Crested Butte Travel Guide

Crested Butte will always hold a special place in my heart. My In-Laws love CB and have traveled here a ton through the years. I’ve now been with them a total of four times. I love that you can drive there from Texas, which is nice if you plan to spend a long trip there. But, you can also take a quick flight into Gunnison and then drive 30 minutes to CB. We’ve done both, and I must say, I prefer flying, but the drive really wasn’t bad- and we even had a toddler with us!

In the past, we’d only been in the winter to ski, but we decided to go this summer in August to get out of the Texas heat. I prefer CB in the summer vs. winter. The weather is lovely, you can walk everything, and the hiking is beautiful.

This list is a combination from the times I’ve traveled to Crested Butte + a fantastic list from a friend, Julie, who’s family has a place in CB. They go there every summer, so she gave me the ULTIMATE list of hiking and summer activities. Big shout out to Julie- YOU ROCK!

Temple enjoying the views at Lake Irwin

Coffee & Breakfast

  • Camp4Coffeeour favorite pop-in coffee shop. It also offers yummy chocolate croissants and donuts.
  • Gas Cafe- this is a gas station, but they are known for their breakfast sandwiches. They are so yummy!
  • Butte Bagelsmy absolute favorite breakfast spot. I mean, who doesn’t love a bagel sandwich?! You order at the front, and they offer tons of different bagel combinations. Find a seat or take it to-go. Good to grab and take on a morning walk or hike.
  • Octopus Coffee
  • Paradise Cafe this is your classic breakfast spot. We often went here with our daughter, Temple, for a solid breakfast!
  • McGill’s– another classic breakfast spot in town.
  • Off Elk we stopped here on our morning walks to take Temple to Rainbow park. They have yummy organic coffee and delicious breakfast tacos. We would take them to-go and enjoy them while Temple ran around the park.

Grocery Shopping

  • Mountain Earth Whole Foods a small organic grocery store with all of my favorite things. Pricier but it was so nice when we were there for two weeks. I could get all my favorite frozen staples, grass-fed beef, etc. They bake fresh muffins daily, and they are to-die-for!
  • Clark’s Market this is the main grocery store in CB.
  • You could also drive to Gunnison (about 30 minutes) where you can find other grocery stores and a Walmart.

Chicken Tikka Masala with Naan from Sherpa Cafe

Restaurants

  • Pitas In Paradise my favorite lunch spot. I am obsessed with the Pitas, and the soup bar is fantastic!
  • Ryce not the most incredible atmosphere but delicious food for lunch or to to-go for dinner at home.
  • Public House delicious burgers, fried chicken, and I love the kale salad. The elk chili is delish too.
  • Secret Stashthe famous pizza joint in CB. The Hampton Pizza and Crack fries are my favorite.
  • Last Steep- Caleb loves the Dankwich. I’m not crazy about this spot, but it’s a classic American restaurant. They do have a great bloody mary bar on weekends.
  • Elk Prime- great steak house but it’s a bit more expensive. We like to sit in the bar area- fun date night spot.
  • Sunflower- changed their menu since last summer and is one of my favorites. All locally sourced and so fresh! They open at 6 pm but pretty much reservation only.
  • Sherpa cafe- hole in the wall Indian restaurant but can’t get more authentic. A couple moved from Nepal and came to CB because they missed the mountains.
  • Lils- good sushi!

The Hampton Pizza from Secret Stash. YUM!

Desserts

  • The third bowl- ice cream flavors change all the time. They also offer yummy dairy-free ice cream.
  • Niky’s Mini Donuts- we bought these on our last day, and they were delicious. We just got a variety of six to try, and they also offer ice cream.

Enjoying her dairy-free chocolate ice cream from Third Bowl

On-The-Go 

  • Frank’s Deli- next to the movie theatre/Clark’s grocery store. Good chicken salad to have at the house and other items. Can also make sandwiches to take with you on hikes/picnics.
  • Scouts General- can place orders for a picnic and they have small food selection inside.
  • Tin Cups Pasty Co. outdoor seating for a quick bite or could take on-the-go. I had the chicken pot pie pasty, and it was surprisingly really good! I wasn’t sure about this place, but it’s pretty dang yummy for a quick bite.

Drinks

  • Umbrella Bar drive up and have a drink/enjoy the view! You could also hike here during the summer. My absolute favorite summer spot to sit, sip a cocktail, and enjoy the mountain views. If you’re traveling in the winter, then it’s a ski-in/ski-out spot.
  • Montanya– rum bar. I love the “Caldera” cocktail. They have tasty small bites too.
  • Dogwood– order the beatnik and winter squash drink.
  • Kochevar’s Saloon- total dive bar. Not anything fancy, but it’s Caleb’s favorite spot. Order a beer, play pool or darts, and eat goldfish! Definitely more of a guys spot.
  • Princess Wine Bar- cocktails and live music on weekends.

Shopping

  • Honestly, I’m not going to provide a list for this. Crested Butte is a small town andElk Street has all the stores. It’s just fun to explore and pop into each one!
Below is a list of trails that are easy/intermediate. These are great options to take your kids on! 

Hiking with Baby Lavey #2 at 11 weeks pregnant

Lake Irwin

Trails that are a short 5-10 minute drive from town

  • Woods walk– can also do lower loop the woods walk feeds into the lower loop. Only a small bit of shade at the beginning but it’s easy, and a good one as you are getting acclimated. We did this one with Temple + it’s the closest one to town.
  • Brush Creek- (off dirt road – a few minutes passed CB country club) – this one is my friend’s favorite. About 2 miles in and 2 miles back. But beautiful things about this one is you can turn around whenever you want, but prettiest views are about .5 mile after the little shaded creek area you pass.
  • Long lake- the trail is on your left right after you pass Lake Meridian. You will see the trailhead on your left. Good shade. A little steep at the beginning, but it’s easy after that.
  • Snodgrass Trail- (it might be closed depending on what time during the summer you travel – the owner brings his cattle down, and he closes it) but my friend loves doing this one through all the aspen trees and going to the lookout and then turning around. (1 hr there 45 min back round trip) about a mile or so passed Long Lake/Lake meridian…parking on the left and trailhead will be on your right.

20-30 Minute Drive From Town

  • Judd Falls- a little rocky but you often see lots of little kids. Has a small waterfall at the end. This one is in Gothic (drive through Mt Crested Butte and pass through the town of Gothic) – the trailhead is about 0.5 miles passed the town, you will see all the parked cars. You walk up to the trailhead, or if you have a jeep type car, you can drive up to it and park.
  • Beaver Pond– about a 30 min drive but you walk through thousands of aspens to this pretty pond/lake where there’s a beaver house or whatever they call it haha. It’s beautiful and lots of shade — very easy hike about an hour round trip.
  • Lake Irwin– you can walk around the lake and or paddleboard. We went here this summer, and it was fun and so beautiful! Some shaded areas to eat if you bring something to sit on – could order a picnic basket from Scout’s General ahead of time to take with you (where you rent paddleboards also!)
  • Washington Gulch to the overlook- this one is about a 30 min drive, but the views are my favorite. We didn’t take Temple, just Caleb, and his siblings and I went. It was about 2 hr hike so three hours with the drive. Lots of switchbacks but not hard! You can see the maroon bells from the lookout. We did see a few families with kids, but they had them in the hiking backpacks.

Temple loved Rainbow Park

Things To Do

  • Park/outdoor gym- also in Mt Crested Butte. Has a cute park with swings and slides that has a stunning view, and right up from it is a little workout park outside. It is on your left on Gothic before you get to the Dude Ranch/Snodgrass trail.
  • Monday night has concerts in town/outside at the Alpenglow during the summer. Bring your chairs/blankets etc.
  • Rainbow Park– we went here almost every morning and afternoon with our daughter, Temple. Such a clean, fun park. If you are staying in town, then you can walk or bike there.
  • Skiing- DUH! If you’re there in the winter, then you’re probably there to ski! 🙂
  • Fly Fishing- a fun activity in the summer. I recommend Dragonfly Anglers– they are out of three rivers resort. It’s about a 15-20 minute drive from town then expect another 45 minutes to get to good public water. Aka- it’s a good half-day activity!
  • There is a Farmer’s Market every Saturday from 9 am-2 pm.  It’s on Elk right in town.
  • Next to Scout’s General in town you can rent paddleboards and drive to Lake Irwin- it’s sooo pretty!
  • Rent bikes to bike around town!
  • You can find an activity calendar on travelcrestedbutte.com and see what’s going on while you’re visiting.

Farmer’s Market fresh bread

Renting Baby Gear

  • We rented a house, and they didn’t have a crib, so we rented one via BabyQuip when we got there. You can find specific people that you can rent from and try to rent everything from that one person. We had a lovely lady (here is her link) that we used for our hiking backpack, jogging stroller, and the crib. She dropped and picked everything up directly from our house.
  • If you think ahead, then you could try renting a hiking backpack at Alpineer. We tried this, but they were all already rented.

This is the jogging stroller we rented and used each morning

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