Crystal Peak -> Hunters Creek Lollipop

Crested Butte

Salida

A challenging climb to one of the highest points near Crested Butte leads to a fantastic downhill.

Mountain Biking Severe

Distance
31 km
Ascent
1.1 km
Descent
1.1 km
Duration
3-4 hrs
Low Point
2.9 km
High Point
3.8 km
Gradient
10˚
Crystal Peak -> Hunters Creek Lollipop Map

If you want to get away from the crowds in Crested Butte, you're going to have to work for it. It's possible, but you'll have to skip the most well-known trails and also be prepared to pedal (and hike) up thousands upon thousands of vertical feet. But if you do, you might just have some fantastic trails all to yourself!

Description

This lollipop/lariat route up Crystal Peak and down Hunters Creek is one such remote ride. The route as mapped begins at the Deadman's Trailhead and begins by climbing the dirt road. You'll soon peel off onto the Cement Creek trail and continue climbing some gorgeous singletrack, which you'll later descend. The climbing continues on another forest road until you turn left on the Crystal Peak singletrack where, you guessed it, you'll keep on climbing! In total, you'll climb over 10 miles before you reach the high point of the route.

The Crystal Peak trail takes you to Starr Pass, which is probably the highest-elevation bike-legal singletrack trail in the Crested Butte area. As you can imagine, the views are to die for! On top of the Pass, you're truly above treeline and are surrounded by jagged mountain peaks and alpine tundra. While trails like 401 barely sneak above treeline, Star Pass is truly in the tundra—you'll top out at 12,336 feet above sea level! Take some time to soak in this incredible zone, because once you begin descending, you'll leave it behind quickly.

The route rips down the Brush Creek trail for about a mile before taking a left on Double Top to get over to Hunters Creek. Now comes the real punch-in-the-gut: even though you've already done 10 miles of climbing, the climbing isn't over yet. Doubletop requires another grunt to get back up the ridge, with substantial hike-a-bike required on the eroded singletrack.

But once you reach the top of the ridge, it's finally, finally time for the true descent!

The beginning of the descent on Double Top can be rough and rowdy, but after turning onto Hunters Creek, the trail mellows considerably. Hunters Creek is a relatively smooth singlerack, despite being punctuated by the occasional rock garden and root web, but it's an absolutely stunning descent! This little-ridden trail flows down loamy black dirt singletrack as it weaves through wildflowers and pine trees. A few pedally sections are interspersed with fast downhill ripping that will leave your brakes burning!

Finally, you'll drop out onto the Cement Creek trail and enjoy even more mellow descending down flowy singletrack, back to the road and back to the Deadman's Trailhead. And even on the busiest of days, you might not have seen another soul this deep in the mountains!

Difficulty

Severe

Widely variable, narrow trail tread with steeper grades and unavoidable obstacles of 15in/38cm tall or less. Obstacles may include unavoidable bridges 24in/61cm wide or less, large rocks, gravel, difficult root sections, and more. Ideal for advanced-level riders.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

July, August, September, October

Features

  • Flow
  • Technical
  • Picturesque
  • Singletrack
  • Roots
  • Rock Gardens

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area