This little-known hide-away area of Colorado lives quietly in the shadow of its more famous neighbor, Crested Butte.
Though only 30 minutes from Crested Butte, the Gunnison mountain biking season lasts much longer due to its lower elevation. Often biking will continue deep into October.
The best variety of Gunnison mountain biking rides are to be found at Hartman's Rocks, located just south of Gunnison airport. Bikers will find themselves amused and challenged for hours on end, tackling the more than 25 trails in the area.
This area with its variety of short to mid-length trails, is a great place to adjust your body to the altitude before heading into the mountain trails!
Another trail in the Gunnison mountain biking area, is the Deadman Gulch Trail. This advanced 20 mile loop is a challenging trail with many steep segments. It makes for excellent high altitude riding, with a lot of variety in terrain flashing by!
For more advanced Gunnison mountain biking, you can try the Deer Creek Trail. This 29 mile loop, taking 3 to 5 hours to complete, offers some fantastic views of the Elk and West Elk Mountains. You will encounter some really difficult ascents, but to balance things out you, will enjoy miles of easy riding through impressive aspen groves.
An intermediate Gunnison mountain biking ride is the Wager Gulch Mountain Biking Trail, a round trip of just under 10 miles. This trail consists of a rough four-wheel drive route leading to Carson, a well preserved ghost town in the San Juans.
After Carson, the trail continues up to the Continental Divide, where you can do further mountain biking in just about any direction!
The Strand Hill Trail is a short 8 mile loop ride. It consists of a few steep sections through some stunning Gunnison mountain biking terrain and groves of aspen.
An intermediate trail, the Lost Canyon Mountain Biking Trail of 24 miles, takes 3 to 4 hours to complete. Climbing from Gunnison town along a spur of the Colorado Trail, it offers a variety of riding options. Steep rocky climbs will test your technique, followed by mesa-top riding through aspen groves.
The McIntosh Loop Mountain Biking Trail includes advanced Gunnison mountain biking along its 35 miles. This is a beautiful trail, through a variety of terrain types. It follows old jeep roads, and offers great views of the Gunnison Valley and the West Elk Wilderness.
Once you get to Gunnison, be sure to get a good map at a local bike shop, to help you make the most of Gunnison mountain biking!