Brittany Konsella

Best Crested Butte MTB Ride: Record-Setting Local Describes Her Favorite

This year, Brittany Konsella became the first person to mountain bike every mile of unique singletrack trail around Crested Butte, Colorado. So, what’s the best mountain bike ride in town? We asked Konsella to find out.

“It wasn’t my idea,” said Konsella, a former teacher who has lived in Crested Butte for 14 years.

Brittany Konsella headshot
Photo by Meyvn Creative

The Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association sought her out for its TrailQuest challenge: to become the first to log all 750 miles of unique singletrack trails in Crested Butte and Gunnison Valley area using the CBGTrails app‘s digital map.

The Race to Ride Them All

“They didn’t know anyone who had ridden them all, and we were already notorious for these weird goals,” said Konsella of her husband and herself, who wrote a book together on crazy backcountry Colorado ski routes.

Konsella was also the second woman to ski all of the state’s 14,000 peaks.

Brittany Konsella TrailQuest
Photo by Meyvn Creative

“They knew we liked challenging route-finding and exploring with not with a lot of information,” she said. “So both of us took it on.”

But Konsella beat her husband.

It took her two seasons, mountain biking about five days per week. To make it official, Konsella had to reride lots of trail segments plus new ones — 3,600 miles in all. Her logged vertical footage was equivalent to climbing Mount Everest more than 20 times.

Brittany Konsella

Favorite Ride in Crested Butte

So after all that field research, what does Konsella count as her favorite ride? The Crystal Peak, Star Pass, Hunters Creek Loop.

But that name is just the first of three passes on this expert 20-mile, 5-hour mountain bike ride near Crested Butte.

The loop plus a lollipop encompasses amazing alpine vistas and wildflowers, but different ones. “They’re not the same kinds as you see on the 401,” Konsella said of one of Crested Butte’s most popular stretches for mountain biking.

You’ll want a map. Konsella’s favorite route starts at the Deadman’s Gulch, but it comes alive during an epic climb up Crystal Pass. The steep, technical former hike-a-bike section has been regraded to make it rideable, she said.

Brittany Konsella TrailQuest
Photo by Meyvn Creative

Konsella’s Favorite MTB Ride in 10 Steps

  1. Park at the Deadman’s Gulch Trailhead
    (same lot for the popular Reno/Flag/Bear/Deadman’s loop).
  2. Ride up Cement Creek Road.
  3. Get on the Cement Creek Trail. “It’s a beautiful, flowy singletrack that runs through scenic sagebrush dotted with colorful wildflowers,” Konsella said. “This trail is great for beginners and experts alike.”
  4. When the trail ends, ride a bit longer on Cement Creek Road.
  5. Look for Crystal Peak Trail 583 to start the biggest ascent. “The climb is worth it as you see some of the best scenery the Elks have to offer at the top of Crystal Pass,” she said. “It’s hard to beat the dramatic backdrop formed by Star Peak and Taylor Peak across the valley.”
  6. Take Trail 400 to climb to Star Pass. “From there you get a super fun and technical descent,” she said. “But don’t follow this trail all the way down. Instead, climb back up.”
  7. Ascend Double Top Trail 405 to Hunter Pass.
  8. Then, catch Hunter Creek Trail 410 for a ripping descent.
  9. Get back on Cement Creek Trail.
  10. Finish the lollipop back to your car.

Here’s the ride description on Wow.

Julie Kailus

Associate editor Julie Kailus has spent a career covering people, places, and products in the outdoor industry. Julie can be found testing the latest and greatest in her favorite activities — trail running, mountain biking, swimming, snowboarding, and the underrated endurance sport of chasing two sons around the mountains.