25 Best Things to Do in Crested Butte, CO

Crested Butte, CO
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Crested Butte is a charming mountain town renowned for its breathtaking views and outdoor adventures.

From the 1860s to 1870s, Crested Butte became a center for coal and silver mining in Colorado, like the nearby towns.

Now, however, Crested Butte is well-known as a popular skiing destination with its collection of diverse, blooming wildflowers around the area in lush seasons.

Additionally, this town has plenty of activities to explore regardless of the season!

Interested to know more about this place?

Read on and see the best things to do in Crested Butte, Colorado!

Visit the Center for the Arts Crested Butte

Scenic view of Center for the Arts in Crested Butte
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The Crested Butte Center for the Arts is the only non-profit art center in the U.S. owned by the community in which it is located.

It’s an economically self-sufficient organization that relies on community support.

If you want to learn about the town of Crested Butte, this is a great place to visit.

This center is located on the northern side of town, near the "hub" on Crested Butte Avenue.

Closer view of Center for the Arts in Crested Butte
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The Crested Butte Center for the Arts proves that the town is rich in culture and arts.

Whether you visit for a day or extend your stay, there’s plenty of art and culture to enjoy in the Crested Butte Center for the Arts.

Visit the Crested Butte Museum

The Crested Butte Museum of Fine Arts is a local treasure, containing artworks, artifacts, and all kinds of items related to Crested Butte, including its history, culture, and traditions.

Visitors should also not miss out on the chance to buy exclusive souvenirs or locally handcrafted products inside the museum.

The Crested Butte Museum of Fine Arts is a hidden gem in the heart of the historic downtown district.

From pretty bookmarks to well-written books, Crested Butte Museum pins the spotlight on the talented locals of their humble town.

It’s a must-see attraction for anyone interested in learning about other town’s history, culture, and specialty goods.

The Crested Butte Museum can be found along Elk Avenue, so make sure to stop by!

Take a Hike to Lower Loop Mountain Trail

View of peanut lake and gothic mountain at Lower Loop Mountain Trail
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Loop Mountain Trail is located southwest of Crested Butte, along Peanut Lake Road.

You’ll get a clear sight of Gothic Mountain and Peanut Lake.

With 6.4 miles in total, the full Lower Loop Mountain Trail is quite long, so it’s recommended to turn back once you feel you’re getting tired.

You can walk, jog, bike, or even bring your pets with you on this versatile trail.

For those looking into a relaxing venture, head towards this trail for a leisure walk with endless views of stunning nature.

Ride the Mountain Bike Trails

Mountain Bike Trails in Crested Butte, CO
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Crested Butte is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, which makes the weather pretty cold; the temperatures, though, are relatively calm during the day.

Here at Mountain Bike Trails, you may visit many locations, including bike trails, which stretch around the small town.

There are many things to do here, including mountain biking on the Crested Butte Gondola and the Crested Butte Rail Trail and hiking and horseback riding trails.

Mountain Bike Trail lined with trees at Crested Butte
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Mountain biking is a phenomenal way to spend a day outdoors.

It's a fast-growing sport that is loved by people of all ages and levels of experience.

When in Crested Butte, give mountain-biking on their beautiful trails a try!

Take a Horseback Ride at Fantasy Ranch

Fantasy Ranch, located along Gothic Road, offers guests a surreal experience with nature while riding on horseback.

There is a wide variety of trails to browse and explore.

The horseback riding lessons are fun, and their staff is friendly and knowledgeable.

Fantasy Ranch offers day horseback riding trips where you can explore the wilderness around Crested Butte.

Along the way, you might get to see some animal wildlife, like elks, deers, sheep, and eagles.

Whether it’s a warm summer or a chilling winter, Fantasy Ranch continues to offer packages though the inclusions might vary.

The ranch also has lodging if you want to stay overnight.

Families will enjoy exploring the ranch and seeing all types of different views.

This gallery is a small, family-owned business, but they make up for their humble location with high-quality artworks from talented and award-winning artists.

More than 10 artists have joined their gallery, some of which have won numerous awards.

This cozy gallery opened in 1969 and continues to carefully curate themed exhibits until today.

Other than browsing through their exhibits, they also offer picture-framing with prices ranging from affordable to expensive.

It may not be as luxurious as the other galleries, but this place has a pleasant charm that makes visitors feel welcomed.

The Rijks Family Gallery can be located along 2nd Street.

Spend the Winter at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Aerial view of Crested Butte Mountain Resort
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The Crested Butte Mountain Resort offers the closest lodging to the mountains, making mountain-related activities more accessible.

Skiing and snowboarding are popular activities in Crested Butte.

This resort can connect you with professional guides, rental shops, and other opportunities that can help make your outdoor ventures more convenient.

A ski lift chair at Crested Butte Mountain Resort
Jennifer Bang-Johnson / Shutterstock.com

Some additional perks are the facilities they have on the premises like their pool, beauty salon, fitness room, and restaurant.

There’s no doubt that activities on the mountain are thrilling, but it’s also tiring, so check in at this resort and give yourself a safe place to relax and soothe your exhaustion.

Book a room in Crested Butte Mountain Resort, located along Snowmass Road.

Winter morning at Crested Butte Mountain Resort
Corey Leopold, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Explore Indoor Simulations in Birdies Golf Bar

Birdies Golf Bar offers a wide variety of Greek meals, like pitas and hummus.

A collection of indoor simulation games awaits those who drop by this interesting establishment!

Established in 2000, this bar and game restaurant envisioned a way for people to dine and play simultaneously while having plenty of options to choose from.

Now, they have a wide array of virtual golf courses inspired by original courses from across the country.

Aside from virtual golf, they also provide different games like soccer, zombie dodgeball, basketball, football, hockey, etc.

Try something new with Birdies Golf Bar, sit0uated at Elk Avenue.

Browse the Local Scene at Crested Butte Farmers Market

Fresh green peppers at Crested Butte Farmers Market
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If you want a taste of local goods and crafts, the farmers' market is always a good place to start.

Crested Butte Farmers Market is well-established, having gained more than 15 permanent vendors in their lineup every Sunday.

You can buy goods from local farms, family-owned businesses, concessionaires, and creative artists.

Since the products are sold straight from the source, they’re also more affordable without the added expenses.

From farm staples like vegetables and fruits to homemade crafts and artworks, the Crested Butte Farmers Market offers a variety of items to shop and explore.

They’re open on Thursdays in Totem Pole Park and Sundays on Elk Avenue.

Take note, though, that there are more stalls on Sunday compared to their Thursday lineup.

Fine Dine at Magic Meadows Yurt

What gives this place magic?

Many factors contribute to the magic of this one-of-a-kind fine dining destination on Peanut Lake Road:  the gorgeous backdrop of natural surroundings as you take your brunch or dinner in a quiet, exclusive setting; the mile-trail you must go through to reach this location, which is accessible only through skiing or snowshoeing; and  the gorgeous, bright lights that guide you to Magic Meadows Yurt!

All these, together with delectable five-course meals and drinks from a private chef, contribute to a unique and magical experience in the outdoors.

Buy a Souvenir in Pfister’s Handiworks

Pfister’s Handiworks is a quirky store with a collection of random items like art supplies, stationery, Crested Butte-related clothing, paintings, mugs, etc.

There’s no limit on what this store could possibly hold, so it’s always an experience to browse through their selection and find fun, unique items.

Mostly, their items are perfect as gifts to other people, but they can also be a souvenir of your trip to the town of Crested Butte.

It’s located along Elk Avenue with bright, blue-painted walls and a sign of the store’s name, so it’s hard to miss.

Don’t forget to drop by!

Play Golf in The Club at Crested Butte

Welcome sign of The Club at Crested Butte
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The 18-hole championship golf course at this club in Crested Butte is a top-tier destination for golf enthusiasts!

Designed by Robert Trent Jones II, the golf club features an array of diverse terrains, water traps, and elevated areas.

The best part, however, is how seamless the course blends in with the surrounding vistas of stunning mountains, trees, and lakes.

It’s a place that can entertain you with golf while also providing comfort with its calming ambiance.

There are other facilities at the club as well, including a fitness center and a dining place.

Head towards Country Club Drive to play golf with magnificent views.

Rest at Elk Mountain Lodge

Established in 1919, Elk Mountain Lodge was primarily a hotel and boarding house for the miners in town.

Since then, Elk Mountain Lodge has developed into a charming lodge that still holds remnants of Crested Butte’s historical past.

It boasts of old elegance and cozy, traditional decor with minimal renovations made just to keep the lodge functioning well.

It’s also surrounded by old and historic buildings, which you can easily explore for a laidback tour around the district.

Their restaurant also offers free breakfast to all guests who book a room.

Situated along Gothic Avenue, spend the night at this historic inn!

Enjoy Lakeside Activities at Meridian Lake

The waters of Meridian Lake
Gail Johnson / Shutterstock.com

Fantastic vistas, close access to town, and the magnificent color offered by golden aspen leaves and season wildflowers make summer and fall visits to Meridian Lake much sought after.

In the summer, visitors may enjoy swimming and hiking at Long Lake.

This natural lake is both incredibly long and narrow.

The natural lake has two hiking paths, one less demanding than the other.

A road beside Meridian Lake
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The shorter, more straightforward path length is 2.4 miles, and it will take you between 1 and 2 hours to complete the hike in both directions.

Although the route is just half a mile long, completing the loop hike takes about an hour because it is challenging.

Both paths take in sights of the lake and the aspen trees and wildflowers that populate the area.

Go Camping at Oh Be Joyful Recreation Area

Oh Be Joyful Recreation Area Offers a picturesque 13-mile out-and-back track with a little over 2,000 feet of elevation gain.

Throughout the trip, you will see stunning natural features like waterfalls, wildflowers, and forests.

You may also take in some fantastic views of several different waterfalls.

The trailhead also features a campsite, perfect for those who wish to extend their time in the area's natural splendor.

As spring turns to summer, the snow quickly disappears from the highest summits of the nearby mountains.

Since the route is located alongside a river, this causes the river's levels to rise.

The view is breathtaking, but watch your step near the riverbanks.

Tour and Taste the Spirits of Montanya Distillers

Montanya Distillers boasts top-notch varieties such as Platino Light and Oro Dark.

Karen Hoskin, the owner, is deeply committed to minimizing the adverse effects of her business on the environment.

Its honey, water, sugar cane, and yeast come from local sources.

The end product is a top-notch, award-winning rum sold in various US states and throughout the globe.

You may have some tasty rum drinks and munchies at the distillery's tasting room.

It also indulges its visitors with live music weekly.

Celebrate Mt. Crested Butte Chili and Beer Festival with the Locals

This annual Mt. Crested Butte Chili & Beer Festival takes place in September, and you won't want to miss it if you're in the area.

The event celebrates Colorado's culinary traditions, drawing residents and tourists to the base area for an afternoon of live music, chili, and beer.

In this case, the location is the Crested Butte Mountain Resort.

Live music, a chili cook-off, excellent cuisine, and the best craft beer in Colorado are the festival's main attractions.

There will be a chili cook-off, and everyone in the community, not just restaurants, can enter.

Chill at Princess Wine Bar

You should visit The Princess Bar if you'd rather have a wine than a drink.

Establsihed in 1880, the Princess Wine Bar only retains a few architectural details from the original structure.

Colorado Supply, a roller rink, an art gallery, a disco, and now the Princess Western Design Company and the Princess Wine Bar call this historic structure home.

Though they also have an excellent cocktail menu, their wine list is what really sets them apart.

Live music is playing most of the week, so come on in!

The lovely garden terrace at the back of the building is the place to go if you'd prefer to enjoy your wine in a peaceful setting.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Drive through Kepler Pass

Scenic view of Kepler Pass
U.S. Geological Survey, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can easily find yourself driving through Kepler Pass, an area with something for everyone.

Kepler Pass is a mountain pass situated west of Crested Butte, known for its infamous drive with the wild beauty of surrounding environments.

The plethora of plants, trees, and wildflowers are a dreamy vision that comes to life as you drive by, especially during the spring and fall seasons.

Beautiful wildflowers at Kebler Pass
Andrew S / Shutterstock.com

The pass is located approximately 7 miles west of Crested Butte on State Highway 133.

The drive through Kepler's Pass is a full-day excursion that begins when you get to the entrance since there are already scenic sights to behold.

Head towards Keppler Pass to see miles upon miles of proof about the inherent beauty of nature.

Vehicles along Kebler Pass road
Sean Xu / Shutterstock.com

Visit Mt. Emmons

Mt. Emmons in Crested Butte, Colorado, is an 11,933-foot peak that is the centerpiece of the Elk Mountains, one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in North America.

It is a natural rock formation that looks like a giant igloo.

This scenic mountain range offers something for everyone to enjoy, from its wide-open meadows, cold alpine lakes, and ancient forests to deep valleys.

A hike at this scenic mountain is an immeasurable experience for travelers who enjoy nature and the outdoors.

There are several routes to the summit of Mt. Emmons, but Red Lady Trail is considered the most picturesque because of its wildflowers and 360-degree views.

Final Thoughts

Crested Butte may be a small town, but it’s rich in outdoor activities, natural sceneries, and cultural art scene.

There are plenty of ways to discover the culture of Crested Butte, from farmers' markets and quirky shops to family-owned galleries and local museums.

You'll have a great time exploring the wonders of this tranquil mountain town in Colorado.

The town's economy depends on the tourists, so expect an amiable and accommodating welcome.

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