Crested Butte Mountain Biking: Reno / Flag/ Bear / Deadman’s Gulch: Expert
Information & Conditions: Reno / Flag/ Bear / Deadman’s Gulch: Expert
Status: Good to Go!
Current Conditions: Good to go!
NOTE: This trail was rebuilt last summer and has some new features, including downhill travel only for motorcycles on the Deadman’s switchbacks. Thank your local CBMBA members for their help.
This ride is actually a linking of trails that combine to make an incredible day on a bike. Affectionately known as Reno Flag Bear Deadman’s, this is a classic longer ride of the Cement Creek Area. Cement Creek Road is found 7 miles south on Highway 135 from town. If you want to shorten the ride, you can drive up Cement Creek Road and park just short of 7 miles. There’s a Forest Service parking area on the right where Deadman’s Gulch trail 420 ends. The loop is 20 miles from this lot (nearly 50 roundtrip from town.) Plan on the better part of the day for this ride, the climbs are long, the downhills are screamers, and the views are spectacular. Take extra water, food and some friends; you’ll be glad you did.
From the parking lot, ride up Cement Creek Road, cross over Cement Creek on a large culvert, and switchback up. On the right will be a well worn but unmarked shortcut, take this or continue to the marked junction of Reno Divide Road 759. Go right and climb steadily for about 5 miles to the top of Reno Divide.
At the top of Reno Divide is a good place for lunch. The views to the west are of Teocalli Mountain and Double Top. North is Italian Mountain and east is Matchless Mountain and the Spring Creek drainage.
Ride through the gate and straight ahead onto the marked Flag Creek singletrack. CBMBA and the Forest Service recently reworked this smooth section of trail, so get ready for one of the best downhill runs anywhere. After three miles you will cross a compacted gravel "bridge." Shortly after this you will enter the dark timber where your next right turn is. There is a small sign here marking the Bear Creek Trail.
If you come to a road crossing, you’ve gone too far. Take the right trail, cross a creek and climb up another creek drainage. This trail climbs, sometimes steeply, into an open marshy area. Veer right here passing an old closed trail on the left, and climb to the dirt road. GO LEFT on this road. (The singletrack straight ahead leads up to the Reno Ridge trail. Don’t be tempted!) Follow the road three quarters of a mile to where it forks, go right and then ride straight ahead and over a dirt berm and across a road onto the signed continuation of the Bear Creek Trail.
Get ready for an awesome downhill! This section has been reworked lately as well and is in the best shape that I’ve ever seen it. Plan on minimal brake wear as you rocket down Bear Creek. There are a few rough spots towards the bottom, but mostly it’s buffed all the way down. About 3 and 1/2 miles down, the Deadman’s Gulch trail turns right. This is a good place to refuel for the last climb; take the Deadman’s Gulch trail to the right and gear down for a longer than expected climb. Pass the Cement Mountain Trail that comes in from the left and make the last push to the top. Here pass the Reno Ridge Trail coming in from the right.
At the top, go straight through a small barbed-wire fence and begin a newly reworked, switchback-filled descent to Cement Creek. Did you make all those switchbacks? Cross over Cement Creek on a large log, climb up to the parking lot and there you are on Cement Creek Road again. Left takes you back out to the highway. Now wasn’t that one of the better rides you’ve had lately? Be safe.
A nice option to the last climb is the Rosebud Trail. Continue down Bear Creek another mile, cross the Rosebud Creek, and turn right onto the signed Rosebud Trail. This climb is sustained and gradual, but becomes quite steep at the top. Once back in the dark forest, you will arrive at a T intersection with the Cement Mountain Trail. Here go right and roll around the meadow hillsides that boast amazing views. After a fast descent through the dark forest, regain the Deadman Gulch Trail, turn left and gain the summit of Reno Ridge. Ride through the gate and down the switchbacks to the parking lot. This adds about 45 minutes and 4 and 1/2 miles to the ride.
Trail descriptions and updates courtesy of The Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, Holly's Ride Guides, and The Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association. Trail Reporting Software and maps ©2000-2018 Thin Air Web. All rights reserved.
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