FATMAP difficulty grade
This is an ambitious loop that takes you high above tree line on the Crystal Peak trail, with the eventual goal of Star Pass.
While this 35-mile loop with over 6,000 feet of climbing is substantial, the views from the top of Star Pass 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! This route begins from the trailhead on Brush Creek Road and climbs up and over the ridge on the 409 Trail, descending the technical Caves Trail.
Once into the Cement Creek drainage, it's a long climb to the Crystal Peak trail.
Once on Crystal Peak, the climb continues, only on steep singletrack.
Quickly you'll break out into the alpine--prepare to spend miles enjoying the above treeline singletrack! After crossing a saddle, you'll drop down and then climb back up on the Brush Creek Trail to reach Star Pass. Finally, it's (almost) all downhill from here! The descent down Brush Creek is fast, furious, and technical.
Exercise caution, as this trail has proved deadly in the past.
As long as you maintain some caution, enjoy the high-speed rock-filled descent as you rip back down into treeline, then continue on down the mountain, splashing through creeks and rattling through babyheads.
The singletrack widens into a doubletrack and then a dirt road, but the descent continues all the way back down to your car (save for a few small climbs).