The Crested Butte Hiking Guide

hiking guide header

Crested Butte lies close to the heart of the Elk Mountain Range in the Colorado Rockies. Its location acts as a perfect hub for some of the best hiking in the country. Towering peaks, lush valleys, awe-inspiring vistas, cliff-side trails, and hillsides saturated with the bright colors of nature can all be experienced on these day hikes. Be sure to charge your camera for the ridiculous number of photo opportunities.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”  – John Muir

Starting late in May and going through October, the hiking season is short, but oh-so-sweet. Wildflowers dominate the landscape in the summer; Crested Butte is known as the wildflower capital of Colorado. Golden aspens shine in late September and October. The Gunnison National Forest, which includes five Wilderness areas, ensures pristine conditions and memorable experiences. And don’t forget your dog (permitted on nearly every trail)!

Click on the photos below to view gallery:


Need a Place to Stay?  Elevation Hotel is not only conveniently located, but features a luxurious mountain experience along with a complete spa and hot tub for the tough days on the trail.

This guide was created to help you choose the best Crested Butte hikes based on a number of categories: Location, Difficulty, Distance, Elevation, Time, and Features. Sort the guide by clicking on the category in the table header. All trail guides are also mobile friendly, so feel free to take some screenshots or print out the directions (there isn’t much cell service on most trails):

Key
Green Circle = Easy = Moderate = Strenuous = Very Strenuous
A = AspenM = Mountain ViewsW = Wildflowers
TrailAreaDifficultyMileageApprox. TimeGain (feet)Features
Tony's Trail to ViewpointTown1Easy2.81.5 hours461A
Recreation PathTown1Easy41.5 hours428M, W
Brush CreekTown1Easy4.32 hours315W
Lower LoopTown1Easy6.43 hours640M, W
Woods WalkTown1Easy2.91.5 hours213A, W
Long Lake - Easy RouteWashington Gulch1Easy2.41.5 hours515A, M, W
403 to ViewpointWashington Gulch1Easy2.71.5 hours746M, W
Judd FallsGothic Valley1Easy11 hour166A, W
Three Lakes LoopKebler Pass1Easy2.81.5 hours578A, M
Old RR GradeOhio Pass1Easy2 1 hour355A, M
Beaver PondsOhio Pass1Easy1.11 hour187A, W
Long Lake High Point (Trail Closed)Washington Gulch2Moderate1.42.5 hours512A, M, W
Tony's - Whetstone - Deli LoopTown2Moderate7.13 hours623A, M
Whetstone - Upper Upper LoopTown2Moderate2.71.5 hours436A, W
Snodgrass MountainTown2Moderate6.13.5 hours1421A, M, W
Anthracite Mesa SummitWashington Gulch2Moderate1 1 hour381M, W
Snodgrass Trail Washington Gulch2Moderate3.61.5 hours832A, M, W
Deer Creek Trail to View PointGothic Valley2Moderate6.93.5 hours1394A, M, W
Rustler GulchGothic Valley2Moderate74 hours1850M, W
West Maroon - Hasley Pass LoopGothic Valley2Moderate5.53.5 hours1816M, W
Lupine TrailSlate River Valley2Moderate72.5 hours888A, M, W
Lupine Trail (shuttle)Slate River Valley2Moderate3.51.5 hours635A, M, W
Copley LakeKebler Pass2Moderate3.52.5 hours1096W
Scarp Ridge West to 4x4 Road EndKebler Pass2Moderate4.22.5 hours1008M
Green Lake (near Irwin)Kebler Pass2Moderate5.52.5 hours1365M, W
Scarp Ridge West to RidgeKebler Pass2Moderate6.13.5 hours1250M
Horse Ranch Park LoopKebler Pass2Moderate6.13.5 hours1102A, M
Deer Creek Trail (shuttle)Gothic Valley3Strenuous9.14.5 hours1909A, M, W
Long Lake - Strenuous RouteWashington Gulch3Strenuous.51.5 hours280A, W
West Maroon - Frigid Air Pass LoopGothic Valley3Strenuous9.35 hours2722M, W
West Maroon - 3 Pass LoopGothic Valley3Strenuous10.86 hours3214M, W
West Maroon PassGothic Valley3Strenuous7.84.5 hours2312M, W
Crested Butte to AspenGothic Valley3Strenuous10.26-8 hours2357A, M, W
Aspen to Crested ButteGothic Valley3Strenuous10.27-9 hours3265A, M, W
Scarp Ridge Middle LoopKebler Pass3Strenuous4.62.5 hours1576M, W
Scarp Ridge East to Red LadyKebler Pass3Strenuous84.5 hours2914M, W
Red Lady (Mt. Emmons)Kebler Pass3Strenuous10.45-7 hours3391M, W
Caves TrailCement Creek3Strenuous1.71.5 hours883A, M
Daisy PassSlate River Valley4Very Strenuous4.63.5 hours1852M, W
Mt. Crested Butte SummitTown4Very Strenuous22 hours1248M
Gothic MountainWashington Gulch4Very Strenuous6.45-6 hours2332M, W

Click for interactive Google Map

hikingguide

**Be careful out there and know your limits. Altitude, trail conditions, surrounding hikers, wildlife, and more all play a hand in hikes.**

Difficulty

Difficulty is subjective, however we incorporate a number of elements into the Crested Butte hiking guide to help distinguish how strenuous each trail will be for you. This includes:  total milage, steepness, trail conditions, altitude, and elevation gain.

Hiking Times

Hiking times are even more subjective than assessing difficulty. Your fitness and pace will ultimately determine how long each trail will take. For our assessment, we estimated the times based on a leisurely pace of + or – 2 miles per hour depending on the gradient of the trial. These times don’t include stopping for rest or long meals, but with a short intermissions for a snack or to snag a photo.

Weather

It’s always recommended to check the weather forecast the night before your trip. Keep in mind, much of the hiking season here is also during the monsoon season, when afternoon thunderstorms occur like clockwork. Many trails take you above the tree line and are very exposed. Lightning is the main concern and if dark storm clouds are brewing, it’s best to head down immediately. Temperatures can fluctuate dramatically, especially with rainfall, so be prepared with proper clothing and layers. A rule of thumb is to be at your highest place before noon.

Mountain Manners

No matter your recreational endeavor, everyone is responsible to care for the environment in which they’re exploring. To keep our jaw-dropping views, our famous wildflowers, and lush scenery looking beautiful, and healthy, we all have to leave it better than we found it. Make sure to review the Mountain Manners guide before you head out so you, and everyone in your group is taking care of our corner of paradise, and beyond.


Lodging Deals:

Featured Partner

elevation1

Elevation Hotel

Rates: $111 – $333 (seasonal)
500 Gothic Road  •  Map
(970) 251-3000 •  Website

Save up to 50% on Elevation room rates with promo code: MKTEXC

Features: Ski-in/out • Indoor pool/hot tub • Pet friendly • Spa • Gym • Laundry • 24hr concierge

Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s ski-in/ski-out hotel is not only conveniently located, but features a luxurious mountain experience. Elevation Hotel is a combination of mountain charm and contemporary urban design. Discover fine dining at the 9380 restaurant located within the building, spa, and full-service hotel amenities that also include a free town shuttle.