Another one of Crested Butte’s favorite trails, the Dyke Trail.
I woke up this morning to rain!!, I waited until 11 o clock, and decided to go ahead with the ride.
Did the Dyke trail live up to her reputation?
Trail Stats & Information
Nearby City: Crested Butte
Length: 14.1 total miles
Trail Type: Loop
Skill Level: Aerobically: moderate to strenuous, with a fair amount of climbing at altitude. Technically: easiest-difficult
Duration: 2 to 4 hours
Trailhead Elev: 9000 feet
Top Elev: 10500 feet
Guide Book Description
A lot of road riding to get to some singletrack, but once you hit the singletrack all that road riding will seem worth it. This ride has one of the finest sections of singletrack in the Crested Butte area. There are incredible views, meadows, and hillsides filled with wildflowers; stream crossings; and tight, twisting singletrack that will put a huge smile on your face. Do this ride. Tread: Dirt road, 8.6 miles on doubletrack, and 5.5 miles on singletrack.
First of all, if I had not had so many recommendation for this trail, I probably would have given it a miss, for just one reason, almost 9 MILES!! on a dirt road for 5.5 miles of singletrack. The first thing that came to my mind was.. Why not a total 11 miles “Out & Back”?
It had rained pretty hard last night, and up in Crested Butte that meant snow, I started the ride pretty late for my doing, at noon. Within the first 30 min. I knew I should not have started this ride. I know I could have turned around and gone back, but I carried on. Although it was dry, and not really cold, the wind was ferocious. The 9 miles from Horse Ranch Trail head to the top of Irwin Lake Campground was horrible, and I hated every second of it, so lets jump to the start of the actual singletrack.
The singletrack starts of nice, smooth and fast downhill, just when you want to start singing for joy, you start swearing out loud, the narrow trail suddenly takes a 70 degree angle dive into a narrow creek. Doing this prepared and slowly would be an achievement, but I approached it like a Greased Whippet on fire!!. Luckily for me and the bike, I managed to come to a standstill just inches from the point of no return!
The Dyke really is a sweet singletrack very scenic, but some sections that come completely as a surprise are very technical, and are just waiting to ruin your day. The first section is all down, and it’s fast and furious, and I did have some issues with the trail being slippery because of the wet leaves on the trail.
Once the trail bottoms out, it is followed by a pretty brutal climb, it is do-able, but I had to get off numerous times and walk, and even the walking was difficult ‘cos of the slippery leaves. The climb probably took me about 30 minutes, but the reward was well worth it, the last section was pure downhill singletrack mayhem.. dodging through the trees at high speed.. Absolutely Fantastic!!!
The Dyke is one hell of a sweet ride, BUT, take my advice, DO NOT do the loop!!.. No one wants to experience such a sweet singletrack like this with a 9 mile crap road ride.. Ride this as an “Out & Back” that means 12 miles of singletrack, that can easily be done in 3 hours, and BOTH directions offer fantastic ups and downs.
The loop I did as mentioned in the books I would rate this trail a 4, BUT, doing an “Out & Back” as I suggest, i would rate this trail an 8
Traffic on Trail : None
Wild Life : Deer
Scenery : Nice Scenery
Other : Ride as an 12 mile “Out & Back” and NOT as a 14 mile road loop