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Have A Summer Adventure in Crested Butte

July 10, 2023

Crested Butte may have built a reputation as a winter wonderland, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have just as much to offer in the summer! As the snow clears out, the trails open up, and nature comes to life, you’ll discover a whole other side to the magical mountain town. While winter is ideal for snow sports, summer gives you the chance to have exciting adventures throughout Crested Butte’s many beautiful parks. You can hike, bike, and climb all through the season! But with so many parks, how can you decide where to begin? We’ve curated a list of can’t-miss parks and trails around town so that you can have the best, most adventurous summer ever!


Gunnison National Forest 

Together, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests cover 3 million acres of land in Colorado. The landscape is made up of plateaus, peaks, and canyons. Trails in the forests range from beginner level to extreme, so everyone can comfortably enjoy the forest- and with more than 3500 miles of trails, you’ll have no shortage of hikes to tackle! If you’re based in Crested Butte, then you’ll have plenty of options for adventures throughout Gunnison National Forest. 

We recommend…

For more trails across Gunnison National Forest, visit AllTrails.

Within Gunnison, there are a few wilderness areas that are worth checking out. 


Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness

Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is a 181,535 acre wilderness in the Elk Mountains. At the heart of this wilderness area is Maroon Bells Scenic Area, which is famous as a major access point for wilderness travel. Top-rated hikes in Maroon Bells-Snowmass that are accessible from Crested Butte include Crested Butte to Aspen via West Maroon Pass, which is a hard point-to-point trail that features 2240 feet elevation gain across 10.3 miles, and Rustler’s Gulch, which is a moderate out-and-back trail that features 1791 feet of elevation gain across 9 miles. For more trails throughout Maroon Bells, visit AllTrails.

Raggeds Wilderness 

Raggeds Wilderness is a 65,443 acre area of Gunnison that features rocky slopes and serrated ridges, including the namesake Ragged Mountain, plus coniferous forest and pretty creeks. Popular locations in the wilderness are Dark Canyon, Chair Mountain, Marcellina Mountain, Mount Justice, Treasury Mountain, and Oh-Be-Joyful Pass. If you’re spending your trip to Crested Butte hiking, then you might be interested in hiking Green Lake via Carbon Trail. This highly-rated out-and-back trail is considered moderate, and it covers 1433 feet of elevation gain across 4.9 miles. For more trails in Raggeds Wilderness, visit AllTrails


Gothic Natural Area 

Gothic Natural Area, which is accessed from Gothic Road and is located close to Mt. Baldy and Gothic Mountain, is a beautiful and challenging place to hike. There are lots of wildflowers in the summer! The top hike near Crested Butte is Copper Creek Trail to Copper Lake, which is a hard out-and-back trail that travels for 12 miles and features an elevation gain of 2431 feet. It has views of forests, lakes, and waterfalls. The other trail in Gothic Natural Area is Trail 401, which is a moderate out-and-back trail of 16.4 miles with 3195 feet of elevation gain. The scenery is unbelievable, and the wildlife watching is excellent. It is popular for biking, hiking, and camping.

Public Parks 

Not all of the parks in Crested Butte are rugged and challenging. Traveling with kids? There are plenty of playgrounds and family-friendly public parks to visit! You’ll have your choice of eleven public parks. Amenities vary depending on the park, but include play equipment, athletic facilities, picnic areas, and much more.

Do you have a favorite park or outdoors space to visit during the summer in Crested Butte? Share it with us in the comments!

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