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Deer Creek Trail Crested Butte

Deer Creek Trail is together with the 401 Trail, Crested Butte’s most well known trail. Deer Creek is more challenging than the previous trails I have done in the Butte area.
It was freezing cold, and snowing, and I had 27 miles ahead of me. The trail was slippery, it was cold, and to make make things worse I crashed, and spent 30 minutes repairing my bike.. So did all of this make me hate the Deer Creek Trail?

Deer Creek Trail Crested Butte

Trail Stats & Information

Nearby City: Crested Butte
Length: 27.1 total miles
Trail Type: Loop
Skill Level: Aerobically: strenuous, with a lot of climbing and descending at high altitude. Technically: easiest-difficult
Duration: 3 to 6 hours
Trailhead Elev: 9000 feet
Top Elev: 10750 feet

Guide Book Description

This is hands-down one of the finest rides in the Crested Butte area. Awesome singletrack, high-alpine views, beautiful aspen forest, spectacular wildflowers, and some very technical riding all add up to an incredible mountain bike ride. Deer Creek Trail has a 9.7-mile section of continuous singletrack, one of the longest in the Crested Butte area. Tread: 3.0 miles on paved roads, 9.7 miles on singletrack, 11.7 miles on doubletrack, and 2.7 miles on paved bike path.

My Experience

I got an early start on a freezing and snowy Thursday morning, this was going to be my first ride in the snow in 2009, and the first time I wore my winter riding gear.
I’m going to skip the ride on the road, boring as usual, and get straight down to the 10 mile singletrack section.
Deer Creek Trail actually starts off on a moderate climb, and the 2 rides I had done the previous days had me feeling fit, and I was well within my time limit. The climb starts of pretty easy winding through trees, into the open, and then a tiny creek crossing… NOW this is where I started to bust my lungs!!.. I really tried to go all the way, but it was just too much, and the snow was giving me traction issues, I probably walked for 15 min. on this section. Then once at the top things get a hell of a lot easier, and the real fun begins. The trail shoots down through open spaces, and then disappears into the trees, giving you just enough space to zigzag past them. This followed by another moderate climb and then miles of open mountain meadow with a wonderful singletrack cutting through it… sweeeeeeeetttt!!!! The singletrack is fantastic and the views are superb.


Oooohh Yessss, this is a real gem, the singletrack section is superb both the trail and the views. When I did this trail it was freezing and snowing, but I still loved it. This trail has an extreme remote feeling to it, or at least when I was did it, and you feel like you are the only person on earth!!
What I really do not like about this trail, is the amount of road milage that has to be taken to make this a loop. My advice to everyone like myself who does not like road riding, is to ride this beauty as an “Out & Back”, that would make it 20 miles of singletrack.

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : None
Wild Life : Lots of Deer
Scenery : Fantastic Scenery
Other : Ride as an 20 mile “Out & Back” and NOT as a 27 mile road loop

My Trail Rating : 9.5 / 10 just the singletrack ….. 7 / 10 using road loop


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