Crested Butte Trails: Caves Trail

In Hiking guide by Josh Futterman

Most visitors miss out on experiencing some fantastic scenery hidden in the Cement Creek Valley near Crested Butte South (or CB South in local speak). Who can blame them? With so many amazing trails surrounding the town of Crested Butte, it’s hard to imagine yet another place worth exploring. However, the Caves trail and its connecting network of aspen lined hikes are certainly popular enough with locals to warrant a closer look.

Planning your trip? Purple Mountain Bed & Breakfast has great deals and is located downtown.

Highlights:Valley Views, Aspens, Caves!
Difficulty:Steep & Strenuous
RT Length:1.66 miles
Approx. Time:1.5 hours
Elevation Gain:883 feet
Max Elevation:9,639 feet
Trailhead Elevation:8,802 feet
Travel Time to TH:15 minutes


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Directions

From the Town of Crested Butte: Take 135 south 6.6 miles to the town of Crested Butte South. Turn left onto Cement Creek Road (Co Rd 740) and follow it as it turns into dirt for 1.8 miles. The parking lot is on the right side of the road and the trailhead is directly across from it on the left side. Map


Route

This trail is short and steep with numerous switchbacks that climb the hillside. Follow the well defined path up [2] and catch views of the caves off to the right side [3]. There is a distinct tunnel in the rock, which you can peer from this angle. A mix of sagebrush, aspen, and conifer trees greet along your climb.

The trail starts to level out as you make your way toward the caves. As you approach the rock formation, there is a faint path offering the chance to get a closer look at the tunnel (at your own risk) [5]. The remaining hundred feet of the main trail will reveal spectacular views of Red Mountain, directly across from CB South [9] and Cement Mountain (on the left). Look directly ahead when on top of the caves and see where the first chair lift in Colorado was built on the Pioneer Ski Area back in 1939 [8]. There aren’t any trails which access the other side of the main cave, but it can be approached with a little bit of bushwhacking on steep, loose ground.

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This is a pet friendly trail, abide by the leash law at all times. Yield trail right of way to all others when hiking with your dog. Tread lightly on the trail to avoid damaging the ecosystem and remember to pack out all doggy doo.



Trail Map & Profile




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Enjoying this trail? Help support the people who maintain it. Donate to the Crested Butte Conservation Corps.

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After a restful sleep in one of five comfortable bedrooms, wake to the smell of fresh-brewed Camp 4 Coffee and the aroma of the morning’s home-cooked breakfast. Innkeeper and chef Chris Haver will serve up your delicious meal while offering tips on the best trail or activity of the day. There’s even a daily craft beer tasting in the living room.