Though Crested Butte often comes off as just a sleepy Colorado town, it is actually a place bursting with things for visitors to do, especially if they want to spend as much time as possible in the beautiful outdoors — just as the locals do. The following five activities are not to be missed.
There are few better ways to spend time in Crested Butte than hiking the trails that abound in the area (which is also regarded as the wildflower capital of Colorado). Length and degree of difficulty vary, with some all-day treks involving as much as 1,500 feet of elevation gain and topping out at nearly 12,500 feet. In organizing our hike, Scarp Ridge Lodge secured a guide, and she texted us the night before to see what sort of adventure we preferred. Not wanting to overdo it in the high altitude, my wife and I opted for something on the benign side. And our guide obliged, taking us to the abandoned mining town of Gothic, and from there to Judd Falls. Lasting about half a day, it was the perfect choice, and the trail we took wound through stands of pines and aspens before coming to an end at the falls, which were named after Garwood Judd, a one-time saloon owner who continued to live in Gothic even after the miners left.
Historic Walking Tour
Travelers can enjoy a different sort of hike when they take a walking tour of historic Crested Butte. Led by knowledgeable docents and lasting a couple of hours, it starts at the old blacksmith’s shop on the corner of Elk Avenue and Fourth Street, where the town’s Mountain Heritage Museum is now located, and takes people to places that tell the story of this frontier town. One such place is the Forest Queen, an old hotel and bar that later housed a laundry on the first floor and a brothel on the level above it; or the Marshal’s Office on Second Street, a stone structure that was built in 1883 and for many years served as the town’s jail. Other stops include the Mule Barn, where the beasts that pulled the ore carts in the Big Mine were stabled, and different lodges where miners gathered to socialize with one another.