: welcome sir. (Brent in Denver)
  • 2 1
 @dsoller33: I had no idea you had been paralyzed at all which is crazy. I saw the tree down and I saw patrol on scene so I knew what happened obviously but I heard nothing about it through the company. Usually when we hear about stuff that happened on mountain it's through other employees that are on scene. But yeah it seems like they don't want people to know that stuff.
  • 16 4
 Overcrowded Colorado mountain resort town hires Mr Travelling Blogger Bro from Delaware to write a tourism puff piece in the middle of a pandemic. YIKES
  • 17 8
 Anytime there’s an article on Colorado, defensive comments from CoolRadBros pop up like clockwork. “Colorado’s full, go somewhere else, nothing to see here...” no wonder the rest of the western US looks down on you people nearly as much as Californians. Well, anyone is welcome to visit my area and ride our plentiful trails. Hell, bring your bright ass clothing and Sprinter vans. Also, half of your state is basically Kansas, so I don’t totally blame you.
  • 15 3
 People from Colorado always say to stay away from the state. Then the go to Moab and do the same thing they are complaining about.
  • 11 0
 Have you ever been here? This past year has been literally insane. I live down in Gunnison and I can't even stop to enjoy Crested Butte anymore. The lack of parking with an influx of people visiting makes it pretty tough for us who live in the valley. Let alone everyone that thinks they can park their "overlander" wherever they please.
  • 8 0
 The traffic is becoming untenable, the cost of living is going up dramatically, and the mountains are getting trashed by people with no respect at all for "leave no trace." I dont think its unreasonable that us people feel like what makes Colorado an amazing place is slowly slipping away. And where are you located? Id be happy to send people your way.
  • 7 0
 @rallyimprezive: Sadly, it's not just happeneing in Colorado.
  • 5 0
 When CO is frozen over just remember AZ is full, go elsewhere. Seriously though it is all over. Campsites in Northern AZ have been become trash dumps for the entitled overlander. Families who have never been taught camp etiquette are flooding the campgrounds. Oh and btw I found a smoldering campfire in Crested Butte (Lake Irwin) last month that I just happened to walk upon and immediately flooded with most of my remaining water. and last but not least Vail sucks!
  • 3 0
 Yeah well guess what, there's no point in advertising anything in this state. People come anyway but only even more will come if it keeps being advertised. Obviously these lands are for everyone but at a certain point there's only so much it and all of us can handle.
  • 4 1
 @Taggalongmtb: you're not wrong. Gunny and cb combined literally aren't big enough for the amount of people here. We only have like 5 gas stations in the whole valley for f*cks sake.

All these people complaining about how locals aren't welcoming enough or whatever, we don't need your extra tourism trust me. We make plenty of money from you jabronies.
  • 4 0
 @digitalsoul: you obviously don't understand how crowded it is.... People are going to come to our mountains to recreate, they leave trash and disrespect the locals... Then when they move here from wherever shitty city, they bring and expect the same rules, culture, and problems that they are moving away from.... Plus it drives up prices like crazy, so hardworking locals like my self and others can't afford to live here anymore....
  • 1 0
 @azdog: most coloRADBros ski in the winter, bruh
  • 9 2
 1. Don't write destination articles during a pandemic.

2. Locals should ask people to make an effort to respect the town and land and give guidance how to do so, instead of "don't come here" which is unrealistic. I'm pretty sure tourism drives the economy, and also pretty sure y'all still want jobs and money.

3. Plenty of people that visit these destinations don't trash the environment, so generalizing is insulting to us that are respectful.
  • 2 1
 You don't think we've tried to educate people? Where is an individual's responsibility to educate themselves on how to be kind to the outdoors?
  • 7 0
 Important Ommision: The Brick Oven in downtown CB has the best beer selection in Gunnison County and is owned by good riders who provide enormous support to the MTB community. Go there!
  • 9 0
 No love for The Handlebar bike shop? Good dudes there
  • 1 0
 Merely a Pivotal dereliction of the shop and where we ride. Thank you Titus for the shout out.
  • 6 1
 Dr Park is one of the best trails I've ever ridden. The decent feels like it goes on forever especially considering the speed you carry on it. Multiple times I kept thinking it's gotta be over soon, only to have another ribbon of trail around the corner. You earn it though, the climb to it at that elevation is painful on the lungs.
  • 7 1
 Always thought of Marin as the birthplace, but whatever, people have been riding clunkers downhill for a long time. Marin sure as hell isn't the riding destination Crested Butte is now.
  • 5 2
 Marin is the birthplace of mountain biking (mid to late 70s), not crested butte, but who is counting anyway. Marin's mountain biking sure as hell is lacking
  • 2 3
 @Albuscus23: Kind of ironic to call out bentonville for their outlandish claims, only to make a similar one about CB. I love both places, but Marin definitely has a longer MTB heritage than CB. At least he didn't trademark it.
  • 1 0
 @hardtailparty: very true, growing up in Marin I only had a handful of trails to ride. CB definitely has an advantage there
  • 1 0
 @hardtailparty: have you been to Crested Butte?
  • 1 0
 @rallyimprezive: yes, several times.
  • 7 0
 DO NOT come to Crested Butte. The locals even hate it. Try Denver, CO for some real riding. Wink
  • 5 1
 If you want to shred with a guide give us a call at Colorado Backcountry. We'd be glad to help you make the most of your time as you navigate the 750+ miles of trails in the valley. Big thanks to CBMBA and CBCC for all their amazing work building and maintaining our trails in the upper valley and Gunni Trails for doing the same in the southern part of the valley!
  • 7 1
 "CB has managed to fight off corporate encroachment over the years, an impressive feat considering its popularity." - You know the bike park is owned by Vail Resorts right?
  • 2 0
 Hell, the town is turning into a small Vail.
  • 8 2
 Sell your soul Crested Butte. Hey PinkBike, this is not JOURNALISM this is advertising...

"Presented by the Gunnison/Crested Butte Tourism & Prosperity Partnership"
  • 7 1
 CB is so overrated, the weather sucks and the trails are full of Covid. You should probably stay far away. Wink
  • 3 0
 CB is awesome, but tourons from COVID-rampant states are all over the place and while I would never normally say "don't come to Colorado"... DON'T COME TO COLORADO, GTFO and take your trash with you. Thank You! Smile

And WTF is up with these articles on CO in PB, stop it!
  • 5 0
 I mean its pretty but havent you ever heard that John Denver song "Arkansas mountain high"
  • 7 2
 Local Flavours: blowing up your hometown and favourite riding spots. With Enduro Goggles.
  • 2 0
 I love Crested Butte. Any one that visits should remember to be respectful to the land and the locals.
Here's a video of me taking Physco Rocks to Avery - sorry for the low quality - I cant figure out how to keep Youtube's compression from ruining it. And of course, its much steeper than it looks!
www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLisyxr61q4&t
  • 5 3
 Don't mind me just browsing PB on my high iron horse with my glass half full... Awesome video and photos! Colorado is a very welcoming place with a lot of amazing people. Please don't judge us by the comments on this article, come see for yourself. Yes, you might run into some bitter people on the trail or a destroyed campsite but those scenarios are rare. Also, almost every town in the Colorado Rockies offer some sort of uniqueness and mtb trails. CB is awesome but so is Cortez, Montrose, Telluride, Fruita, Breck, Steamboat, Winterpark and every city in the Front Range. Locals act like these are secrets but everyone here has the Trail Forks app. Plus, every dollar spent in a mtn town allows a trail builder to gains their angel wings.
  • 5 1
 Destruction of the natural environment due to over/uneducated use isn't an outlier in a lot of those places you listed, it's becoming the norm. Tragedy of the commons.
  • 3 1
 Wow..... First, Pinkbike: between trailforks and the tourism articles, you are ruining mountain biking. Promoting CB? Seriously? Whats next, an article pumping Fruita and Moab? ....Bromanos swarming to these places with no effort or dues-paying required, thanks to you. Second, illegal and overcrowded camping in Colorado - and many other places - is out of control.
Third, quit building fires during bans, and learn how to bury or better yet pack out your shit. Fourth, glad I bought 100 mountainous acres between CB and Denver to build & ride private trails. Last, that's the only hope going forward: private land and trails. There simply is not enough public land to go around.. For the cost of a high end spesh, yeti, or pivot, 30 guys could buy and build your own private getaway. I'm already looking for spot #2. Whoswithme
  • 1 0
 Lots of photos of the members of CBMBA and a blurb about them, but no information as to what they have actually been doing? Would love to hear how trail maintenance and development are actually going in CB.
  • 2 0
 Would have been cool if they had explored all the incredibly hard work the trail builders do. They are out there 7 days a week doing hard labor, cutting out trees, picking up human feces, building new trails and fences, among other things. Trail builders aren't given the credit they deserve.
  • 1 1
 This is where I fell in love w/ mountain biking in the late 80's. I was a teenager and my mom would drop me off for a week and I'd pedal out to Gothic, camp, and ride. It was a popular riding destination then but not all blown up at all. I often dream of going back but articles like this make me realize the place that was so magical 30 years ago no longer exists.

I really hope that pinkbike cancels Local Flavours. As mentioned above, it's irresponsible to promote travel during the pandemic and even outside of the pandemic things are already so blown up that we really don't need to add to overtourism.
  • 4 2
 Excellent article. Suppose to be there this summer! Just before this Covid-19 thing. See you next summer!
  • 2 1
 I've ridden lots of places in this country and out and Crested Butte still ranks as my favorite place to ride. I haven't been there for a while but hopefully I will soon.
  • 1 0
 Well crap... Absolutely the worst thing I could do today, at my desk at work, was read this article. Shame on you! This is a great piece.
  • 1 1
 Might want to check up on that whole "Deepest History" comment there Brice. The mountain biking may be unequivocal when comparing it to Marin, but don't discredit the hard work of the original clunkers.
  • 4 1
 This place sucks! The hippies stink and the trails are blown!
  • 4 0
 Did you just say "Utes"?
  • 2 1
 Crested Butte - a great place to ride if your local loop has too much singletrack.
  • 1 0
 lol so true. Outside of the bikepark, I feel CB trails are underwhelming. Great place for backcountry epics on a 120 bike. But meh for anything else if you want tech.
  • 1 0
 Great accurate Write up! The only problem is more people will now want to visit crested butte.
  • 2 0
 Glad I got to live there for 5+ years .
  • 2 0
 I was surprised to see a Yeti.
  • 1 0
 Are Ebikes allowed on all Crested Butte trails? My dad rides one and we are planning a trip there.
  • 3 0
 No e bikes on most (all?) of the trails in CB “proper”. Many trails in CB south are also moto legal and allow e bikes.
  • 3 1
 Hey I can see my house!
  • 1 0
 Amazing photos and info. I'll be coming back to this in a summer or two
  • 3 3
 I'll be there in a few days. Just got to durango. Thanks for the article.
  • 3 0
 Durango, never heard of it. Sounds like a turd.
  • 1 2
 @MonsterTruck: Looks pretty sweet to me! You doing the Colorado Trail Classic this weekend?
  • 4 1
 You really want to come to a town with so many local crybabies? Are you sure you want to come visit?
  • 1 3
 @skibumsierra: yes I'll be there. Laughing at the crybabies. Spending money in their town. Want to meet up for a ride? I'll wipe your tears if you want.
  • 6 1
 @DetroitCity: That's fine. We will take your money and laugh when you can't handle the climbs!
  • 1 4
 @skibumsierra: That's the spirit! That's how it should be. Entertainment, when the tourists come. Not complaining. They come, give you money, you laugh at them, you take some of the money and go clean up behind them. Wash, rinse, repeat. Hundreds of millions flood into your economy. The locals get entertainment, and the chance to do service to the earth.
  • 5 0
 @DetroitCity: We shouldn't have to clean up after them. People should be able to be decent human beings. If they want to go outside they need to understand what it means to be a steward of the land. Every single person that wants to play outside needs to respect the land that they are on. That's the biggest issue with tourism in the west. Also we don't see any of that money for ourselves - housing prices are out of this world and the pay doesn't match the cost of living. Most locals are desperately trying to stay local.
  • 2 0
 @skibumsierra: Atta girl Sierra!
  • 4 0
 @DetroitCity:The chance to do service to the earth is not picking up after jackasses who trash their camp spots. That is called picking up after jackasses. If you think that it is locals' duty to pick up after you because you spend money, you don't deserve to go anywhere in your 'sick camper van'. There are too many of those anyways.
  • 2 2
 @Happytreez: building trails is service to the earth. That's what I'm referring to. Picking up trash is picking up trash. I don't have a sick camper van personally. I'm not one of the people you are talking about either. I'm just making an observation it's poor taste to put out a tourism ad then have a bunch of people trashing it. Didn't anyone know this was coming out? The people and businesses in the article I'm sure agreed to be in it.
  • 2 4
 You didn't even ride the best backcountry descent in CB...Waterfall. Fail brochacho.
  • 2 5
 SHUT THE FUCK UP
  • 2 3
 hahahahah. Not helping w/ a response like that. You're right its irresponsible for me to send soft Pinkbikers through the heinous climbing required to get there. Dont worry man, that shit aint gonna get blown out.
  • 3 2
 @Nwilkes: actually you're wrong. First rule of Waterfall is don't talk about Waterfall. Second rule of Waterfall is you don't talk about Waterfall. Go blow up your own hometown trails. Leave ours alone.
  • 1 1
 @skibumsierra: we're coming for ya with out Sprinter Vans Tacoma's and Yetis you better watch out
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