A Guide to the Scenic Trails in Crested Butte, CO

There are many scenic trails in Crested Butte, an old western styled resort town in a wilderness setting. It's surrounded by the Elk Mountains in Colorado. People who love the outdoors will definitely enjoy a visit to this spot. So roll out of your Crested Butte inn and enjoy the trails!

Crested Butte Mountain Resort
12 Snowmass Road
Crested Butte, CO 81224
(970) 349-2222
www.skicb.com

Crested Butte offers year-round activities for the whole family. Trails range in difficulty from beginner to expert. Columbine Hill Trail (intermediate) goes up through lush meadows and stands of aspens. For those who are less ambitious, Painter Boy Trail goes through fields of wildflowers and is rated for beginners and intermediates. Westside is for the experts; it flows through aspen forests, and provides scenic vistas. Some trails are just for downhill biking. Psycho Rocks (expert) is a fast ride through huge boulders. And there are trails designated for hiking only. The Summit Trail takes you to the 12,162-foot peak of Crested Butte Mountain for a magnificent and panoramic view of the Elk Mountains and the valley below. The trail is quite steep and is rated difficult. The round trip is a little over a mile from the picnic area.

Curecanti National Recreational Area
National Park Service
102 Elk Creek
Gunnison, CO 81230
(970)641-2337
www.nps.gov/cure/

Three reservoirs along the Gunnison River form the heart of Curecanti National Recreational Area, south of Crested Butte. There are many miles of hiking trails at all levels of difficulty. Winding through abundant wildflowers, oak and conifers, Crystal Creek Trail is a moderately strenuous hike. Magnificent views of Cimarron Valley, the West Elk and San Juan Mountains can be seen along the route. The trail ends at an overlook 1,800 feet above Crystal Reservoir. An easier hike known as the Neversink Trail runs along a streamside habitat with abundant grasses, flowers and willows, and offers lots of opportunities for birdwatching. There are other activities here that you could combine with your hike as well, such as fishing. Blue Mesa Reservoir is Colorado's largest body of water, and has the largest kokanee (landlocked sockeye) salmon fishery in the U.S. Sport fishermen will also find lake trout and yellow perch. You could choose to take a ranger led boat tour on the Morrow Point Reservoir into Black Canyon, learning about geology and wildlife.

Uncompahgre National Forest
2250 Highway 50
Delta, CO 81416
(970)874-6600
www.fs.usda.gov/ngug

Not far from Curecanti, Uncompahgre National Forest offers hikers the challenge of climbing to the top of Uncompahgre Peak. At 14,309 feet, it is the sixth highest mountain in Colorado. The trail to the summit is a strenuous hike, and rises 2,918 feet in elevation in 7.5 miles. The mountain is called "the monster of the San Juans." The trek is worth it, though. From the top, the view of the surrounding San Juan Mountains is incomparable. After an exhilarating day you will appreciate the comfort of your Crested Butte bed and breakfast.