West of 105 magazine issue 1, autumn 2018

Page 16


September is the month when deciduous trees in the high mountains go through their annual metamorphosis and blanket the landscape with a patchwork of yellows, reds, and oranges - meaning it’s the best month for mountain biking in the area, and not just for the spectacular scenery but also because the intensity of summer has waned making it much more comfortable. CRESTED BUTTE A perfect example of a classic Colorado mountain town, Crested Butte played a pivotal role in creating the entire sport of mountain biking, and with 700 miles of singletrack, including trails


for every skill level, there may not be a better place to mountain bike … anywhere. The Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association, the authority on trails in the area, differentiate trails from rides, the latter being a collection of trails that make for a good day in the saddle. The Dyke Trail is just 5.5 miles long, but it is one of the more advanced trails in Crested Butte. The quintessential autumn trail, there are tough climbs, at least one tough descent and stream crossings that combine to make a ride that is as tough as it is beautiful. Amazing views of Ruby Peak and Mt. Owen as well as a trail littered with aspens

makes this a must-ride trail. If you are only in Crested Butte for one ride during the fall color change, make it the Dyke.

country rides that connect to some of the legendary rides in and around the area. crestedbuttemountainbike. com

Somewhat easier is the Strand Hill Trail, a Crested Butte classic. Another trail that is perfect for autumn thanks to the aspen forest it passes through, it also contains amazing views of Teocalli Mountain. And if you are after something brand new, the six-mile Baxter Gulch Trail is the newest in the region. For those just starting out, Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s Evolution Bike Park has a network of over 30 miles of singletrack trails that include lift-served downhill trails and cross-



The yin to Crested Butte’s yang, Gunnison is just 30 miles south of Crested Butte and they’re linked by a free bus. Trails here range from the 1.2-mile Luge Trail, a fast and fun ride that is great for beginners, to the The Hartman Rocks Big Loop, a 30-mile loop with an ascent (and a descent) of 3,514 feet. This autumn you can join the good people at Gunnison

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