Hartman Rocks Has Some of the Best High Desert Riding in Colorado

Hartman Rocks has some of the best high desert riding in Colorado, and you’ve probably never heard of it.

Hartman Rocks doesn’t have the mountain biking history or reputation of Crested Butte, but what it does have is a long season, lots of fun intermediate terrain plus challenging technical, and an ecosystem like no other place in the Gunnison Valley.

The Scene

Decomposing granite spires, pockets of pink and yellow wildflowers, and sagebrush surround riders. Panoramic views of the Collegiate Peaks, Anthracite Range, West Elk and San Juan Mountains appear as riders gain elevation and push south into the backcountry. The terrain here is greener and jagged cliffs shape the east and west boundaries. The remote and flowy Aberdeen Loop takes riders near the Aberdeen Quarry where granite was harvested for the State Capitol.

Trails

Hartman has 41 trails and 77 miles of trails for mountain biking. Mellow trails like Sea of Sage, intermediate favorites like Top of the World, and some of the most technical singletrack in the valley like Freefall and Rattlesnake–don’t worry, there aren’t any rattlesnakes there. Riders can build their own ride, mixing and matching flowy singletrack, switchbacks, and punchy technical trail. Hartman’s trails are meticulously maintained by volunteers led by trail advocacy group Gunnison Trails.

Local Riders

Come spring, many locals ski the Crested Butte backcountry in the morning then grab their bikes and head south to Hartman’s in the afternoon. Spring showers make for tacky hero dirt, so the conditions are prime. It’s seldom crowded, even in the spring when most North Valley trails aren’t open, and trails are spread out to disperse users. Hartman Rocks is the valley’s early season playground and locals love recommending their favorite trails to visitors.

Stay and Play Harder

Gunnison is a college town meets ranching community and Hartman Rocks is just 10 minutes away. From boutique inns to reliable hotel chains, accommodations are affordable and welcoming. Call Gunnison-Crested Butte Reservations at (877) 213.5357 and talk with a real local about places to stay. Camping is a great way to experience Hartman Rocks and get first dibs at trails in the morning. Camping isn’t permitted in the base area, but for the most part wherever you can find a fire ring.

Cuisine ranges from authentic Nepalese food, Mexican to Asian Fusion, great pizza plus a thriving local brewery. The I Bar Ranch outdoor live music venue offers an eclectic mix of bluegrass, classic country and alternative music performances nearly every day of the week. Grab coffee, savory and sweet pastries while getting a tune-up at Double Shot Cyclery.

For more information on Gunnison-Crested Butte, visit gunnisoncrestedbutte.com.

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