Added by J.J. Benson
Distance: 6.4 milesElevation gain: 640 feetEasy to AccessFamily and dog friendlyLow grade confidence builderVarious route/distance options
While the trailhead for Lower Loop actually begins a mile and a half up Peanut Lake Road, travelers should start the trip from the town of Crested Butte, or by leaving vehicles in the designated parking area on the right hand side of the road, shortly after turning off of First Street where the paved road turns to dirt.
From the designated parking lot, continue on Peanut Lake Road. You will pass an old mining structure on your left (lovingly referred to as "the Gronk"), and somewhat simultaneously Peanut Lake on your right, a popular fishing spot. When you near the actual trailhead, you will pass more remnants of the old Peanut mine to the left, and a small building/shack with an alien painted on it to the right.
When you come to the end of the road, keep right. This is where the trail begins. You will see an option to take either a singletrack or wider foot path. Both options will wind through a small wooded area and across some foot bridges, ultimately leading to an old 4x4 road. Continue right and stay on the road until it dead ends at the Slate River. From here a singletrack path will pick up from the left which will trace along the West side of the Slate River and deliver expansive views of the Oh-Be-Joyful Wilderness area.
Once the trail opens up, you will see a sign at Gunsight Pass Road, continue left. You’ll follow the road up switchbacks until you are reunited with the singletrack trail again on your left. You will also pass through a couple fence openings.
The trail will now head back toward town via the Upper Lower Loop. This direction will offer views overlooking the Slate River below and of Crested Butte Mountain. After about a mile you will come across a sign for the Budd Trail junction. Stay left to reconnect with the lower part of the Lower Loop system which will bring you back to the parking lot.
Other considerations/ Recommendations:
This is a counterclockwise loop system.
More advanced hikers/bikers can choose to connect with the GB trail (at the Gunsite Pass Road Sign) or take the Bud trail to extend the difficulty and distance of the ride.
There is a restricted parking lot right before the actual Lower Loop trailhead for handicap users.
As one of the most popular trails close to town be prepared to come across many other mountain bikers, hikers, runners, and dogs on the trail. Mountain bikers, be sure to yield to those on foot.
While the trail is one of the first to open in the Spring, it is susceptible to early season run off and trail flooding.
- Mountain Bike
- Hiking shoes
- Rain jacket
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