杰森·萨姆纳（Jason Sumner）的话|Photos by Tory Powers
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Colorado’s Gunnison County is best known as a mountain biking destination. Boasting upwards of 750 miles (1,200 km) of sublime singletrack, this sprawling and diverse 3,260-square-mile (8,440 square km) collection of supremely scenic mountains, valleys, forests, meadows, rivers, streams, lakes and high desert landscape is a true fat tire utopia. But just as with the greater cycling world, riding the area’s gravel roads has become increasingly popular for visitors and locals alike.
Indeed, the towns of Gunnison, Almont, Crested Butte and points in between are awash in unpaved adventure. But while the area’s mountain biking options are well documented via rich resources such asTrailforksand the two local trail advocacy organizations, theCrested Butte Mountain Bike AssociationandGunnison Trails, there’s less available information on the best gravel riding routes.
That’s why I enlisted the assistance of Arly Landry and Chris Besnia, co-owners of Goodday + Curiosity, a small Gunnison-based cycling company that makes bespoke steel and titanium bikes and custom bikepacking bags. Besides being gifted and artistic creators, Arly and Chris are passionate gravel riders who organize a weekly gravel cycling group ride. After some extended discussion, our trio chose to explore and document three of the area’s best unpaved routes that collectively capture the diversity of difficulty and terrain type.
But before diving in there are a few important caveats. No. 1 is that a visit to Gunnison County means coming up in elevation for most out-of-towners. Located at the south end of the Gunnison Valley, Gunnison (the county’s largest population center at 6,653) lies at 7,703 feet (2,350 metres) above sea level. Head 28 miles (45 km) north to Crested Butte (population 1,335) and you’ll find yourself in the thin air of 8,909 feet (2,715 m). And both these municipalities are situated along the valley floor, meaning you’ll likely be heading up from there, as is the case with the three rides highlighted here.
Secondly,“gravel” comes in many formsin these parts, some boilerplate smooth, some loose and dusty, and some rocky and rough. And because gravel roads are organic in nature, riding conditions can change dramatically over time due to factors such as amount of motor vehicle traffic, recent rainfall, and time since last application of magnesium chloride, which helps harden dirt road surfaces to reduce dust.
点,有最好的希望,准备好了bringing the necessary tools to change a flat. I personally like to run tires that are wide, grippy and robust, rather than pushing the rubber reliability envelope in the name of marginal speed gains.
Also remember that especially when venturing into the high mountains, be prepared for drastic temperature changes. Generally speaking, the area’s summertime weather is amazing, with sunny skies and comparatively mild temperatures that make Gunnison County a great escape from the frequently oppressive summer heat of Colorado’s Front Range, never mind nearby neighbors such as Oklahoma and Texas.
But we also see our fair share of variability, meaning it might be 70 ºF (21 ºC) and sunny in Crested Butte when you start your ride, but raining and 50 ºF (10 ºC) a few hours later when you reach the high alpine summit of Paradise Divide, one of the routes highlighted here. I always bring a rain shell, gloves, and a beanie just in case.
Route 1: Gunni Grinder 30
砾石自行车活动在美国各地爆发，冈尼森县也不例外。2021年9月标志着Gunni Grinder, a race/ride that starts and finishes in downtown Gunnison and includes routes of 120, 60 and 30 miles (193, 97 and 48 km) that fan out into the spectacular – and ever-rolling – high desert landscape south of the city.
All three routes are stunning, but Arly, Chris and I decided Day 1 of our adventure would be something of a warm-up so we opted to ride theGunni 30, which as the name indicates is 30 miles with 18 miles (29 km) of lightly traveled gravel and approximately 2,400 feet (730 m) of climbing. Top times for the event were around 2.5 hours, but we planned to take things at a more leisurely pace. No need to rush when there’s so much great scenery to take in.
不过，首先，我们需要一些燃料，这意味着在Gunnison大街的后乡村咖啡馆举行早晨聚会。像这个历史悠久的牧场社区周围的大多数地方一样，票价简单，丰盛且价格合理。早餐选择范围从基本的培根和鸡蛋到休沃斯牧场和美味的煎锅。这都是好东西 - 自行车每天充满填充。
With hunger satiated, it was time to ride, which started with an easy paved spin south out of town via the frontage road along U.S. 50, which bisects the city on its east-west route across the state. Two miles (3.2 km) in the route turns south onto sleepy County Road 38, where you can immediately spy Tenderfoot Mountain and the giant white “W” on its western face, a tribute to nearby Western Colorado University.
A few miles later we passed the main entrance to the Hartman Rocks Recreation Area, a nearly 15,000-acre swath of public land that boast 53 miles (85 km) of superb singletrack and abundant first-come-first-served camping on a landscape that’s covered in fragrant sagebrush and whimsical granite outcrops of all shapes and sizes. Most of the beginner-rated trails are smooth decomposed granite, making them perfectly navigable on a decent gravel bike. And there are 45 miles (72 km) of gravel roads.
但是我们的旅程在CR38上继续向南，如果您使用的话，它会变成7.5英里（12公里）的砾石race route GPX file作为你的向导。接下来的9英里(14公里)几乎entirely uphill, rising gently to the route’s high point at 9,744 feet (2,970 m). The day we rode, conditions ran the gamut, from buttery smooth road to molar-loosening braking bumps, to one narrow road section near the end of the main climb that was littered with softball-size embedded rocks. Overall the road gradient is never terribly steep (typically in the 3-4% range), save for the final two miles (3.2 km) of ascending, which frequently pitch upwards at 9-10%.
沿途的风景是典型的中南部orado with fields of sagebrush intermingled with granite rock outcrops, groves of Aspen, cottonwood and pine, dazzling wildflowers and sprawling far-off views of the Continental Divide. It was also eerily quiet, with nary a car encounter during several hours in the saddle. Best of all, once at the highpoint it’s nearly all downhill on mostly smooth roads back to the starting point in Gunnison.
Follow the link to seethe route for the Gunni Grinder 30在Trailforks上。
Route 2: Spring Creek-Taylor Park Loop
Day 2 of our Gunnison County gravel odyssey dawned sunny and cool, perfect for another day of exploring the area’s roads less traveled. First, though, more fueling (and caffeinating) was required.
For coffee, Gunnison’s Double Shot Cyclery was the call. The dual-purpose establishment is one of the area’s best bike shops and serves a mean espresso to boot. Next it was breakfast time, which meant a trip to the Almont Resort Restaurant and Bar, a gloriously rustic old-west establishment 10 miles (16 km) north of Gunnison on CO Highway 135. There you’ll find an oversized log cabin-looking building with a mountain lion pelt hung on the dining room wall and all manner of hearty day-starters on the menu.
肚子饱了，我们沿着CR 742驶向7英里（11公里），沿着泰勒河缠绕到北岸露营地附近的起点。一流的是Spring Creek-Taylor Park Loop，这是一个47英里（76公里）的往返行程，有26.3英里（42公里）的砾石，2,717英尺（830 m）的攀岩，高点10,575英尺（3,220 m）。尽管您的结果可能会有所不同，但这将需要4-6个小时。
It was 4.5 more miles (7.2 km) to the day’s summit, with a few steep ramps along the way. Initially the final ascent is a tree-lined affair. But then the views opened up near the crest of the pass, availing our first look at the towering Collegiate Peaks.
Up top it was time for a drink and snack. Then the next 6 miles (10 km) were almost all downhill on fantastically smooth gravel. Just remember to keep your head up; we encountered at least a dozen oncoming off-highway vehicles on the way down.
Around mile 21 (kilometre 34), the road flattened out, giving us the chance to take in the sprawling expanse that is Taylor Park with the Taylor Park Reservoir shimmering in the distance and majestic mountains scraping the deep blue sky all around. Next it was time to grab another snack and top off water bottles at the well-stocked Taylor Park Trading Post, which is on the left about 2.5 miles (4 km) past the end of the day’s gravel section. (There’s also decent cell service along this portion of the route.)
Now all that remained was the paved run back to our starting point. Again, the good news is that it’s almost entirely downhill along a rushing river through yet another spectacular high-walled granite canyon. The bad news is that just about every time I’ve descended Taylor Canyon there’s been a headwind. This day was no exception. Thankfully they also serve lunch and cold beer back at the Almont Resort.
Follow the link tosee this route on Trailforks。
If I could do only one gravel ride the rest of my life – and had superhuman lungs and legs of steel – the Paradise Divide Loop would be the easy choice. In just under 30 miles (48 km) – including 21 miles (34 km) on dirt – you face a testing 3,123 feet (950 m) of climbing, with the toughest 2 miles (3.2 km) entirely above 10,000 feet (3,050 m). The ride’s highpoint is 11,250 feet (3,430 m) and some of the “gravel” sections, especially the descent off the summit of Paradise Divide, are rough, steep and rowdy 4×4 jeep roads that require skillful line choice and well-functioning brakes. MTB gloves and toothy tires in the 40 mm-or-wider range are recommended.
这次骑行在冠冠的比尤特（Butte）开始并结束，那里的商会在哥特式路和麋鹿大道（Elk Avenue）的交叉路口附近有足够的停车位。麋鹿大街（Elk Ave）也是最好的食物和饮料选择的所在地。我们的三重奏开始早起，避免了下午的雷暴，但是我快速咬一口的最爱是营地4咖啡，比尤特百吉饼和煤气咖啡馆，这些咖啡咖啡馆散发出一些最好的早餐三明治。
Then at mile 9.6 (kilometre 15), it was time to suffer. Here the road makes a sharp 180º turn to the right and thrusts skyward. Locals affectionately call the next several miles Slate d’Huez, a nod to the famous road climb in France with its infamous 21 switchbacks. There are only four to navigate here, but the heart of this climb gains nearly 1,000 feet (305 m) in just 1.75 miles (2.8 km) with an average gradient of 10% and several ramps upwards of 15%, including a final nasty, loose, rocky, and steep pitch that brings you to the intersection with Forest Service Road 811.
From there, it’s another (slightly) less challenging mile to the Paradise Divide summit. If you’re modestly fit and acclimatized, figure it will take you an hour to cover the first 9 miles (14.5 km) and another 60 minutes to conquer the ensuing 3 miles (4.8 km). But the rewards are ample, with inspiring views back downvalley and the satisfaction that we’d already climbed over 2,600 feet (790 m).
(If all that sounds like too much, you can bail at the FS811 intersection, which after a small climb, funnels down Washington Gulch and back to Crested Butte.)
The rest of the ride was equally memorable, though far less anaerobically challenging. Following the aforementioned techy descent off the top of the Divide, the road leveled out as we crossed the breathtaking Paradise Basin, then made the short ascent to the Schofield Pass summit, locale of the famed Trail 401 trailhead. From there it was basically all downhill back to Crested Butte, save for a few short bumps near the end of the dirt road section around mile 22 (kilometre 35).
In between, we spun past Emerald Lake, crossed a small snowfield that’s remnants of a frequent avalanche path (usually there through mid-July), then sailed down smooth and fast gravel, before arriving at the historic Gothic Townsite, which is home to the highly regarded Rocky Mountain Biological Lab and a great little coffee shop.
After a few more miles of smooth dirt and great views of Mt. Crested Butte, the route returned to pavement at mile 24.4 (kilometre 40). Here we passed through the town of Mount Crested Butte and Crested Butte Mountain Resort, which has some of the state’s best skiing – and a great bike park and scenic chairlift in the summer. Soon after we jumped on the bike path, spinning back to Crested Butte.
Follow the link tosee this route on Trailforks。
Flying Here:There are daily flights from Denver to theGunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport, plus varying seasonal arrivals from places such as Austin, Dallas and Houston. Get the latest flight optioninfo here。
Driving Here:It’s about a four-hour drive from Denver to Gunnison, with Crested Butte another 30 minutes up the road. Other nearby Colorado cities with airports include Montrose (90 minutes), Grand Junction (2.5 hours hours) and Colorado Springs (3 hours).
Lodging:Thelocal tourism website拥有您需要的所有信息。
Food and Drink:Options运行范围从国家休闲到Chichi Chic。也有许多很棒的咖啡店和饮酒场所。
Wildlife:Depending on where you ride, you may see deer, marmot, and a wide variety of birds, sometimes including bald eagles, which nest along the river corridor between Gunnison and Crested Butte in the spring and fall. If you’re lucky, you might also catch a glimpse of elk, fox, coyote, moose, and even black bear, who roam the hillsides around Crested Butte during the summer. And if you喜欢钓鱼, expect to hook various trout species from the area’s numerous lakes, rivers and streams.
Bike Shops:头herefor the complete list plus information about the area’s great gravel cycling opportunities.
Other Routes:There are countless amazing options, so along with this post check out the great gravel cycling route compilation put together by theGunnison冠冕ButteTourism Association然后前往Goodday + Curiosity websitefor more info about their weekly group ride, which runs through late August.
Events and Other Activities:Here’s a completecalendar of events以及详尽的衰败该怎么办when not pedaling your bike.
Other Questions:Hit up one of the friendly staff at the当地游客中心。