After each Chasing Epic trip, we send out a rider survey asking for feedback on a number of aspects of our trips; one of those questions asks our riders which trail or ride they liked the best. And each year, we compile those answers to give you favorites from each of our destinations… some of which you’ll surely agree with, and some you won’t. To us, there are a number of factors that go into a “favorite ride”, and it might not be the trail or route itself. Was the weather good, did you get a unique or amazing experience, was the group super fun?
Without further delay, here are our riders’ favorite trails for each destination, along with a brief description to give you an idea of what to expect. Oh, and we added a staff pick to each location as well, to add an element of debate!
Brevard: Trace Ridge
Once described as “irresponsibly fast”, Trace Ridge is old-school Pisgah: meaning fast, eroded, and super chunky. Trace is mostly a fall-line trail that starts with a log drop and only gets faster and more fun as you get going. Usually done as part of a double-loop ride with Spencer Gap and Fletcher Creek, Trace is a perfect ending to a solid day on the bike as it ends right at the parking lot where cold beers and salty snacks undoubtedly await.
Staff Pick: Bennett Gap
Crested Butte: Doctor Park
In past years, Doctor Park has won this contest by a landslide… but this year it was a slightly closer contest with Trail 403 coming in a close second. That said, Doctor Park is likely one of the best descents in the US, and is certainly a top-5 for just about everyone that rides it. With 5 miles and 2500′ of amazing descent, Doctor Park throws a little bit of everything at you. Start with a wide open high-alpine meadow, then drop into techy, chunky switchbacks and steeps, then hit the uber-flowy Jedi Woods aspens, and finally a bit of high-desert tech before you end at the Taylor River. Our heartrate is going up just thinking about it.
Staff Pick: Doctor Park (with Teocalli Ridge a close second)
Fruita/Moab: The Whole Enchilada
Another trail/ride that’s been largely uncontested as a favorite, the Whole Enchilada is most definitely deserving of the title… it’s likely one of the top bucket-list rides for any mountain biker in the world. Whether you do the entire ride (starting at Geysir Pass, typically in the fall) or start lower down at Kokopelli or Hazard County (in the spring, due to snow up high), it’s an epic all-day ride that will blow your mind. The number of ecosystems and different trails will challenge you like no other. That said, our rides in Fruita – specifically the Kokopelli loops and Lunch Loops – are getting more and more votes, so maybe 2023 is the year The Whole Enchilada gets taken down?
Staff Pick: Lunch Loops w/ Holy Cross and Gunny Loop
Monarch Crest Enduro: Greens Creek
This was our closest contest, with Greens Creek edging out Fooses Creek and Canyon Creek by a matter of one and two votes, respectively. And who can argue? For us, this one comes down to conditions and weather, because they’re SO variable in the summer. Greens Creek is a 9-10 mile descent over 4000′ vertical, and you’ll be pushed to the limit with the non-stop tech and chunk… especially if you’re nailed by a storm or get muddy conditions. Greens is typically the first of two rides on our “Double Shuttle” day, which means you need to save energy for the afternoon ride on Fooses Creek, which is no joke either. Now that we think about it, our Monarch Crest trip is chock full of ridiculously awesome rides, so bring your best!
Staff Pick: Fooses Creek
Revelstoke BC: Upper and Lower Boondocker
Unfortunately we’re no longer offering Revelstoke trips for 2023 and beyond, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have a favorite trail from 2022! Boondocker is in the Boulder Mountain trail system, and is one of the best steep black trails in Revelstoke. The tech, steeps, and chunk will push your limits and leave you smiling from ear to ear, especially if you’re lucky enough to ride it in good conditions. If it’s dry and loose, the pucker factor goes up a notch or two!
Staff Pick: Frisby DH
Squamish BC: Entrails to Boney Elbows
In an unexpected upset, Entrails to Boney Elbows took the victory in Squamish, overtaking In-N-Out by a single vote. While In-N-Out has the wow factor of a huge, wide open slab, Entrails and Boney Elbows offer tighter tech riding, steeper slabs, and lots of slow-tech moves that are sure to challenge every rider on our trips. There are always multiple lines with increasing difficulty, which allows for everyone to push themselves while still feeling comfortable. For 2023, Squamish will be part of our Sea to Sky trip along with Whistler and Pemberton, so it’ll be interesting to see how it stacks up against new competition!
Staff Pick: Cake Walk to Ditch Pig
Sun Valley: Imperial Gulch
If you’re lucky enough to hit the Imperial Gulch downhill with perfectly tacky conditions, mountain biking doesn’t get much better. From top to bottom, you’re looking at a 5-mile descent (with a rude 10 minute climb in the middle) that’s the very definition of flow… and the views are mind-blowing to top it off. Imperial Gulch is the perfect combination of tight forest riding and wide-open meadows; it’s usually the last trail we ride on our trips as part of a loop with Greenhorn Gulch, which is the climbing part of the ride. There’s not much tech to speak of, but after three full days of big rides in Sun Valley, we usually don’t get many complaints once riders reach the “flow state”.
Staff Pick: Wolftone-Curran
Bonus Picks: Tucson, Durango and Sea to Sky
All new for 2023, we thought we’d give you a few staff picks from our scouting trips this year… you know, so you can judge for yourself when you join us next season.
Tucson: Bug Springs
Bug Springs is part of the Lemmon Drop, which we’ve got scheduled on the third and final day of riding in Arizona. Bug has a short hike-a-bike to start, but once you’ve got that behind you, it’s an amazing combination of fast, flowy, and chunky all rolled into one amazing desert descent. It’s a great way to get you warmed up for the super-chunk of Milagrosa (which was a close second, BTW) without being too over-the-top getting your day started. Oh, and the views aren’t too shabby either!
Durango: Graysill Creek
Who knew you could find such a perfect downhill trail in the middle of nowhere? Graysill is part of one of our favorite rides that includes the Colorado Trail and Cascade Creek, but it takes a few hours of riding before you finally get to sample this sweet tech trail. Graysill drops about 1500′ in just over 2 miles, so it’s quite steep for Colorado standards. To us, it’s the perfect combination of speed, flow, tech, and steeps… totally rideable, but there are spots that will definitely push your limits.
Sea to Sky BC: Dark Crystal (Whistler)
We’ll just go ahead and say it… Dark Crystal is one of our favorite trails anywhere in North America. Sitting on the Blackcomb side of Whistler Resort (but not accessible by the lifts), Dark Crystal is the perfect black trail for BC: steeps, slabs, chutes, tech, and just enough to push everyone that rides it. The pitch seems perfect, the loamy dirt provides traction for days, and there are plenty of A-line features to session and challenge you along the way. The only downside? The climb to get to the top is a stiff one. Creampuff in Pemberton was a very close second, for those wondering!