Crested Butte Trails: Crested Butte Mountain Summit 12,162 Feet

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The town's namesake begs to be summited. A short, steep, and rewarding hike starts by taking the Silver Queen lift from the Crested Butte Mountain Resort base area up to 11,340 feet. This peak can also be hiked all the way from the base area for free. From the summit you'll be rewarded with some of the best views in the area: all of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and towns. You can also hike or run from the base area for a much longer and more challenging day.

From Silver Queen LiftFrom Base Area
Highlights:Mountain top views of everythingMountain top views of everything
Difficulty:StrenuousVery Strenuous
RT Length:2 miles RT9.9 miles RT
Approx. Time:2 hours RT 4-5 hours RT
Elevation Gain:1,248 feet2,672 feet
Max Elevation:12,162 feet12,162 feet
Trailhead Elevation:11,430 feet (top of lift)9,350 feet (Base area)
Travel Time to TH:10 minutes10 minutes

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Post-Hike Dining

(Tavern) – Located just steps from the mountain, José Crested Butte is the base area's go-to for dining and entertainment. Enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner inside the restaurant, at the bar, or on our pet-friendly outdoor patio in Crested Butte's only ski-in/ski-out destination. The mountain views are impossible to beat!


From the Town of Crested Butte: Take Gothic Road (Route 135) north 2.4 miles up toward the ski base area. Free parking is available just past Treasury Road on your right. A second free parking lot is located just past The Plaza. Turn right on Snowmass Road and the lot is located past The Plaza covered parking lot on the right. Lift tickets are $20 for adults for a round trip (free ride down if you hike from the base area). Call (877) 547-5143 for lift times or more info.  Map


From the base area, hop on the Silver Queen lift [1]. From the top of the lift, head left and uphill into the trees where there is a sign. The trail starts climbing wooden steps through the forest [3]. Continue up until the trail levels out near some picnic tables [4]. Here you'll see the remainder of the summit block and a highly visible trail up the saddle [5]. The path gets steeper as you head up past the tree line and top out with views of the town of Crested Butte south [6]. Follow the trail to the right and back down a few hundred feet before ascending a steep, slippery slope (which can be covered with snow) to a signed viewpoint [7].

Get ready for some more serious climbing and scrambling through the boulders that make up the summit. The trail gets faint further up, but shouldn't get more difficult than basic scrambling [9]. When in doubt, keep going up. Some rocks will move under foot so be sure to use your hands for balance. You'll notice a couple plaques, memorials, and flags once you reach the top [10].


If you are hiking from the Base Area: Start on Up and Away Trail. Follow the trail as it climbs from the base area and eventually ends at painter boy road. follow the road left and up to the painter boy lift. Pass the lift and continue climbing on the road. Eventually the road will top out at a junction with a large trail map on the left side, it's a good idea to double check the map here. From the road junction take the trail Primer and climb up to the Red Lady Lift. Once at the red lady lift you can jump on the Upper Mountain Access Trail/ the Silver Queen Trail. This trail is a 4x4 road that switchbacks from the Red Lady lift up to the Silver Queen lift. Once on the road you follow it all. the way to the Paradise lift, then continue on to the Silver Queen lift. There are some scenic overlooks with picnic tables on some of the switchbacks. Once you reach the Silver Queen lift you can follow the above directions to reach the summit.


For longer hikes its a good idea to carry a few extra things in your pack. Make sure to bring extra food and water, rain gear, a map or gps, sun protection, and a flashlight in case your hike goes late. More information on what to pack can be found here

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Trail Map & Profile