When the lifts shut down in America’s mountain towns, out come the flip-flops, microbrews, and inner tubes. For a real recharge this summer, spend some time at altitude.
Biking in Crested Butte, Colorado
Crested Butte Bike Week, in late June, touts "Bikes, Beers, and Bands," but that may as well be the town motto. The 130-year-old former coal-mining camp is nestled in a bowl of high pasture, in a cul-de-sac formed by jagged mountains etched with hundreds of miles of Jeep roads and killer singletrack. "Within minutes, you can be isolated on flowing, smooth singletrack," says cyclist David Ochs. Rent a dual-suspension ride from Crested Butte Sports, and get a map marking fabled rides like 401, a 14-miler that starts near the ghost town of Gothic, climbs past Emerald Lake, and descends through helmet-high wildflowers.
Crested Butte is also home to the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, which houses relics like Joe Breeze's 1979 nickel-plated "Breezer," and the ski village of Mount Crested Butte will host the Stage 2 finish of this year's USA Pro Cycling Challenge – the country's biggest road race – on August 21. For après-bike, hit the newly opened Montanya Rum distillery – turns out that rum ages best at altitude, and the water from the spring-fed aquifer it's distilled with is as pure as the stuff gets.
Getting There: Fly to Gunnison; drive 30 minutes north.