Crested Butte Trails: Dyke Trail
Crested Butte has plenty of high alpine trails that bring you near or above tree line, but perhaps some of the best riding is hidden amongst the trees. The Dyke Trail is just that! It’s hidden in a large aspen grove that skirts around the Grand Dyke formation off of Ruby Peak. You will pass the beautiful Lake Irwin with Ruby Peak and Mount Owen in the backdrop. Once you drop onto the singletrack be prepared for some fast flow, tough climbs, and one rocky descent.
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The Dyke Trail is located up past Last Irwin, about a 20 minute drive from the the town of Crested Butte. From town continue on Whiterock avenue. This will eventually turn into CR 12, Kebler Pass Road. While some locals ride this route from town, which is an additional 6.5 miles, 13 in both directions, most visitors drive to the base of Irwin Road. This is a great spot to park as it splits up the road sections that make this ride a loop. From there you will climb up Irwin Road, pass lake Irwin and eventually on a piece of double track that will lead to the trailhead.
While this loop is about 14 miles, the actual trail itself is roughly 5 miles. Within that five miles you will experience a whole lot; fast flowy descents, a number of creek crossings, brutal power climbs with both rocks and roots, and one steep descent.
You will start the trail with a quick descent down to a number of creek crossings. Some of the crossings will be high, but you can usually power through them, although the first crossing will certainly challenge you. Eventually the trail will flatten out where a beautiful aspen forest will surround you.
The trail then heads back up in elevation, rather quickly with a steep climb. Some will be walking this section while others will try to clean it. Either way you look at it, it is a difficult climb with loose rocks, roots and a number of power climbs. You will eventually reach the highpoint of the climb (10,000ft) and take on a steeper, and longer descent to Horse Ranch Park. This descent also has plenty of loose rocks and root drops along with a grade that will have your brakes burning.
The trail will kick you out to a intersection at a clearing where you will turn left towards Horse Ranch Park and Kebler Pass Road. From here you will take a left and climb Kebler Pass road, up and over the pass back to your car.
Wagon Trail Option
With the development of the Wagon Trail, the Dyke trail has become more popular to ride from town. The Wagon Trail starts or ends on CR12, 3 miles from the town of Crested Butte. The trail travels just over 6 miles in length, ending 9 miles from town.
The Finish Pin is where you hope off to climb Lake Irwin Road.
The route which is composed of singletrack and dirt road, was made to avoid Kebler Pass Road. A nice detour considering the traffic the road sees in the summer and fall. The first section of the trail will dump you onto Irwin Lake Road, which you will join to climb up to Irwin Lake.
After you finish the Dyke Trail Descent and start to climb up Kebler Pass road, you will eventually hit pavement and two switch backs with guard rails. On the 2nd bend you will have to look for a faint forest service trail sign on your left. Here is where you can pick up the 2nd half of the Wagon Trail and ride it to where you left off on Irwin Road.
The Dyke Trail is one of the best fall rides in the valley as the trail travels through one of the largest living organisms in the United States, aspen groves. Like many other trails in Crested Butte, don’t expect to ride it in May as the Irwin area sees some of the most snow in Colorado. Because of the trails proximity to Horse Ranch Park, it is not be uncommon for you to run into equestrians and a bunch of manure. Please yield to this user groups to prevent startling the horses.
Enjoying this trail? Help support the people who maintain it. Donate to the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association.