Crystal Peak/Star Pass
This was a big day. The mileage wasn’t huge, but the climbing and views were. 21 miles 3800′ climbing. It’s nice starting rides so close to camp. We started by riding up Cement Creek Trail and then hopped on Crystal Peak trail which was pretty steep at times but switchbacked up through flower fields. It was relentless. At the top we turned and headed up to Star Pass on very single singletrack that sharply climbed to the saddle. Every day is amazing and today didn’t disappoint. Up at 12,300′ you get superb mountain backdrops. From this highpoint we ripped down Trail 400 to Block and Tackle and took that back to Cement Creek Trail for a cruise back to the car. Thought: how can every day be so gorgeous?
This loop took some collaboration. Looking at maps doesn’t always give the whole story so we chatted with local folks to make sure we were doing this in the best direction. We started by climbing up the 30+ Deadmans Gulch switchbacks we had merrily descended a couple days before. It was a grind but we knew what we were in for. At the top it was just a short descent before we turned off on Cement Mtn Trail and started climbing again.
Cement Mountain Trail climbs more steeply up technical rooty and rocky trail and then levels out for a thrilling traverse of the mountain. After ooohing and ahhhing over the views, we hung a left on Rosebud Trail and the downhill started. This trail is South facing, thus dryer and looser with chunky rock sections. Rosebud Creek flows alongside the trail the whole way down the gulch. At the bottom we took a deep breath and started climbing AGAIN.
Back at the top of Deadmans Gulch we flew down the endless switchbacks we had climbed at the start of our ride. 14.3 miles with 2,878 of climbing. What a great lollipop loop. I soaked my legs in Cement Creek and was happy it was beer day.