Crested Butte Mountain Biking: Doctor Park
Doctor Park is known as one of the most fun downhill rides in Gunnison County. The trail can be run as a loop, shuttle, or out and back if you dare. Once you are at the top, you will experience beautiful views of surrounding mountains before tackling one awesome descent. The Trail will start rough and rocky before smoothing out to give you an ear to ear grin that will last 5 miles.
|Highlights:||World class descent, Rough to Buff, Alpine to Desert, Loop or Shuttle|
|RT Length:||19.3 miles|
|Elevation Gain:||2,702 feet|
|Max Elevation:||10,902 feet|
|Trailhead Elevation:||8,404 feet|
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From Crested Butte take HWY 135 south to Almont for 18 miles. Turn Left (east) and travel up Taylor River Road for 7 miles until you hit Harmel’s Ranch Resort. From here you have two options; take a left at Spring Creek Road and shuttle your riders to FS Road 554. Riders can start pedaling up FS Road 554 climbing 3.5 miles. roughly one mile after the crossing you will hit a junction, continue right on FS Road 554 to the top. If you have a 4×4 – high clearance vehicle and the water level is low on the river crossing, you can drive to the top and the start of the singletrack.
The other option and the more popular local option is to complete the loop. You will drive to the end of Doctors Park Trail at the North Bank Campground. From there you will get back onto Taylor River Road and turn right on to Spring Creek Road – climb the 9 miles to FS Road 554. You will continue up FS Road for 3.5 miles to the top of Doctor Park.
Once you make it to the top of the Climb, negotiate a few ups and downs in a pine forest. This area was a complete mess before CBMBA hosted a work day on it last year (2014). Eventually hit a break in the trees where the real fun begins. This is a great resting point if you are indeed doing the loop.
The trail will start to descend straight down the meadow and back into the pines where you will tackle roots, rocks and some technical spots. The trail will make a few switchback and will gradually becoming more and more buffed out. Eventually you will hit a straightaway where lack of rocks, roots and turns will allow you to let go of your brakes and completely bomb down the trail.
After 4 miles of nothing but downhill travel, take on a short climb that will push you over the last hill for the last descent down to North Bank Campground. The last mile of the trail will start to tighten up, where you will notice the high alpine trail transition into more high desert, where the dirt will turn into loose gravel. After a few switchbacks, drop down to the trailhead and the North Bank Campground.
Doctor Park is seasonally closed to Big Horn Sheep habitat every year until memorial day weekend. Please be cautious of other trail users, this is a multi-purpose trail, be sure you can stop when you have to. The lower section of this trail towards the end has has some erosion problems, please be sure not to skid your tires down the switchbacks.
Enjoying this trail? Help support the people who maintain it. Donate to the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association.