Monday, October 1, 2012

Doctors Park MTB Ride

A week ago, Rachel, Jordan and I headed over to Crested Butte for a long weekend of  mountain biking. We left the Front Range early Saturday morning with the plan of driving over Cottonwood Pass and riding Doctors Park on our way to Crested Butte.

Every time I go over Cottonwood Pass I regret it: if its not a long line of RV's, its construction, cows, or a big crack in the windshield from flying gravel. This time it was construction, but the views made up for it!

After navigating the beautiful views, cows, and construction, we were parked at the North Bank campground along Co Rd 742, applying our chamois cream and filling our water bottles. From there, we followed 742 south 1/3 of a mile and turned right up Spring Creek Rd (Co Rd 744). Spring Creek Rd is 8 miles of mellow climbing through deep gravel and unique geography that is so different than Crested Butte, just 10 miles away.
 

After 8 miles we took a right at 554, waded across Spring Creek...

..and followed 554 to the top of the Doctors Trail.
 
Before heading down Doctors Park proper, we rode Doctors Bonus in the clockwise direction, which I think is the way to do it. I'd definitely recommend the bonus: its fast beautiful and beautiful:


The bonus meets back with Doctors Park and quickly drops into a mile of steep singletrack as it enters the valley below.

 Then comes miles of glorious, fast, smooth single track through the aspens:

This part of the trail RULES:

 Eventually you leave the Aspens and start the steep technical descent toward the Taylor River:

This section of the trail is fun, the riding is loose and chunky as you cling to the valley wall. Soon, we met back up with the Taylor River and cruised down the road to our car.

Overall, this is a great ride, although, I have to admit, I'm still spoiled by the Whitepine ride we did recently. That being said, Doctors Park is great: it has beautiful rolling singletrack at the top, smooth and fast riding through aspens, and technical descents down steep valley walls. The climb is a bit of a chore as the gravel on Spring Creek road is brutal and there is little protection from the sun - this is definitely a good ride for the fall when the leaves are beautiful and the sun is a bit more mellow.