FATMAP difficulty grade
Slate River Road parallels the Slate River as it climbs slowly up the bottom of the valley.
While Slate River Road is easily accessible from Crested Butte, either by driving up the road until the pavement ends and the snow begins or by pedaling from downtown, it’s impossible to overstate how spectacular the views are from this road! The narrow valley is formed by soaring mountains on both sides, with the ridges to the southwest providing an especially imposing view. As you work your way up the road, soon a series of snowcapped peaks and beautiful-white ridges will begin to come into view.
This is the Paradise Divide area, with notable peaks including Treasury Mountain (13,462ft), Purple Mountain (12,958ft), Augusta Mountain (12,559ft), and more.
The further you climb up the valley, the more impressive the views get! Depending on the conditions, it may be possible to form a loop from the town of Crested Butte with the Lower Loop trail.
However, this is dependent on how much traffic compaction that trail has seen, since Lower Loop isn’t groomed or maintained at all.
Slate River Road is a multi-use area that is popular with snowmobilers, fat bikers, cross country skiers, snowshoers… and just about any form of over snow travel.
This popularity helps keep the road well-packed and navigable by all users, but be sure to exercise common courtesy and trail etiquette as you share the trail with all the other users. As such, don’t expect to find perfectly-groomed fat track here.
Rather, Slate River is a classic snowmobile trail-style fat biking experience, meaning conditions will vary greatly depending on the weather and amount of traffic, and riders should anticipate whoops in the trail and potentially a churned up surface.