I had the pleasure of spending 4th of July in Crested Butte, CO this year. It was my first time there, and hopefully I’ll get back soon. Love that town!! Friendly people, bike racks in front of every house, everyone riding their beach cruisers around. My kinda spot. For my “Freedom Day” ride, I got to hit the magical 401 Trail.
It’s the closest thing to the Sound of Music I’ve found in America. I felt like I was in Austria. Serene and remote feeling, not a soul on the trail. In total, the ride is around 15 miles with 2,400′ climbing. Much of the climbing is done as a well-paced fire road climb up Gothic Road. Even though it’s fire road, the views are marvelous, making the climb enjoyable – plus, it gives you an idea of what you’re about to descend, adding to the motivation.
Once you ride around Emerald Lake and reach Schofield Pass, the singletrack begins, and you climb a little more. Even on July 4th, I hit some snow drifts here.
Eventually, you top out, and it opens to magical views and then… you descend a sublime thin ribbon of singletrack through the BEST scenery I’ve ever seen on a bike ride. The hills are alive, part rain forest, blooming wildflowers… lush and green.
Towards the bottom there’s a little climbing and “normal” sections, but you go through aspen groves and end at the trailhead with the sweetest taste in your mouth. This trail certainly is special, and everybody should put this on their list. Can’t wait to get back and try some more trails in the area.
After the ride, I made it back to town in time for the annual 4th of July parade. I stashed some chairs in a primo spot before leaving on my ride – lucky, because the street was packed now, and Angela and the girls were sitting pretty. Great small town vibe, much like the parade at home in Mammoth – but the turnout was huge and there were many more floats. We enjoyed Bloody Mary’s from The Last Steep as the parade marched past. At the end of the parade, the fire department water fight was a blast (no pun). The hoses went wild, and the kids were all stoked, including Lucy. Good times. Crested Butte, you have not seen the last of the Jacoby’s!
Helpful Links, trail maps, ride beta, if you plan on riding 401 in Crested Butte:
- Singletracks Blog about the 401 Trail
- Another good blog on Crested Butte bike vacations
- 401 Trail page on MTB Project
- Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association
- Mountain Bike Trails USA