Just 30 minutes down the road from Crested Butte, one of the birthplaces of mountain biking, Hartman Rocks near Gunnison is home to terrific, high desert riding that dries out in early Summer.
How to Find it
From Montrose, head east on U.S. 50 toward Gunnison. Approximately 1.5 miles before you get to Gunnison,
turn right onto CR 38 (a.k.a Airport Road). This turns into Gold Basin Road, which you will follow for just less than 2 miles. Turn right onto CR 32C, where you will find a parking lot for day use. If you reach the Iris Road subdivision, you have gone too far.
Where to Camp
Hartman Rocks Campground (see map) Roads in the camping area are dirt, so expect mud in wet conditions. There are 35 sites, first come, no reservations. RVs up to 35’ can fit most spots – without hookups. Pets are welcome. Amenities include: potable water, vault toilets, fire rings and (so you’re not caught off-guard by firearm discharge) a shooting range.
The Gunnison / Crested Butte Tourism Association offers a web-based mobile phone app where you can download mountain biking trails and even use GPS to monitor your progress during rides. (cbgtrails.com)
If you’re looking for info about local lodging, dining and supplies, you can call for suggestions: (970) 641-1501.
The Mountain Bike Project website offers extensive descriptions, photos, elevations and even videos. The site covers almost 40 thousand mountain biking trails, both in the U.S. and abroad. www.mtbproject.com
Green: Sea of Sage
Ridden east to west from Road 3570, this 1.5-mile ride is a smooth, flowy singletrack that trends downhill through, you guessed it, a sea of sagebrush. Be ready for some fun curves and dips toward the end.
Green: Evan’s Loop
If you want to double the fun, start in the parking area off of CR 56 near the campground. The first half is a gradual climb through a dry creek bed and around some rock formations. It connects with Sea of Sage to complete the loop. Navigation is well-marked, but you can remember to turn left at each intersection to eventually get back to where you started.
After a short climb at the beginning of the ride, Josho’s opens up with one of the fastest, flowiest downhills at Hartmans. Of course, what goes down must go up, so be prepared for a short but steep climb at the end.
If your kid is truly looking for challenging, technical rock moves, check out local’s favorite Rattlesnake. Be sure to ride south to north so the trail trends downhill.
written by: Ian Anderson
trail map by: Richard Camp