The Ultimate Crested Butte Guide
Distance – 227 Miles
Time From Denver – 4 Hours
The Route – A few options… 285 South to Gunnison then up 135 to CB. From BV you could take Cottonwood Pass too this is our preferred route and slightly faster than going to Gunnison. Check Google!
Sleeping Arrangements – Under The Stars or Airbnb. For dog-friendly hotels we like The Grand Lodge, it’s not updated at all but the rooms are big and they are very dog friendly. We have also boarded our pups at Oh Be dogful
Since falling in love with Crested Butte a few summers we have made multiple trips back and even got married there on July 20th, 2019! Check out all my wedding posts here.
Where to Eat in Crested Butte
Breakfast Around Town
To-Go: If you’re headed up the mountain or looking for a yummy quick breakfast head to the Gas Cafe. Don’t be deterred by the fact that this is literally inside a gas station the breakfast sandwiches are amazing. Perfect for a hangover too! For bagels head to Butte Bagels.
Brunch: For brunch on a patio, I love The Sunflower or Slogar’s. Mcgills is a breakfast and brunch mainstay in CB too.
Lunch in Crested Butte
Dinner in Crested Butte
Secret Stash – Hand down my favorite pizza in Colorado and I eat A LOT of pizza. We always order The Woodward and the “Big Ass Margarita” it’s the perfect meal. A trip to CB is not complete until you eat at the Secret Stash. There is no reservation but they are a machine so add your name to the list and go get a drink or stroll Elk Ave
Bonez – The Secret Stash sister restaurant, Bonez, also serves great Mexican dishes, delicious margs AND WHITE QUESO!! The decor is spot on too – we had our rehearsal dinner here! Also great for day drinking
Breadery – This new restaurant is a MUST on your trip. I highly recommend making a reservation but the bar is first come first serve too. I only got to try the pasta but I am told the pizza is amazing too.
Sunday Farmers Market – Sunday is the farmers market along Elk Avenue (main street) with lots and lots of vendors so you can shop, eat and explore all Elk Avenue has to offer.
What to Do in Crested Butte
Shop: Favor The Kind – this Texas transplant has amazing woman’s clothing and accessories as well as home goods and gifts. For more clothing (teens to 30s) check out Retail Therapy. For sporting goods and outdoor gear check out Dragonfly Anglers, Alpineer and Chopwood Mercantile.
Hikes: From the little town of Gothic there are some great hikes. Judd Falls is a super easy hike that takes you through wildflower fields to a beautiful waterfall. For a longer hike near Gothic check out Rustlers Gultch.
For wildflowers and epic views, Snodgrass Trail is it. This hike goes from Washington Gulch to Gothic. I suggest starting on the gothic side then going to the private property sign and turning around unless you want to shuttle cars or hike from one end and back. Remember Snodgrass TRAIL not mountain trail.
Another short hike is Long Lake. There are 2 ways to get to the lake. You can take the longer super easy trail (road) or go straight up, and I mean straight up. The straight-up is like a scramble but will only take 10 mins or so to get up. Once you reach the lake you will see beautiful wildflowers and a beach for swimming!
Scarpes Ridge loop is a great hike with some steep elevation gains but gives you spectacular views. Pay close attention to the LOOP as we missed the right-side trail and did the very vertical descent as our ascent. If your coming in the fall be sure to drive down this road as well it’s STUNNING. I can’t wait to go back this fall!
Hike or Bike from Mountain to Town – There is a great trail that goes from town to Mountain Village. We walked up and down it on our last trip, it takes about an hour and there is ZERO shade. ZERO. So plan accordingly. Ideally, you start in mountain village and bike all the way down gliding through the valley
Travel Crested Butte has really great guides to all the hikes in the area!
Fly Fishing in Crested Butte
We did an epic fly fishing trip on the Taylor River and I wrote all about it in this blog post.
Where to Cool Off Around Town
In the summer I crave water, after a long hike… or after a long night… So here are a few spots to cool off around town.
Slate River @ Rainbow Park – If you take the trail down from the village you will end in a residential part of town crossing the Slate River. This is a great place to bring the dogs to cool off too.
Oh Boy Joyful – Drive up to Oh Be Joyful for a dip or a sunset cheese plate. There is a dispersed campground up here as well.
Where to Stay in Crested Butte
Airbnb – As always if we are going to stay inside we prefer Airbnb. For a wedding this summer we found this adorable cabin right off Elk Avenue. Unless you are skiing I would opt to stay in town. Actually, even if I was skiing I would stay in town because the transport around town and to the Mountain Village is super convenient and free!
Hotels – Let’s just say the hotels in CB are a little dated. There are a number of great Inn’s in town but all the hotels are on the Mountain. We typically stay at The Grand Lodge because they allow dogs.
Camping – There are a number of designated and dispersed campsites around CB. VisitCrestedButte.com has the most amazing camping guide, check it out here.
Fall in CB
Fall in CB is BEAUTIFUL, I mean its pretty basically year-round but CB is known for its gorgeous Aspen and beautiful fall colors. Travel Crested Butte does a great job at posting about when the colors are peaking each fall.
Winter in Crested Butte
We have skied CB 2x and besides the EPIC views, it’s not nearly as crowded as some of the other mountains in colorado. If you have an epic pass CB is included too! The bus runs all day – for free – from the base to town so it’s super easy to get on and off the mountain wherever you say. Just double-check your spot is within walking distance of a bus stop.
I highly recommend skiing over to the umbrella bar for drinks, especially on a warm sunny day!
Things to Know About CB
CB is mountain town living! There is only a small grocery store and an Ace Hardwear so the larger stores are located in Gunnison. It may be wise to hit up a grocery store prior to getting to town. Acme Liquors across from the grocery store is great and has a huge selection! There is also a small liquor store on the mountain with some grocery necessities too.
CB is super easy to get around with great public transportation to take you from town to Mountain Village and all the way to the town of Gothic for some great hiking.
Peak Fall Foliage is historically around the end of September, while wildflowers peak mid-July