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Greg Heil on Trail 401

The Classic Central Colorado MTB Road Trip

Take a classic Central Colorado road trip from Denver International Airport to the world-renowned destination of Crested Butte.

Mountain Biking Difficult, Severe, Extreme

Greg Heil on Trail 401
Greg Heil on Trail 401 Photo: Marcel Slootheer


If Crested Butte isn't on your mountain biking hit list yet, well, it's time to add it.

As one of two towns where mountain biking began in the USA, Crested Butte is arguably the original mountain bike destination. But unlike some mountain bike destinations where the trails have been closed to bikes or that haven't kept up with the times, new trail development has kept the Crested Butte trail system fresh and entertaining.

Unfortunately, Crested Butte isn't close to anything. If you're traveling from out of state—or out of country—you could fly into the Gunnison airport… but it's not cheap. So, your next most logical option is to fly into Denver, which unfortunately is a whopping 4 hours and 30 minutes of driving away.

But don't despair! Along the way from Denver to Crested Butte, you'll drive by some of the most famous trails in Colorado—trails like Buffalo Creek and the Monarch Crest. You can't just drive on by without sampling these world-class rides, so why not turn your expedition to Crested Butte into the perfect Central Colorado MTB road trip?!

This guidebook gives you the 4 must-do trails along your journey from the airport to Crested Butte, and culminates with the two best rides in Crested Butte. Begin your journey with a technical acclimatization ride on Dakota Ridge, then head up to Little Scraggy in the Buffalo Creek trail system. Tag Georgia Pass via the Colorado Trail from Kenosha Pass, then hit one of the best-known rides in the country: the Monarch Crest. Finally, settle into Crested Butte life by shredding Doctor Park and the burly 804 Loop.

What if you have more time or are more ambitious with your riding days? Well, you could always drive further from Denver and head to a destination like Durango, but that adds a lot more driving to your route. Instead, simply add in more trails along your existing route.

If you want to spend more time in one place, tack on more rides in Crested Butte—check out the dedicated Crested Butte guidebook, here.

If you want to hit more trails along your route, fill in the itinerary with some of these options: — Apex LoopBuffalo Creek IMBA Epic LoopMidland TrailsCottonwood LoopHartman Rocks

However you choose to mix and match the routes from this guidebook, one thing is certain: this will be one of the best mountain bike road trips of your life!

Routes included

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