Crested Butte Trails: Lower Loop

In Hiking guide by Josh Futterman

These creatively named trails are close to town, relatively easy, and offer mountain views as they follow the Slate River through the valley. A popular choice for mountain bikers as well as hikers, Lower Loop connects with a few other trails, providing alternate routes such as Woods Walk and the Budd Trail along the way. There are also a few benches on the trail inviting you to sit, relax, and enjoy the scenery. Need some gear for your hike? Swing by Chopwood Mercantile for all the gear and local’s knowledge you need for your outdoor adventures.

Highlights:Mountain views, Wildflowers
RT Length:6.4 miles
Approx. Time:3 hours RT
Elevation Gain:640 feet
Max Elevation:9,096 feet
Trailhead Elevation:8,904 feet
Travel Time to TH:5 minutes

Click photos to view multi-season gallery


From the town of Crested Butte, drive west on Elk Avenue and turn right on First Street. Make a left at the end of First Street onto Butte Ave. This turns into a dirt road and Peanut Lake road. Park at the clearly designated area [1] on the right side of the road just ahead. There is also a restricted parking lot another 1.2 miles up the road with wheelchair access.  Map


This follows the loop counter-clockwise: From the parking lot, follow Peanut Lake road up the valley past the old mining structure called the Gronk [2].  Take in excellent views  of Gothic Mountain, sometimes perfectly reflected in the calm waters of Peanut Lake [4]. Pass the alien shack [5] on the right side as you get closer to the end of the road. Bear right at the junction and choose your path at the sign[6].

From there, the trail meanders through some trees and past a few benches [8]. This is a good point to turn around for a shorter option. Continue bearing right at junctions to stay on Lower Loop and take. There are some helpful signs along the way in case you lose your bearings. Encounter another sign at Gunsight Pass road and take a left. You’ll follow the road up a few switchbacks until you see the trail again on your left. Walk through the fence posts and continue back via the Upper Lower Loop. Just over a mile in, bear left at the Budd Trail junction and continue until the trail intersects Lower Loop once again. Follow this back to the parking lot.


This is one of the most popular trails close to town and is welcome to many dogs, trail runners, hikers, and mountain bikers.  Aspen trees line parts of the valley for some decent fall foliage viewing.  The trail is mostly exposed; wear your sunblock. 

Click photos to view multi-season gallery

Trail Map & Profile

More Hiking Guides:

 Head back to the Hiking Guide for more hikes
 Don’t forget your Mountain Manners
 Here’s 6 Easy Hiking Trails Close to Town Crested Butte hiking trails just like this one

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