Situated in the picturesque landscape of Crested Butte, Colorado, the Reno-Flag-Bear-Deadman Loop offers a compelling mix of uphill climbs, thrilling descents, and varying terrains. Spanning approximately 20 miles, this trail can be covered in 3-4 hours, making it ideal for a half-day adventure. However, be warned: while the loop is largely well-marked and navigable, it's not without its issues, primarily the wear and tear from motorbike activity.
Starting at Deadman Gulch trailhead, cyclists will find themselves meandering up the valley via Cement Creek Road. A right turn onto Italian Creek Road initiates the real uphill climb that eventually culminates at the top of the Reno Divide.
Look out for Flag Creek Trail at this juncture. This portion of the trail is a relatively easy and enjoyable downhill ride through a serene valley. But remember, this is a shared-use trail; motorbikes can sometimes turn serene rides into bumpy adventures.
After descending Flag Creek, Bear Creek Trail challenges cyclists with another uphill battle. Follow the road for a bit, and then prepare yourself for a swift downhill ride through an expansive meadow—a delightful reward for all that climbing.
The final uphill climb along Deadman Gulch Trail is grueling, but it offers some stunning vistas. After cresting Reno Ridge, riders should prepare for a steep, switchback-laden descent, a challenging yet exhilarating finish to the loop.
The Reno-Flag-Bear-Deadman Loop in Crested Butte provides a combination of challenges and scenic beauty that most single-track enthusiasts will find rewarding. However, the trail's ongoing struggle with motorbike-induced wear and tear is undeniable, affecting its pristine quality. Nevertheless, for those willing to overlook its flaws, this loop remains a rugged gem in the Colorado trail system.