“A local favorite with a tough grind of a climb, then fast, flowy singletrack as a reward.
— Michael Ahnemann
Generally, open from June - October. Closed in the Winter/Spring until the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend for Big Horn Sheep habitat.
Many riders familiar with the Crested Butte area call this one of their favorite rides. Although the ride starts with a slow grind of a climb up a jeep road, there are a few great views along the way. Once the climbing is done and the trail turns to singletrack, riders are rewarded with five miles of fast descent - it's technical and rocky at first, then smooth and flowy before turning technical and challenging again towards the bottom.
Need to Know
This ride can be done as a loop, starting and finishing in the North Bank Campground, or it can be shuttled. If you choose to ride from the campground, get ready for an 8 mile slog up the dirt road (Spring Creek Road). If you shuttle, you should be able to find plenty of space to park along the road as you near the turnoff for Doctor Gulch trail (554).
After climbing up Spring Creek Road, either on your bike or in the car, the true ride starts at the turnoff for Doctor Gulch trail (554) and almost immediately crosses a river (Spring Creek). The river crossing could be rideable when the river is low, but beware - it's at least 20 feet across, the water can easily be above your hubs in places, and it can run quickly enough to knock you off your bike. It's easiest to take your shoes off to keep them dry, and walk across a series of flat rocks, carrying your bike.
Once you've crossed the river, it's a bit of a grind as you head up the 4wd road. The first mile is relatively gradual climbing. At the 1 mile point, look for a right turn to stay on 554, and here the road gets steep. It's granny gear climbing at times as you gain altitude to get on top of the ridge. As you climb, start looking off to the right and you'll eventually see some expansive views of the valley looking back across Spring Creek Road.
After a quick rest to take in the scenery towards the top of the ridge, you'll climb a bit further and enter thick forest. Here the ground is almost always damp, sometimes extremely muddy, with plenty of slimy roots to slip you up. After winding through the mostly flat trail through the forest for about a mile, you'll emerge into a grassy meadow. This is where the true Doctor's Park experience starts as the trail heads downhill.
The descent starts on narrow, smooth singletrack, then gets more technical with some steep sections and many rocks and small steps to drop over. Eventually the trail smooths out, and rewards riders with 3 miles of smooth, fast riding that will make you want to descend forever.
The final part of the descent gets technical again, and the trail surface turns from smooth, tacky dirt to loose, dry sand. The final 1/2 mile has some very steep sections with rocks to drop down, and lots of rock lining both sides of the trail. Your brakes will be hot as you negotiate the final few turns and emerge back into the North Bank Campground.