West of Crested Butte and south of Carbondale, the Raggeds Trail is a hardcore 20 mile route combining singletrack and doubletrack. Also known as Ragged Mountain Trail #820, the Raggeds Trail rolls through scattered oak brush and dense aspen forest while offering amazing views of the mountains in the Ragged Wilderness, Buck Basin and Chair Mountain. This north-south route starts up on McClure Pass south of Carbondale and Red Stone, and heads south for twenty miles to the finish near Erickson Springs Campground located west of Crested Butte and northeast of Paonia. It is best to try this trail with a car-drop at both ends.
With that preferred direction of north to south, there is still 2,600 feet of climbing and 4,600 feet of descending that takes the strongest mountain bikers 4 hours and most riders 6-7 hours. Along the way, you can expect plenty of deadfall and mud on the numerous short steep ascents and descents. And, forget about even attempting the Raggeds Trail if its been raining or is wet.
Keep in mind, the northern half of the trail is mostly singletrack while the southern half is wider trail open to offroad vehicles up to 50 inches wide.
To reach the northern trailhead at McClure Pass, you’ll either need to head south on SR133 from Carbondale or head north on SR133 from Paonia. It’s the only pass on SR133 and the summit is well signed. Look for the unsigned dirt road (FS898) at the pass on the east side of the road. The dirt road is located north of NFS McClure Campground and north of milepost 39.
To reach the southern trailhead at Erickson Springs Campground from SR133, just south of Paonia Reservoir, turn east on CR12 (aka Kebler Pass Road). Head east on CR12 for 5.8 miles and park at the entrance to Erickson Springs Campground. The Raggeds Trail comes out on FS795 just north of the campground on the other side of the river. The distance on SR133 between McClure Campground and CR12 is 15.4 miles.
From the northern trailhead at McClure Pass, start riding southeast on the gravel/dirt road for 2.75 miles. Look for the signpost for the start of the singletrack Ragged Mountain Trail #820. Continue climbing on the single track for another 1.25 miles up to 10,000 feet. At this summit, you’ll begin a rolling descent with some short climbs. The singletrack rolls out onto a doubletrack with plenty of private-property signs, so just stay on the road for 1 mile following orange-diamond blazes and veer left at the Y intersection. Keep an eye out for the singletrack that departs from the road after the 1 mile point. After a nice descent, the singletrack again ends at a road and follow signs to more singletrack. This singletrack eventually widens to narrow doubletrack following a fenceline. Stay on the wider doubletrack to the left and don’t be tempted by the cattle paths to the right. This doubletrack eventually climbs about 1,000 feet before descending to FS795 which rolls out to CR12 near Erickson Springs Campground.