Pro mountain biker Micayla Gatto has ridden in some pretty cool places. She has hucked huge jumps in Virgin, Utah, explored Vancouver, British Columbia’s famous North Shore trails, and raced in the Sea Otter Classic Slalom, just to name a few. But her most unusual mountain biking adventure was a trip down the rabbit hole to Wonderland, which looks a lot like Colorado’s Gunnison Valley.
Micayla in Wonderland is a short film by video production company Matchstick Productions, which happens to be based in Crested Butte. You might know them from their popular ski films.
As the film begins, we find Micayla Gatto and her bike on a dreamy perch atop a rocky outcropping that resembles the ridges at Hartman Rocks Recreation Area in Gunnison. As she falls asleep, we are transported with her to a green, mountainous destination that looks a lot like Crested Butte.
Micayla gets on her mountain bike and follows the trail farther in. She sees magical creatures and unbelievable people along the way. She flies past towering peaks, including Crested Butte’s iconic namesake. She rides on a trail lined with the Gunnison Valley’s famous neon wildflowers, including larkspur, cow parsnip and dandelions. She continues through groves of ethereal, snow-white aspen trees. She rides alongside the crystal-clear Slate River. She leaps over bridges and off rocks as she continues to ride through the dreamy alpine landscape of one of Colorado’s most pristine mountain destinations.
“Life, what is it, but a dream?” Micayla asks as she wakes up back on the rock.
Micayla Gatto is a professional mountain biker, artist and model. You may recognize her from her viral 2017 video, “Ferda Girls,” a parody of Kendrick Lamar’s song, “Humble.” Follow along on Micayla’s many adventures on her Instagram.
Riding in Crested Butte is on many mountain bikers’ bucket lists, and for good reason. This is simply one of the most beautiful and accessible places in the world to go mountain biking. Hundreds of miles of high-altitude trails soar above treeline, opening up picturesque views of western Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Wildflowers bloom in summer, and aspen leaves turn gold in fall. If you’re riding in spring, make sure you check CBMBA’s trail conditions page to see which trails have melted out.
Most MTB routes in Crested Butte start with a big climb, top out on a ridge, and then drop into a long descent. The quirky alpine hamlet of Crested Butte awaits at the end of the trail. Mt. Crested Butte is home to the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Park, a lift-served trail system on the grounds of Crested Butte Mountain Resort.
Crested Butte’s most popular mountain biking trails are some of the most famous trails in the world. It’s no secret why trails like the 401, Lupine, Snodgrass and Teocalli Ridge are so beloved. They offer epic high-altitude riding and stunning wilderness views. However, these iconic trails are just a tiny fraction of what Crested Butte has to offer. To get a true Crested Butte MTB experience, explore lesser-known trails during your visit, too. You’ll share these trails with few other riders, and you might just discover your new favorite ride. Lesser-known trails include Trail #409.5, Star Pass, Reno-Flag-Bear-Deadman, Mogul Storage, and Strawberry.
Looking for beginner trails in Crested Butte? Start with Lower Loop, Lupine or Gunsight Connector. If you’re at the Crested Butte Mountain Bike park, try Hotdogger.
Mountain biking in Gunnison is characterized by rolling hills, rocky ridges and huge views. It’s a cross between riding in Fruita and Moab. MTB trails around Gunnison are mostly cross-country, as opposed to Crested Butte, where many trails are directional. Most of the mountain bike trails around Gunnison are close to town, meaning you can ride to the trailhead instead of driving. Sagebrush and juniper thrive in Gunnison’s high desert ecosystem. Paintbrush, mule’s ears, lupine and mariposa lilies bloom in spring.
Hartman Rocks is Gunnison’s crown jewel. Trails here are usually the first ones to open in the Gunnison Valley each spring. With nearly 50 miles of singletrack trail, this tract of BLM land is bursting with trails of all levels to explore. Link multiple trails together to create loops of any length and to suit any ability level. The rocky, technical trails at Hartmans are full of tricky lines, optional rock drops and fun, slickrock-esque features. You’ll ride through towering rock formations and wide-open fields of sagebrush. Check out a few of the best beginner and intermediate trails at Hartman’s to get started. Some of the best expert trails at Hartman’s are Rattlesnake, Josho’s, Technical Beck’s, Freefall and The Notch.
Signal Peak, located just east of town by Western Colorado University, is a smaller trail system that features less technical trails. Climbs and descents have a more gradual gradient than most of the other trails in the Gunnison Valley.
Ten miles north of Gunnison is Almont, home of the famously rowdy Doctor Park trail. If you’re looking for lesser-known trails on the south end of the valley, here are a few more far-flung options.
Some trails around Gunnison are closed seasonally in spring to protect wildlife. Check the spring trail restrictions before you hit the trail.
The two million acres of public lands surrounding the Gunnison Valley are its defining feature. Generations of visitors and locals alike have fallen in love with this place due to its wild beauty and seemingly endless trail systems. Whether you come here for a weekend or a decade, learn and follow trail etiquette and travel responsibly. It takes several nonprofit organizations and countless volunteer hours to steward the trails, waters and lands of Crested Butte and Gunnison. Most of their work happens behind the scenes, whether it’s working with a private landowner on a trail easement or designing the next awesome mountain biking trail. Consider donating or volunteering with one of these organizations to give back to the Gunnison Valley.
If you enjoyed Micayla in Wonderland, check out the Born From Junk films, which chronicle the outlaw origins of mountain biking in Crested Butte and the development of the mountain biking race scene in Gunnison.
It’s time to follow Micayla down the rabbit hole to Wonderland! Curious about how to get here and where to stay? Wondering what to eat and what else the Gunnison Valley has to offer besides epic riding? Check out this mountain bike trip planning guide to help you get started.