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):
|= Easy||= Moderate||= Strenuous||= Very Strenuous|
|A = Aspen||M = Mountain Views||W = Wildflowers|
|Trail||Area||Difficulty||Mileage||Approx. Time||Gain (feet)||Features|
|Tony's Trail to Viewpoint||Town||2.8||1.5 hours||461||A|
|Recreation Path||Town||4||1.5 hours||428||M, W|
|Brush Creek||Town||4.3||2 hours||315||W|
|Lower Loop||Town||6.4||3 hours||640||M, W|
|Woods Walk||Town||2.9||1.5 hours||213||A, W|
|Long Lake - Easy Route||Washington Gulch||2.4||1.5 hours||515||A, M, W|
|403 to Viewpoint||Washington Gulch||2.7||1.5 hours||746||M, W|
|Judd Falls||Gothic Valley||1||1 hour||166||A, W|
|Three Lakes Loop||Kebler Pass||2.8||1.5 hours||578||A, M|
|Old RR Grade||Ohio Pass||2||1 hour||355||A, M|
|Beaver Ponds||Ohio Pass||1.1||1 hour||187||A, W|
|Long Lake High Point (Trail Closed)||Washington Gulch||1.4||2.5 hours||512||A, M, W|
|Tony's - Whetstone - Deli Loop||Town||7.1||3 hours||623||A, M|
|Whetstone - Upper Upper Loop||Town||2.7||1.5 hours||436||A, W|
|Snodgrass Mountain||Town||6.1||3.5 hours||1421||A, M, W|
|Anthracite Mesa Summit||Washington Gulch||1||1 hour||381||M, W|
|Snodgrass Trail||Washington Gulch||3.6||1.5 hours||832||A, M, W|
|Deer Creek Trail to View Point||Gothic Valley||6.9||3.5 hours||1394||A, M, W|
|Rustler Gulch||Gothic Valley||7||4 hours||1850||M, W|
|West Maroon - Hasley Pass Loop||Gothic Valley||5.5||3.5 hours||1816||M, W|
|Lupine Trail||Slate River Valley||7||2.5 hours||888||A, M, W|
|Lupine Trail (shuttle)||Slate River Valley||3.5||1.5 hours||635||A, M, W|
|Copley Lake||Kebler Pass||3.5||2.5 hours||1096||W|
|Scarp Ridge West to 4x4 Road End||Kebler Pass||4.2||2.5 hours||1008||M|
|Green Lake (near Irwin)||Kebler Pass||5.5||2.5 hours||1365||M, W|
|Scarp Ridge West to Ridge||Kebler Pass||6.1||3.5 hours||1250||M|
|Horse Ranch Park Loop||Kebler Pass||6.1||3.5 hours||1102||A, M|
|Deer Creek Trail (shuttle)||Gothic Valley||9.1||4.5 hours||1909||A, M, W|
|Long Lake - Strenuous Route||Washington Gulch||.5||1.5 hours||280||A, W|
|West Maroon - Frigid Air Pass Loop||Gothic Valley||9.3||5 hours||2722||M, W|
|West Maroon - 3 Pass Loop||Gothic Valley||10.8||6 hours||3214||M, W|
|West Maroon Pass||Gothic Valley||7.8||4.5 hours||2312||M, W|
|Crested Butte to Aspen||Gothic Valley||10.2||6-8 hours||2357||A, M, W|
|Aspen to Crested Butte||Gothic Valley||10.2||7-9 hours||3265||A, M, W|
|Scarp Ridge Middle Loop||Kebler Pass||4.6||2.5 hours||1576||M, W|
|Scarp Ridge East to Red Lady||Kebler Pass||8||4.5 hours||2914||M, W|
|Red Lady (Mt. Emmons)||Kebler Pass||10.4||5-7 hours||3391||M, W|
|Caves Trail||Cement Creek||1.7||1.5 hours||883||A, M|
|Daisy Pass||Slate River Valley||4.6||3.5 hours||1852||M, W|
|Mt. Crested Butte Summit||Town||2||2 hours||1248||M|
|Gothic Mountain||Washington Gulch||6.4||5-6 hours||2332||M, W|
Click for interactive Google Map
**Be careful out there and know your limits. Altitude, trail conditions, surrounding hikers, wildlife, and more all play a hand in hikes.**
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 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.
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.
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.
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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.