Two riders cruise down the upper portion of 401 trail in Crested Butte. Photo Credit: Spencer McKee

Two riders cruise down the upper portion of 401 trail in Crested Butte. Photo Credit: Spencer McKee

Perhaps the best-known, most-talked-about mountain biking trail in the state, 401 Trail in Crested Butte offers riders variety, stunning views, and top-notch trail quality.

One nice thing about this trail is that riders can choose their own adventure. Some riders opt to start from a lower parking lot, traveling a 14-mile loop. Others opt to shuttle nearly all the way to the top of the uphill portion of the route, cutting out most of the 2,000-plus feet of elevation change.

While riders may find different ways to reach the single-track portion of the route, all riders get to experience the flowy downhill stretch that the trail is known for.

The single-track portion of the route starts at the top of Schofield Pass, taking riders up a 1.3-mile climb through dense forest that eventually opens up at about 11,000 feet above sea level. After that, the trail is nearly entirely downhill, back to where the ride or shuttle trip starts. It's fast, it's flowy, and it toes the line between intermediate and advanced, making it a more accessible option compared to more difficult trails that exist in the area.

Alpine views eventually transition to aspens, with the trail flanked by wildflowers during early summer months. The views from the bike saddle during this ride show off picturesque Colorado at its finest, complete with grazing cattle.

Those planning to shuttle should make sure they've got a driver with a vehicle that's capable of tackling rugged mountain roads. Several tight sections and drop-offs are present on the way to the trailhead.

There are also several features along the trail that feature exposure or technical moves. Those unsure about their abilities are able to hop off and walk these sections.

Overall, it's hard to imagine a more beautiful, more flowy stretch of standard single-track trail. For mountain bikers visiting Crested Butte, this one is a must-try.

Find the route that's recommended by MTB Project here.

Director of Content and Operations

Spencer McKee is OutThere Colorado's Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to hike, rock climb, and trail run. He's on a mission to summit all 58 of Colorado's fourteeners and has already climbed more than half.

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