Crested Butte started off as a coal and silver mining town in the late eighteen hundred. Eventually, the mines closed and the town shrank in size and did not begin to grow again until the ski area was started up in the 1960’s. The town of Crested Butte is now a vibrant winter and summer destination with many tourists coming from Texas, Oklahoma and the front range of Colorado. Crested Butte has 1,500-year-round residences and has been able to keep its small-town charm and mining heritage alive. Crested Butte’s adorable downtown area is home to many restaurants, coffee shops, retail shops, art galleries and many professional offices. Crested Butte is also home to the Crested Butte Community School which was ranked as the sixth best public school in the entire state of Colorado.
Crested Butte in Colorado is a true mountain town that offers endless things to do. At roughly four and a half hours and a couple of mountain passes from Denver, it’s not the easiest place to get to, but that’s what makes this place so special. Known as one of the last true Colorado mountain towns, with an elevation of 8,909 feet, this place is a real diamond in the rough! To come to Crested Butte is to get away from it all and get back to the basics. A tightly-knit community, the charm, and smiles are everywhere.
Here are the 9-bucket lists that you can do when you are planning to visit our mountain town.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort – SUMMER
Crested Butte Mountain Resort opened in 1960 as a small ski resort and has grown over the years to become a famous adventure resort and one of the best things to do in Crested Butte, Colorado. During the summer, visitors can do many activities such as fishing, hiking, horseback riding, zip lining and lift rides during the day or at twilight. The resort offers several summer camp programs like Camp CB, Mountain Adventures, and Mountain Sports Bike Team.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort – WINTER
Crested Butte Mountain Resort offers exciting wintertime activities. There is skiing and snowboarding for every level of ability, and for the more advanced level, discover the hidden side of Crested Butte with some more extreme favorite thrillers……(Only for the expert skier) The Headwall, Teo Bowl, Funnel, Psycho Rocks, Spellbound, The Peak, Rambo and Third Bowl. Other forms of skiing include cross-country skiing, skate skiing, and guided mountain ski tours. There are several other wintertime activities as well. Such as snow biking, snowmobiling, tubing and lets not forget… The Winter Adventure Park at the base area complete with miniature golf, bungee trampolines, and a climbing wall.
Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum
Located on Elk Avenue, the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum is housed in Tony’s Conoco, a favorite local hangout in Crested Butte. This historic building was a blacksmith shop in 1883, and it later became a garage and hardware store. Today, the museum’s goal is to preserve and exhibit Gunnison Valley’s unique cultural history. The museum is devoted to showcasing local history with exhibits such as The History of Skiing in the Butte, Mountain Biking in Crested Butte, Home Life in Crested Butte, and much more. Elk Avenue is lined with many of the original historic buildings, homes, and saloons that have been well preserved and blend perfectly into today’s thriving community. It’s a great shopping area filled with boutiques, art galleries, and the Heritage Museum.
Crested Butte Nordic Center
Crested Butte has a well-earned reputation for being the Nordic ski capital of Colorado. Located on Second Street, Crested Butte Nordic is a non-profit organization founded in 1987 to educate people about Nordic skiing and snowshoeing, winding through the open valley and through the Aspen groves and pine forests. Rentals and trail passes are available at the Nordic Center in downtown Crested Butte—kids 17 and under as well as seniors 70 and over ski free. Crested Butte Nordic also hosts one of the most iconic races every February: The Alley Loop. Racers of all ages ski the streets and historic alleyways of Crested Butte, creating a festival-like atmosphere in the heart of town.
Restaurants, Bars, and Indoor Activities
Looking for a good food? You will be amazed at the countless restaurants in Crested Butte. From delicious comfort food to outrageous tamales to gourmet French, you will find everything here to satisfy your palate. Looking for a local bar where you can enjoy a drink? A world class Margarita, Bloody Mary or a pint of IPA? No problem. How about a glass of Reserve Oregon Pinot? Absolutely, it’s all right here. You can even tour nearby Colorado breweries, wineries, and distilleries. Live music, theater, dancing, lots of shopping, and more is all at your fingertips in this postcard-perfect town.
Wake up in the cool, pine scented air tinged with the smoky remnants of your campfire. There is nothing like unplugging and escaping the noise and chaos of modern life. You will find that there are plenty of campsites in and around Crested Butte and Gunnison, Colorado. Sleep under the stars in Ohio Creek, Oh Be Joyful, Cement or Brush Creek or take a backcountry adventure and discover all that Crested Butte has to offer. Choose from options ranging from off-the-grid camping to modern sites with convenient amenities.
Become a cowboy or cowgirl for an hour, a day, or even overnight with Crested Butte horseback rides that hearken back to the days of the old west. From the saddle, take in beautiful mountain wilderness and visit trails inaccessible to motorized vehicles. Equestrian activities start around $40-$60 per person for shorter rides. Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley on horseback is like no other. Whether you ride in the summer, fall, or winter the landscapes accessed by horse will absolutely be worth it.
Meridian Lake, located close to Crested Butte, is a popular summer and fall destination for several reasons. Also, known as Long Lake, this free attraction offers visitors the chance to engage in fun activities like swimming and hiking. There are two trails along the natural lake, one of them easy and the other more strenuous. The easier trail is 2.4 miles long and takes between one and two hours to complete round trip. The strenuous trail is just half a mile long, but it takes the same amount of time to complete a round trip. Both trails showcase the beauty of the aspen trees and wildflowers and lead to spots where you can swim in the lake.
Hot Springs near Crested Butte
Everyone needs a dose of some quality rest and relaxation from time to time. If you’re craving a break from your busy schedule, escape to the gorgeous hot springs! Not only can you enjoy some hiking in the fresh mountain air, on your way to Crested butte stop at the Historic Mt. Princeton Hot Springs. The areas of Gunnison and Crested Butte, in particular, are surrounded by some fantastic natural springs. Each of these spots o ffers their own unique features and services that you are bound to love. Some of the finest hot springs are Conundrum Hot Springs and Waunita Hot Springs Ranch which takes more or less 50 minutes of travel from Crested Butte.