First-Time Visitor’s Guide to the Crested Butte Bike Park

Landscape photo of mountain peak in Crested Butte Colorado in fall with golden aspen leaves

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The trails around Crested Butte, Colorado are world-famous for their epic views, wildflower blooms, aspen fall colors, killer descents, and lung-burning climbs. If you prefer to leave out the lung-burning climbs (🙋‍♀️), head to the Crested Butte Bike Park.

With a high-speed lift and over 30 miles of trail within the park – plus many more miles that you can connect into outside the bike park – the Crested Butte Bike Park is definitely worth a visit for any mountain biker heading to Colorado.

New to bike parks? Check out my Bike Parks 101 post

Crested Butte Bike Park at a Glance

Bike park stats

  • Location: Crested Butte, Colorado
  • Bike park season: Depends on snowpack, but typically June through September
  • Hours: 9am – 5pm; some Fridays lifts run until 7pm (hours can vary, so check updates online)
  • Miles of trail: 30+ miles
  • Elevation high: 10,335 ft
  • Vertical drop: 971 ft
  • Lifts: Red Lady Express high-speed quad
  • E-bikes allowed? No

Crested Butte Bike Park map

Bike Park Tickets & Season Passes

You can purchase full-day tickets, multi-day tickets, or season passes to Crested Butte Bike Park. Tickets are sold at the bike shop right in front of the Red Lady Express lift or you can also buy them online to avoid the long lines.

Red Lady Express Lift

There is one lift for mountain biker’s at Crested Butte Bike Park and it’s Red Lady Express. The elevation at the top is 10,335ft, so when you get up there, gasping is quite normal.

The bike racks on this lift are hanging racks, which are a bit trickier to load than the platform racks found at most bike parks.

If you need help loading your bike, don’t hesitate to ask the lifties.

Crested Butte Bike Park Trail Guide

There are over 30 miles of singletrack networked throughout the Crested Butte bike park and there area plenty of options for pretty much all types of riders. However, I will say that full-on DH mountain bikers might find the terrain at CB a tad ‘easy’ compared to other bike parks.

The 30 miles at Evolution bike park go quickly. If you’re charging, you can definitely ride every trail in the park in a day.

Trail map at Crested Butte Bike Park in Colorado

My Favorite Trails

I really love Hotdogger as a warm-up. It’s fast and flowy and not at all technical. It’s a great way to start at day at the bike park.

Other good trails that are on the easier side are Awakening (so awesome!), Lower Awakening, and Frequency. These trails are especially spectacular in the fall when the aspens are changing.

As for the jump trails like Avery and Timeline, they aren’t my favorite, but they’re worth checking out. I find the kickers and tabletops at Evolution Bike Park to be hard to judge and clear, but I’m not the most comfortable in the air, so maybe it’s just me…

Crusader is probably the most challenging jump trail with man-made features likes drops and ramps.

If you want some old-school stuff head over to Wood’s Trail, which is one of my favorites on the mountain for its rocky gardens and steep pitches. There are some cool wooden features to test your skills as well. Step it up big time on Captain Jack and Psycho Rocks. Both are expert trails and require honed rock garden-navigating skills.

Perhaps my favorite run on the mountain is Westside. It’s rocky, fast, old-school, and long. It’s also a hiking trail, so watch out for pedestrians!

If you want a bit of pedaling (remember that you’re at 10,000ft) head out to Meander or Prospector. They’re an easy pedal if you like XC stuff.

You could also link up Meander to Snodgrass and take Washington Gulch Road to the paved bike path that climbs back up to the bike park. Amazing views of the mountains and the resort.

Bike Park Gear

Gear up for the bike park with my top bike park gear picks:

Crested Butte Bike Shops & Rentals

Evolution Bike Park Rental/Demo Center: located right at the base of Red Lady Express, the Evolution rental/demo center has a fleet of tuned-up DH and trail bikes as well as full body armor. You can also buy park tickets here.

Handlebar Bike Shop: Handlebar bike shop in town offers Norco and Intense bikes for rent.

Big Al’s Bike Shop: Big Al’s probably has the widest selection of bikes in Crested Butte. They offer premium, mid-range, and standard bikes for all levels of rider and budget.

Trails Outside The Bike Park

The Crested Butte Bike Park is pretty awesome, but I think I would get bored after two or three full days on the lift. So it’s a good thing that Crested Butte has some pretty amazing trails spread throughout the surrounding ridges and valleys.

Below are a handful of my favorites. Be prepared to “earn your turns”, though. Most trails require a hefty grunt before you start descending.

Lush green landscape view out over river in Crested Butte Colorado

Dr. Park

SO FUN. This is by far my favorite – and many others’ favorite – trail in Crested Butte. The descent is long, fast, varied, and truly epic. The only caveat is that there’s a brutal 3-mile fire road climb to get to the top even if you shuttle most of the way to the river crossing.

If you don’t have a shuttle, add on another 9 miles of road climbing.

You could shuttle all the way to the trailhead (like I did) if you have a high clearance 4×4 vehicle. This requires a shallow river crossing.

401 Trail

This is probably the most iconic trail in Crested Butte. It’s beautiful and not too difficult to access or pedal. In the spring when the wildflowers are blooming the scenery is simply incredible. Either shuttle to the top or grind up Gothic Road.

Strand Hill

This is a fun and relatively easy loop about 20 minutes outside of town. You could add it on after doing the Teocalli Ridge Trail (which I didn’t really love…) but it’s a great standalone loop as well. The climb up manageable and the down is super duper fun. On TrailForks the Strand Bonus is the climb and the Strand Hill is the down.

Where to Eat and Drink

Despite its small size, Crested Butte has some great places to eat and drink:

  • Secret Stash: The best pizza in Crested Butte!
  • Sherpa Cafe: Authentic and tasty Himalayan food
  • Ryce Asian Bistro: A super popular Asian-inspired restaurant with delicious noodle dishes and big portions
  • Bonez: Good Mexican food on Elk Ave with DIY guacamole and creative drinks
  • Public House: A cozy place to grab a burger and beer
  • Third Bowl Homemade Ice Cream: It’s named Third Bowl for a reason…
  • Camp 4 Coffee: A super cute place to grab coffee and a pastry in the morning
  • Princess Wine Bar: My favorite bar in Crested Butte (they serve great cocktails too!). Super chill with a beautiful garden and live music

Where to Stay

There are tons of Airbnb and Vacation Rentals in the area. These are always my go-to options if I’m not camping.

Camping

  • Oh Be Joyful Campground: a rustic and remote campground about 7 miles from the bike park. No services
  • Gothic Campground: pretty far out there, but gorgeous. No services
  • Cement Creek Campground: about 14 miles from the bike park, a forest service campground with toilets

Hotels: There are a lot of hotels in Crested Butte to choose from. Top of the list is Cristiana Guesthaus – a family-run bed and breakfast located in downtown CB. They offer bike storage and two bike cleaning stations!

Best Time to Visit

The Crested Butte Bike Park typically opens in early June and closes down in September or early October. Toward the end of the season (late September-ish) the Red Lady Express is only open on the weekends, but you can still pedal the trails during the weekday if that’s your thing.

As for when to go, anytime during the summer is really great. The wildflowers in the spring are stunning – especially on trails outside the park – and in the fall the golden aspens make the views pretty magical.

Stand of aspen trees with leaves turning golden in fall

Looking for more bike park action? Check out these posts:

Have you ridden at the Crested Butte Bike Park? What are your favorite trails? Leave a comment below!

Learn everything you need to know about visiting the Crested Butte Bike Park in Colorado including best trails to ride, where to eat, & more!
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