Mountain Manners

The summer months in the mountains surrounding Crested Butte are filled with wildflowers, quaking aspen, snow-capped peaks, and cascading creeks. As the deep snows of winter melt in the spring, camping season begins. Summertime is the season of brilliant wildflowers, long days and cool nights, endless miles of hiking and biking. The short summer is followed by crisp autumn days offering jaw dropping views of high alpine summits dusted in the first snows of the long winter ahead rising above vast forests of shimmering golden aspen. Visitors and locals who endeavor to setup a tent and sleep out under the stars are rewarded the next day with heart stopping natural beauty beckoning from the tent door.

The core essence of camping is to “leave no trace” and have mountain manners. These principals may be boiled down to a single statement: “Take only pictures and leave only footprints”. This ethos is especially important when camping outside of a maintained campground because there is no one to clean up after you, OR put your fire out. The following principals apply to any and all camping situations. Here are a few tips for keeping the great outdoors great:

Never Damage Trees or Plants

NEVER cut live trees or brush for firewood. Please consider bringing firewood with you. It is very common to see people damaging trees for firewood.

Avoid trampling down plants, they have a short growing season and often are unable to recover if damaged. And don’t pick those beautiful wildflowers that cover the Crested Butte floor come July.

Be a Good Dog

Stay alert and look for private property signs while finding the perfect spot. Remember dispersed camping means you MUST pack out all trash and waste.

No dispersed camping in Gothic June 15th-August 15th this summer.

Locating a Campsite

Stay alert and look for private property signs while finding the perfect spot. Remember dispersed camping means you MUST pack out all trash and waste.

No dispersed camping in Gothic June 15th-August 15th this summer.

Use Only Heavily Impacted Sites

Impacted sites will:

  • be highly impacted meaning the ground will have minimal growth.
  • have an established rock fire-ring. Never build a new fire-ring.
  • have an impacted “driveway” leading to the site. Do not make new roads or drive through plants.
  • it will be at least 200 yards from any water or wetland. 

Campfires in Dispersed Campsites

Campfires are a luxury, not a necessity so please:

  • use established rock-rings, don’t create new ones.
  • if there is a current fire ban, don’t have a campfire.
  • don’t ever leave your campfire unattended.

Keep Our Water Clean

Do not set up camp within 200′ of water (rivers, streams, ponds, wetlands and riparian areas). Even if you see an established camping area within 200’ please do not camp there just because others have.

Do not pollute water by washing your hands, bathing or washing dishes in rivers and streams, not even with “biodegradable soap”, they too pollute! Carry water away from the source to wash and bathe, use a sieve to strain dish water to remove as much debris as possible from dishwater then dispersed dirty, soapy water across impacted ground (the road) or rocks.

Never clean fish in a water source. Discard fish entrails at least 200 feet away from camp and water.

Dispose of Human Waste Properly

Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products

Use Wag Bags (Waste & Gel Disposal Bags) to pack out your waste. These can be purchased at most sporting goods stores in the area.

If you choose the Cat-Hole Method:

  • Dig in good soil 6-8 inches deep and 200 yards away from water.
  • Mix your waste thoroughly with the soil.
  • Fill the hole and disguise it with pine needles or other plant debris.

Unplug & Be Friendly

While we’re consumed with technology, now is the time to tune out. Enjoy your surroundings, and let’s be real no one wants to be with someone texting during the whole hike anyways. Say hi to other trail users and embrace the Crested Butte mountain air! And don’t forget your…

For a more detailed info of LEAVE NO TRACE practices please visit: LNT.org