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Grin & Bear It Trail Run

July 13, 2024

Grin & Bear it participants passing on route near Green Lake

25K & 15K Trail Run Competitions

Grin & Bear It racer out on course

The Grin & Bear It is Crested Butte’s oldest trail challenge. Historically presented as a sprint to Green Lake and back, this classic event has evolved to offer a 25k Loop competition, while still maintaining the traditional 15k Classic race.

The 2024 run will take place on July 13th.


25.7K – LOOP

The race Starts and Finishes at the Crested Butte Nordic Center – 620 2nd. Street, in downtown Crested Butte.

A mass start commences from the Nordic Center, climbing directly up to Journey’s End road, where racers turn LEFT continuing downhill to the junction with Highway-135. Racers proceed south paralleling the highway for a 1/4 mile, before turning RIGHT off the highway at the Baxter Gulch trailhead. Here runners are routed onto single track, starting a series of sharp switchbacks climbing 600 feet through shaded aspens. This climb eventually opens up, transitioning to a climbing traverse. (Don’t forget to look over your left shoulder to view Mt. Crested Butte’s imposing presence over the valley!)

This initial climb tops out at 9,431 ft, before providing competitors a momentary 200 ft. downhill respite. Upon crossing a bridge across Baxter Creek, steady switchback climbing commences for the next mile.  After making a second crossing of Baxter Creek, elevation gain levels off, climbing more moderately through open meadows and surprise views of Mt. Whetstone. Moderate climbing continues until around mile 5.25, where 450 feet is more steeply gained in less then 1 mile.  This push delivers runners to a high saddle at 10,700 ft, and a sneak peek view into the adjacent Ohio Creek valley drainage.

Here the course embarks on a brief .5 mile descent, intersecting the Carbon Trail #436 where runners make a RIGHT turn and begin their final 545 feet of climbing to the course high point at 10,983 ft.  Here runners are treated to panoramic views of the high peaks spanning the Elk Mountain Range to the east, in addition to the expansive valley bottoms of the upper Gunnison laid out below.  The trail becomes consistently rougher throughout the next 2.5 mile portion of course.  This section of trail is either traversing or descending, but is utterly rock strewn throughout all the way until meeting the Green Lake Trail intersection.

At this juncture, racers are routed up a .3 mile spur to the Green Lake checkpoint and an opportunity for a refreshing alpine lake dunk.   After tapping the towering spruce tree standing on the bank of the lake, racers make an about-face, setting themselves on a 4.5 mile melee descending 2,100 feet back into the Town of Crested Butte.  Downhill running is shaded and very enjoyable, as the technical trail is only sparsely punctuated.  At mile 12.5, Green Lake Trail intersects a private subdivision road, runners make a right hand turn, running the road for .4 miles, then making a left hand turn to reconnect with the Green Lake Trail single track.  From this juncture, 2 miles and 623 feet of elevation loss remain, returning racers to the finish line back at the Crested Butte Nordic Center.

15K – Out & Back

This course Starts & Finishes in front of the Crested Butte Nordic Center (620 2nd. Street).  Departing the open gravel area on a northerly trajectory, the route rapidly transforms into singletrack routing racers onto an elevated traverse in the opposite direction above the Nordic Center.  In less than 1/2 miles the singletrack intersects the dirt graded – Journey’s End subdivision roadRunners turn RIGHT, again proceeding northerly, following municipal signage pointing to Green Lake.  In 1/4 mile up the road, another sign will direct you to turn LEFT at the Green Lake trailhead,  where singletrack recommences.  Runners switchback their way up through dark timber and a pleasant rolling terrain until being dumped out onto primitive double track where an abrupt climb commences. At the top of this climb, runners intersect a second portion of dirt graded subdivision road.

Here a sign directs you to turn RIGHT.  In 1/5 mile, look for another sign directing you to resume the second half of the Green Lake trail. Turning LEFT, runners wind their way up through more dark timber and intermittent meadows. The trail gets a bit more rugged on the upper portion of singletrack. Stay STRAIGHT at the intersection with Trail 436Continue past an initial pond for .3 mile to arrive at the majestic emerald shore of Green Lake.  After tapping the towering spruce tree standing on the bank of the lake, racers make an about-face, setting themselves on a 4.5 mile melee descending 2,100 feet back to the Nordic Center.

Finish Approach Runners DO NOT retrace the elevated traverse on the Canal Trail to complete the course.  As you turn off the dirt graded Journey’s End Rd., continue straight down the rocky double track paralleling the Ice Rink building, routing directly to the finish line.


Hydration (water & electrolyte) will be distributed at Green Lake – Mile 11 (loop) / Mile 4.5 (out-and-back)

Nutrition – Energy Gels will be provided to racers at bib pick-up.



25k- $75

15k- $65


Each participant will receive a commemorative  T-Shirt



Big Mine Park

Intersection of 1st Ave and Beckwith Ave

7:00 AM to 8:45 AM


Crested Butte Nordic Center
25k Loop – 8:00 AM

25k cut off- 10:00 AM

at the Saddle on Baxter’s Gulch, approximately mile 6

15k Classic – 9:00 AM


Big Mine Park

Intersection of 1st Ave and Beckwith Ave

10:00 AM to 1:00 PM


Volunteer Sign Up 


July 13, 2024
Event Category:


Crested Butte Nordic
620 2nd. Street
Crested Butte, CO 81224 United States
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