Cycling: Crested Butte to Taylor Reservoir

Smooth climbs, heavenly descents, sparse traffic, beautiful views – this ride has it all. At 63 miles roundtrip (70 with Almont alternate route) and with over 3,000 feet of elevation gain (all at an altitude of over 8,000 feet), you’ll want to be in good shape for the full route. For those looking for a shorter ride, park at Almont and you’ll only have 42 miles with 1,000 feet less climbing.


Highlights:Mountain Views, Canyon Roads, Dirt Climb
Difficulty:Strenuous, Cat 3 & 4 Climbs
RT Mileage:62 miles
Elevation Gain:3,120 feet
Max Elevation:9,567 feet
Average Grade:1% Taylor River Climb
Steepest Grade:8% Taylor Dam Climb

Route

Follow the main highway (Route 135) south past Crested Butte South and turn left at Jack’s Cabin Cutoff (or continue south to Almont and turn left onto Taylor River Road for longer route, all on pavement). After a mile, the road turns to dirt and ascends up a Category 4 climb. This road can get a little beat up, but is suitable for skinny tires. The descent takes you to the Taylor River Road junction.

Jack’s Cabin Cutoff links up with Taylor River Road about 6 miles up the canyon. Take a left and climb up the smooth (recently repaved) winding road as it follows the river back to its source. You’ll pass popular rock climbing walls, whitewater rafting points, and steep canyons filled with pine trees. The final climb up the dam to the reservoir is a short kicker with a max gradient of about 8%. Continue on just past the dam as the road levels out for another .5 miles, where there is a parking lot on the left side. Take in the majestic views of the Collegiate peaks on the other side of the reservoir.

Notes

The winds can be both friend and foe on this ride. Be sure to save some energy in the tank for the return trip as strong headwinds are common. Extend the ride to 70+ miles by turning in at Almont vs Jacks Cabin Cutoff.

Road Map & Profile