Guidebook

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.

Description

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 Loop
Buffalo Creek IMBA Epic Loop
Midland Trails
Cottonwood Loop
Hartman 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!

Dakota Ridge Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Dakota Ridge Loop

Denver
12.4 km
387 m
387 m
One of the most technical trails on the Colorado Front Range—an enduro rider's dream!
Extreme
Private
Little Scraggy Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Little Scraggy Loop

Buffalo Creek
38.6 km
815 m
815 m
New school flow combines with Buffalo Creek's classic granite rocks and beautiful views to create the popular Little Scraggy Loop.
Difficult
Private
Colorado Trail: Kenosha Pass to Breckenridge
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Colorado Trail: Kenosha Pass to Breckenridge

Salida
50.3 km
1,670 m
1,917 m
This beautiful section of the Colorado Trail offers high-quality bike-legal singletrack the entire way, making for an ambitious day ride or an excellent portion of a bikepacking route.
Difficult
Private
Monarch Crest
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Monarch Crest

Salida
58.6 km
1,043 m
2,222 m
This epic trail provides high alpine ridge top riding at treeline with views for hundreds of miles in all directions, finishing with a ripping descent down the mountain.
Difficult
Private
Doctor Park
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Doctor Park

Crested Butte
33.3 km
938 m
938 m
Not only is it considered the best backcountry singletrack descent in Crested Butte, but Doctor Park ranks as one of the best singletrack descents in the nation!
Severe
Private
The 804 Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

The 804 Loop

Crested Butte
47.2 km
1,589 m
1,589 m
A beautiful high-alpine trail connected into a mega loop.
Severe
Private