Family Adventures In Crested Butte, Colorado

Whether you love a great powder day, the beauty of a field of colorful wildflowers or scenic single-track, you can find something to peak your interest when visiting Crested Butte.

By Courtney Johnson
Explore Ambassador

A place for all seasons is one way to describe Crested Butte. As the “gateway to the Elk Mountains,” the city boasts tremendous recreational opportunities, whether the wildflowers are blooming, the leaves are changing or it’s nuking snow. Originally home to the Ute tribe, the town was incorporated in July 1880 with 4,000 residents, a mix of full-time residents and placer miners. Another 1,000 miners called the mountains surrounding the town home.

There is always adventure in Crested Butte no matter the season.

Affectionately referred to as “Crusty Butt” by Coloradans, Crested Butte is truly a skier’s town. There are no snow days in Crested Butte, where the average snowfall is almost 200 inches. Keep in mind, the average snowfall around the rest of the U.S. is only 27 inches, making this a destination for skiers looking for stashes of powder. Known for its steep terrain, Crested Butte also offers plenty of options for skiers of all levels and abilities. The resort is 1,500-plus acres with 121 trails and 15 lifts. Uphill traffic is allowed on the slopes before 8:45 a.m.

Snowshoeing is a favorite winter activity in CB.

The backcountry terrain is endless within the Gunnison National Forest and the Elk Mountains. For those looking to get away from the crowds, you can access routes on foot (bootpack or snowshoe) closer to town or by snowmobile for lines that can be found on closed-for-the-winter roads. From Snodgrass Mountain and Schuylkill Ridge to Kebler Pass and Washington Gulch, backcountry enthusiasts flock to the area for endless adventures.

The town is also known as the “Nordic Ski Capital of Colorado,” with over 62 miles of groomed trails throughout the area. Classic or skate skiers have access to 34 miles of trails groomed by Crested Butte Nordic. Snowshoers can also enjoy many of the trails, while dogs are also welcome along the Pooch’s Paradise — said to be the longest groomed, dog-friendly trail in the state with a trail pass. Not to be missed is brunch on Sundays at the Magic Meadows Yurt. The yurt also hosts fine-dining dinners and special events, including nighttime snowshoes.

The Magic Meadows Yurt has weekend brunch and yurt dinners.

Those who still prefer to travel, or get their exercise, via two wheels year-round can enjoy access to the slopes via fat bike at the resort before the lifts open for the day and after the lifts close. There are 6 miles of groomed trails provided by Crested Butte Nordic open to fat bikers, as well. Even in the winter, biking seems to be a popular mode of transportation around town with the right tires.

When mud season (the period between late winter and early spring) ends, the first wildflowers begin to bloom, attracting residents and visitors alike to the miles and miles of trails. By two feet or by two wheels, Indian paintbrush and glacier lilies are some of the earliest flowers that can be spotted.

Wildflowers bring visitors throughout the summer.

Known as the “Wildflower Capital of Colorado,” the city boasts a 10-day festival dedicated to the annual colorful display. In 2022, the festival runs from July 8-17, with interpretive walks, demonstrations and more.

As much as residents and visitors to Crested Butte love their skis, they also love their bikes. From May to October (weather permitting), all levels of riders can find road, gravel and mountain routes that satisfy their craving. Single-track, paved roads, bike paths, dirt or gravel — there is something for everyone with over 750 miles of trails in the area.

Biking is a popular activity from May to October.

Junior Bike Week is a five-day celebration known as “the biggest kids’ bike party on the planet!” Celebrating kids and bikes, the event brings a festival atmosphere with riding clinics, skill competitions, trail work and competitive racing.

Natural and man-made obstacles make the Crested Butte Bike Park a popular destination. It features over 30 miles of lift-serviced single-track, a pump track, a skills area and trails for all levels of rider. The park area also offers other summer activities, including a zip line and disc golf.

Paddlers from whitewater to flat water will enjoy time at the Blue Mesa Reservoir, Emerald Lake or along the Slate River. The Taylor River, Peanut Lake and the East River are just a few of the places you can catch trout and take in the views.

Live music, a farmers market and many other summer activities can be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. A charming downtown area brings opportunities for shopping and dining.

The Aspens show off during the fall in CB. 

When the flowers begin to die for the season, the aspens put on a show of golden splendor. Wildflower enthusiasts turn leaf peepers and come out to see the yearly change. Not only can you enjoy the aspens’ change from the single-track and hiking trails, gravel roads and even the various bodies of water offer viewing opportunities.

The Mt. Crested Butte Chili and Beer Festival is popular in September at the start of the leaf change.

So whether you love a great powder day, the beauty of a field of colorful wildflowers or scenic single-track, you can find something to peak your interest when visiting Crested Butte. It truly is a four-season town with fun to be had year-round.

Our Faves:


Restaurants/ Food:

Ski Runs:

  • Upper Forest Queen
  • Panion’s Run
  • Ruby Chief


  • Rustler Gulch
  • Oh Be Joyful Trail

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