There’s been some debate over where mountain biking began—Crested Butte or Marin County, California. But there’s no controversy over what locale has the better riding. It’s Crested Butte by a 14er (OK, a 13er. There aren’t actually any 14,000-foot peaks right around the valley.) Dozens of miles of trail loop through alpine valleys, yellowing aspen groves and reddening shrubs, and under snow-spackled peaks. A well-organized volunteer corps keeps the singletrack nice and flowy.
WHEN TO GO: Late September is your best bet as the foliage turns early in the high country. Crested Butte’s Vinotok festival on the 21st is a bacchanalian rite legendary amongst ski towns.
ROUTE: The 8.6-mile 401 trail is Crested Butte’s most classic, topping out at 11,335 feet.
HIT THE BRAKES: Keep an eye on the peaks above and the street scene below from the deck of the Eldorado Brewery and Taproom. Their falafel and mushroom veggie burger patties are beloved by carnivores as well, especially doused with the Eldo’s famous guacamole. Their crisp Northside Ale should go down easy after a big day in the mountains.