It’s quite a boast to say you’re the best. Especially in a state the size of Colorado, which is half-covered with aspens and dozens of towns in the Rockies are vying for the title. Though they all may have their fair share of aspen groves and scenic backgrounds, there are few that can compete with everything Crested Butte has to offer. Here’s why you won’t find better fall colors in Colorado:
1. Kebler Pass
Crested Butte sits at the end of Kebler Pass Road, offering you access to Colorado’s largest aspen grove. Biggest may not always be best, but in this case it certainly helps. Not only is there an awe-inspiring sea of yellow, but with this size comes variety. An area know as “The Dyke” near the top of the pass, contains some aspen stands, which turn a striking red. There are trails, camping sites, and plenty of pull-offs to grab your own spectacular photos.
2. World-Class Mountain Biking
In addition to Kebler, numerous large groves of aspen can be seen all around the town of Crested Butte. Interwoven within these white trunks lies a network of multi-use trails. Already known for some of the best mountain biking in the country, now add a bed of golden leaves to ride on while they simultaneously shower upon you, as if to welcome your arrival like a Roman Caesar. The experience is not soon forgotten, nor should it be; being available only a week or two every year. Check out the Lupine trail in the Slate River Valley and Strand Hill or 409 (Farris Creek Trail) just south of town.
3. Epic Hiking Trails
No need to fret if you don’t ride a bike. There are even more trails through the trees accessible by foot or even horseback. Close to town, check out the Upper Loop and Brush Creek located around Mount Crested Butte. The Lower Loop and Woods Walk trails start right at the edge of town as well and all of them offer fantastic color. If you’re feeling more ambitious, perhaps a hike to or from Aspen?
4. Spectacular Drives
Take in the sights from the comfort of your own vehicle, but be sure to grab your favorite coffee or tea for the experience. There are a number of different routes to enjoy in, around, and through Gunnison valley. Check out the West Elk loop for a full day’s worth of scenery. This will take you through past tall aspen stands atop cliffs on the rim of the Black Canyon, through Paonia and the scenic West Elks, and back over Kebler Pass to Crested Butte. A couple of shorter trips include Ohio Creek Road to Kebler Pass, Almont to Taylor Reservoir (or just take this route via Cottonwood Pass on your way in from the Front Range).
5. The Towns of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte
Whatever you need out of a weekend trip or vacation, you’ll most likely find it here. Lodging accommodations range from cozy B&Bs to budget-friendly inns to four star hotels. Choose from over 50 restaurants from the most casual to 7 course fine dining. There’s a reason they call this “The last great Colorado ski town”. No traffic lights, pedestrian-friendly, and a mecca for outdoor recreation.
*Bonus – CB Film Festival
Every year in late September, Crested Butte hosts its own film festival. This four-day celebration of international films includes award-winning shorts, documentaries, and narrative features. So now you have another activity to look forward to when the sun sets. Visit the CB Film Festival website to learn more, view the schedule or buy passes online.