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. Check out our full Hiking Guide for the full menu of local trails.
For Wildflowers: Rustlers Gulch
Incomparable abundance and variety of wildflowers
Moderate ● Plan your hike for July or early August, 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, and aside from numerous wildflowers, you’ll also be treated to wide valley views, incredible mountain peaks, and waterfalls. Click here for the 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
Moderate ● This hike is incredible in the summer, with vibrant green expanses of aspens, and meadows full of wildflowers. Huge expanses of aspens means it’s out-of-this-world in the fall, when leaves change and patches of gold, orange and red fill the Kebler aspen grove. 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
Easy ● 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. Keep in mind these do fill up quickly. If you’re more into primitive camping there’s plenty along Kebler Pass Road, but be sure to keep your impact to a minimum and leave no trace.
Honorable Mention: Near the top of Washington Gulch Road, by the 403 to viewpoint trailhead.
For Mountain Views: Red Lady via Scarp Ridge
Spectacular 360 degree mountain views
Moderate to Strenuous ● You’ll get incredible open meadows full of wildflowers, and exposed ridge lines making for sweeping, 360 degree views of the mountains surrounding Crested Butte. 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. Scarp Ridge gives hikers heart pumping views over rust colored cliffs and emerald alpine lakes. 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
Strenuous ● 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. 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.
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!