The Devil’s Punchbowl

Adventures32 Comments

We arrived in Crested Butte last night after a 5 hour drive from home. Crested Butte is a mecca for off-roading and mountain biking. After studying my off-road books, we decided to start easy the first day — not! I am doing the baddest trail they have to offer in this place. Bring it on!

Driving North out of Crested Butte, I dropped the trailer and unloaded. We road up and over Scofield Pass. We buzzed by nearly 100 bikers on the way up there. After winding through some cool trail mostly through the trees we arrived at the first warning for the upcoming trail.

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The trail got more interesting from the point but wasn’t that terrible. Then we came to the final warming sign before entering the Devil’s Punchbowl.

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A final stream crossing before the Punchbowl begins. Time to get your brakes all nice and wet for a grueling descent. Nature must have a sense of humor!

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The Devil’s Punchbowl has swallowed up several cars over the years as people have attempted this very challenging off-road route. People have a tendency to get freaked and make a bad move and their car rolls off the shelf into the canyon some 150 feet below sending them to their deaths. The worst off-road accident in Colorado history happened here when a Suburban drove off the side with 8 people inside, including children. Let’s go! Here is the start looking down into the Punchbowl.

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Here I am shooting back up the descent at Kim as she starts making her way down.

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In all my trips out there, I only saw 2 trucks attempting the Punchbowl.

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About half way down at this point. The trouble in the middle of the trail is the large rocks in the trail. Its kinda like that game Plinko on The Price Is Right — your tires go down and hit one rock and fall in a groove. You hope that the groove that your tires go into is one that is closer to the safe side of the trail vs. the steep dropoff. If you miss, your only hope is to hit reverse and try and move yourself back to safety.

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We made it. A cool waterfall at the end.

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The main part is over but there are still obstacles in the trail as we head to our destination, the Crystal Ghost Town.

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At the North end of the ghost town sits the Crystal Mill. This site is said to be one (if not the) most photographed spots in the state of Colorado. The mill has been there for over 100 years. A great picture indeed.

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So we did it, 20 miles out to the mill through some of the toughest terrain in the state. What a beautiful area out there — the Devil sure knows how to make something cool!