Southeast of Crested Butte and northeast of Almont, Trail #424 (aka Doctors Park) is another fabulous descent. But, theres a price to pay -- its a long climb up to the top of the mountain. And I mean long. Grueling. Challenging. And then when you get to the top, youve got to follow muddy, rooty doubletrack through the pine forest for several miles, just to get to the good part. Figure about 2 hours of climbing, half hour of mud slogging and then a half hour down. Most people either love or hate it.
This 14 mile loop combines FS744 with Trail #424.
To reach the mountain biking trailhead from CB, follow SR135 south into Almont. Head northeast on Taylor River Road (FS742) past Harmels. Park on the right just past the intersection with Spring Creek Road (FS744), but before the campground. You ll see the parking area for climbers.
Ride up FS744 (aka Spring Creek Road) for six miles. This is a very washboard, dusty climb that seems to go on forever. Turn right head down across the Spring Creek (a river) and then continue southeast on FS554 up Doctor Gulch (another even steeper climb). Stay to the right. After 2.5 miles, watch for Trail #424 on the right. From here, traverse through the mud and roots for a couple miles. Finally, youll exit the woods and get to the top of a wild 5.5 mile descent down to the campground on Taylor River Road. Along the way, the route passes from alpine climate, through pine forest, through aspen forest and down into desert scrub.
Note: this route is shared with dirt bikers.