Top 5 Reasons to Experience Crested Butte this Spring

“Mud Season” is typically a low-key time in town come April and May. Even a handful of locals try to get out for a few days to enjoy some warm desert mountain biking. However, there is something special about a springtime visit to Crested Butte. Witnessing the transition from season to season in this beautiful mountain town can be a truly unique experience. Here are some reasons why.

1. Peace & Quiet

Once the ski lifts stop spinning, the town of Crested Butte pulls back the recliner and puts their feet up. It’s a time for us to re-energize after a long and busy winter. This is typically a great opportunity to roam around town, sit on an Elk Avenue bench basking in the sun, or venture out into surrounding areas by foot or bike.

Spring snow paints the valley white, aspens unfurl their neon-green leaves in late May, and lower altitude trails beckon you to enjoy them. Not all restaurants stay open, but you’ll almost never have to wait for a table for the ones that do like The Last Steep!

2. Biking

Each spring, Hartman Rocks becomes a hub for those who have put down their skis and are ready to hop on the saddle. Hartman Rocks is located south of Gunnison, just 35 minutes down HWY 135. Depending on the snow year, the BLM usually opens the gates sometime in April. The trail system offers easy to advanced terrain where dirt roads connect different single track trails. Click here for a trail map.

Road riding is also a great option, especially this time of year with wide shoulders, less traffic, and warmer temps. Check out our Road Cycling Guide for fully detailed ride information.

3. Fly Fishing

As snowmelt raises river waters, the fishing goes off. One of the best kept secrets in the Gunnison Valley may be the fly fishing. Between the Slate, East, Taylor, and Gunnison Rivers, anglers have plenty of options to head out, strap on waders, and enjoy a great day of fishing on the river banks. For the best information and tips head over to a couple of local fly fishing shops.

4. SUP

It’s never too early to get out the stand up paddle boards! Guided group tours start up towards the end of May, with rentals available in April typically. You might seek out Blue Mesa or other warmer areas in Gunnison at this time of year before heading out to the colder snowmelt waters near Crested Butte! Click here for our full SUP guide. 

5. Pole, Pedal, Paddle

The annual Pole, Pedal, Paddle (CB3P) takes place on April 29th. Individuals or teams of three will take on three activities: an uphill/downhill ski portion on Crested Butte Mountain Resort, a road bike section from Mt. Crested Butte to the Gunnison River, putting-in off 135, and finally a kayak discipline paddling from the river put-in across from Garlic Mike’s over to the White Water Park in Gunnison. This event is a local favorite and wild event to see, so don’t miss out. Click here for more info.

Bonus: Lower Lodging Rates

When the spring break crowds die down and the the ski resort closes, lodging rates drop. Places at the base area and other local lodging establishments will typically see the lowest rates of the year during this time.

Head over to the Nordic Inn on the mountain for great rates on your spring getaway.