Photo Essay: A Perfect Fall in Crested Butte

Earlier this week we wrapped up our 2023 season with back-to-back trips in Crested Butte, Colorado.  These two trips were very different in terms of weather, conditions, and fall colors; while the first trip had cooler and rainy weather, perfect trail conditions and minimal fall colors, the second trip experienced warm/sunny weather, drier trail conditions, and incredible fall colors.  Which would you rather have?

As per usual, we brought along a camera on each ride to document the trip in photos for both our clients and you.  Check out our ride itineraries and photos below (we’ve combined trips into one set of images), and hopefully we’ll see you on a trip in the near future!


DAY 1: Lupine, Gunsight and Strawberry/Middle Cement

This was a new trail combination for us this year, as it served to be our “intro ride” on the first day of a tough 4-day trip… but make no mistake, there’s still plenty of tech and climbing to keep folks satisfied.   Starting from Mt. Crested Butte, each group started out on the relatively mellow Lupine and Gunsight trails before crossing the Slate River and heading back to town on the Lower Loops.  After a lunch stop in town at our guides’ house, we drove out to either Strawberry (trip 1) or Middle Cement (trip 2) for an afternoon loop.  Each total ride came in around 23 miles with 2500′ of climbing and just over 3000′ of descent.






DAY 2: RFBD and Doctor Park

Doctor Park is a bucket-list ride and one of the best downhills in the US… there’s virtually no arguing that point.  But we make the day even better by starting with a shuttle high up on Reno Ridge, where we come into the Reno-Flag-Bear-Deadman’s ride at the top, and get the best of that loop before dropping over to Spring Creek.  On the day we get three killer downhills (Flag Creek, Bear Creek/Deadman’s, and Doctor Park) while only having to conquer two climbs (Bear Creek and Doctor’s).  The Flag Creek descent starts out the day pretty mellow and flow, a low angle ripper that skirts the namesake creek and offers a bit of tech near the bottom.

Bear Creek is totally underrated as the middle section is essentially the definition of “techy flow”.  Or is it flowy tech?  Either way, it’s a perfect appetizer for the main course… Doctor Park.  From open meadows, to rowdy tech, to the flow-tastic “Jedi Woods” section, into the high desert bottom third, Doctor’s always brings the goods.  Today’s ride clocked in at 25 miles with 2700′ of climbing and almost 5500′ of descent.







DAY 3: Teocalli and Strand Hill

One of our favorite double loops, this one definitely pushes riders but it’s always a unanimous decision at the end of the day: these trails f*cking rock.  Teocalli starts with likely the hardest “rideable” climb on the Chasing Epic docket, a gentle 5-mile dirt road climb and then a super steep (and partially technical) 2-mile singletrack climb up to 11,300′.  All that effort is most definitely worth it, however, as the Teo descent is one for the books: five miles of tech, flow, steeps, and everything inbetween.

After cutting over to the other side of the valley on Death Pass and the Canal Trail, the Strand loop is much more mellow but the downhill is just as fun.  To us, Strand Hill offers some of the best bang for the buck in its 3-mile descent.  All told, today’s ride clocks in around 20 miles with 3500′ of climbing and descending.






DAY 4: Trails 403 and 401

We start the morning with a shuttle drop at the 403 trailhead, one of the best uses of shuttle vehicles on any of our trips… because without it, you’d have to pedal 8-10 miles up a steep, rough 4×4 road in order to complete the loop (not to mention riding back into town on Gothic Road after the 401 descent!).  403 starts with an overall “mellow” 1-mile climb to the summit, the only tough part is getting out of the truck and starting your ride at 10,800′!  The 403 descent is steep, rooty, and fairly gnarly in sections, which makes it one of our favorites in the CB area.

Once we hit the bottom, we take a left and climb Gothic Road to Schofield Pass (about 40 minutes), before hitting one last singletrack climb to the top of 401.  From there, it’s 5+ miles of singletrack bliss with some of the most beautiful views you’ll ever see.  And some pretty damn good riding too!  We finished up the trip today with 13 miles, 2200′ of climbing and 4000′ of descent.  







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AUTHOR: Steve Mokan

Steve is the owner (and founder) of Chasing Epic Mountain Bike Adventures, and contributes regularly to our blog. He's passionate about providing customers with incredible mountain bike vacations, and he loves photography and travel when he's not working. Truthfully, he loves those things when he is working too.