Crested Butte Hiking: 5 Bucket List Trails

In Uncategorized by Josh Futterman

Crested Butte offers hundreds of miles of epic hiking trails, wilderness areas, National Forest, and public lands. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re crunched for time or want to experience long excursions into the mountains. We’ve rounded up the 5 bucket list hiking trails in Crested Butte based on the most alluring features to simplify your selection.

Need a place to stay? Take an extra 10% off discounted prices at the Nordic Inn with promo code: TCBSUM10

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Check out our Hiking Guide for the full list of local trails and important tips to minimize your impact on outdoor areas through the Leave No Trace principles! Happy hiking!

For Wildflowers: Rustlers Gulch


Incomparable abundance and variety of wildflowers.


Difficulty: Moderate

Info: Plan your hike for July during peak wildflower season, and plan for a 7 mile hike, which takes about 4 hours to complete. This is an out-and-back trail with wide valley views, incredible mountain peaks, and waterfalls. Click here for the full trail guide.

Honorable Mention: Brush Creek for a shorter hike that is close to town.


For Aspen Groves: Horse Ranch Park


Views of nearly the entire Kebler Pass aspen forest, one of the largest in the world.


Difficulty: Moderate 

Info: This hike is incredible in the summer, with vibrant green expanses of aspens and meadows full of wildflowers. Fall is also a great time to hike and see the incredible aspen colors. The round trip trail is 6 miles, taking approximately 3.5 hours. For the full trail guide, click here.

Honorable Mention: Beaver Ponds for an easy, family friendly out-and-back that delivers.


For Camping: Lost Lake Slough


Mountain views & lakes


Difficulty: Easy

Info: This is an easy loop, with 3 lakes, waterfalls, wide mountain views and vibrant aspen groves. It’s perfect for a quick day hike from your campsite at Lost Lake Campground (no driving to the trail head required). This is a great area for families and people looking for established campsites, but keep in mind these do fill up quickly. If you’re looking for dispersed camping there’s plenty along Kebler Pass Road. More info here.

Honorable Mention:  Near the top of Washington Gulch Road, by the 403 to viewpoint trailhead.


For Mountain Views: Red Lady via Scarp Ridge


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Spectacular 360 degree mountain views


Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous

Info: You’ll get incredible open meadows full of wildflowers, and exposed ridge lines with sweeping, 360 degree views of the mountains, rust colored cliffs, and emerald alpine lakes. Even if you don’t make it all the way to the peak of Red Lady (Mt. Emmons, officially), you won’t be disappointed with this as an out-and-back. Click here for the full trail guide.

Honorable Mention: Mt. Crested Butte Summit for lift accessed panoramas of the surrounding areas.


Point-to-Point: Crested Butte to Aspen


One of the most memorable hikes in CB


Difficulty: Strenuous

Info: This is one of those trails that hits everyones’ bucket list. It’s an 11 mile hike linking two quintessential mountain towns, Crested Butte and Aspen. The route is only passable (without skis) from around late June to early October depending on snowfall. High alpine views, lush wildflowers, and freshwater streams adorn this hike, and you have a couple of options on how to complete it. Start in CB, or in Aspen, stay a night in either town then hike back, or catch a shuttle to your starting point. Click here for the full trail guide.

Need some help planning your CB to Aspen journey? Book with the Nordic Inn in Crested Butte and they’ll help you hammer out the details, including lodging in Aspen and arranging that shuttle.

Honorable Mention: For an easy version, the Recreation Path is a great point-to-point town hike linking CB to Mt. CB, with free shuttle transportation back.


Featured Lodging

Nordic Inn

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  • Continental Breakfast • Free Mountain Parking

Rate: $169
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(970) 349-5542Map

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The Nordic Inn is the perfect base camp for Crested Butte adventure. Nestled near the base area of Mt. Crested Butte, this is an ideal spot for exploring the Gothic Valley, mountain biking at the resort, and its a short walk to the bus loop, so you can get to town without worrying about driving. Make sure to check out their seasonal discounts!