The ultimate guide to Crested Butte summer edition: Where to stay, Resteraunts, Shopping in Crested Butte, and how to have the best Mt. Crested Butte summer vacation 2019!
Crestred Butte Travel Guide: Summer Edition
Last week we traveled to the Wildflower Capital of Colorado: Crested Butte! It was my first time in this quaint yet active ski town, and I must say, it was stunning! We spent a total of 4 days (Thursday to Sunday) while celebrating 4th of July weekend.
This was basically the first time I’ve been on a mountain vacation packed with outdoorsy activities. Crested Butte is a great little ski town to visit if you want to avoid the tourism of the mega-popular towns like Aspen or Vail. It’s a lot smaller, however, there is still plenty to do in this eclectic town!
Where is Crested Butte?
Nestled in central Colorado, Crested Butte is about a 4-hour drive from Denver. The roads leading up to the ski town are winding and narrow (make sure your vehicle can easily handle the dirt and gravel roads).
It is primarily known for the annual Wildflower Festival held in early July. And many people (especially Texans) call Crested Butte home for the summer. In the winter, Crested Butte is a hub for all things skiing, snowmobiling, and snow-tubing. You will be pleasantly surprised at all this hidden gem has to offer.
My advice while driving to Crested Butte would be to make sure you know where you’re going. There are certain areas on your way up through the mountains that lack cell service. Print out your driving directions (or bring a map) that way you don’t get confused when the GPS connection goes out.
Where to Stay in Crested Butte
We opted for the Grand Lodge at Crested Butte for our 3-night /4-day trip. The resort itself had plenty to offer and is great for families. There was an indoor/outdoor pool, restaurant, and was pet-friendly. The interior had rustic features and delicious cookies set out in the lobby.
I really liked how close to town the resort was, but also felt like it was snuggled in the mountainside. Overall, I would stay here again, but an Airbnb would be fun to get a feel of the mountain living (and not to mention more space for the dogs). Click here for $55 off your next Airbnb stay! There are so many beautiful cabins on Airbnb that I would love to stay at next time!
Activities in Crested Butte
As mentioned earlier, Crested Butte is a pretty tight knit town. But it’s location is prime for mountain biking, boating, shopping, and plenty of other activities to satisfy the outdoor enthusiasts.
There are SO many different hiking trails you can explore in or near Crested Butte. You can pick each trail according to difficulty level, pet-friendly, or distance. The possibilities are endless.
The first full day in Crested Butte we spent hiking up to Judd Falls. It is a really great distance for beginners (about 2 miles in total) and the waterfall is stunning There are quite a few steep areas though, and definitely not wheelchair accessible.
Mt. Crested Butte and Gothic Mountain can easily be seen throughout the hike. There are also a few wildflowers sprinkled throughout the trail.
Hiking in Crested Butte
Here are a few popular hiking trails in Crested Butte (all pet-friendly)::
If you’re looking for a trail near your location, I really like the AllTrails App. It lists nearby trails and info for easy hiking.
Colorado in general is a very bike friendly state, so it’s no surprise that Crested Butte mountain biking is too! It was very common to see people moutain biking on the trails or just casually biking through town. You will see everything from $20 garage sale bikes to $10,000 high end bicycles.
There are a couple places where you can rent bikes from in town. Big Al’s Bike Rentals is located right in town and is a popular spot for rentals. They can help you pic out the perfect bike trail too!
If you’re more into water sports, Crested Butte won’t disappoint. Boating, kayaking, tubing, whitewater rafting, and paddle boarding are just a few to name. You’ll likely find these activities just outside of town.
Elk Avenue is the main hub of shops and eateries. We spent a considerable amount of time just walking up and down the street. There are several clothing boutiques, outdoor sporting stores, and souvenir shops.
We brought our pups on this trip, so an obvious stop was Mountain Tails Pet Boutique. Both of the dogs deserved a nice treat after their 4-mile hike. 🙂
Crested Butte has a series of outdoor concerts throughout the summer months. When we were visiting, there was a music event going on at the outdoor stage. There is a wide grassy space for people to sit and lay their blankets down to enjoy some tunes.
The outdoor concerts are completely free and go on every Monday at 5:30. See the schedule here.
Where To EAT IN CRESTED BUTTE
I was actually really pleased with the food selection in this relatively smaller ski town! They had a wide variety of food from Mexican, Sushi, and good ol’ American. And there were also tons of plant-based options (more on that below!). We definitely didn’t go hungry here!
Here’s where we ate:
- Teocalli Tamale: I got a delicious gourment veggie burrito and a side of Salsa. It was so mouthwatering, and I savored every bite. (Not to mention the burritos were huge!)
- Public House: This place was probably my favorite out of all the places we ate! I ordered a Beyond Veggie Burger and it came with a filling side salad. The Chocolate Mousse was my all-time fav thing I ate on this entire trip. I’m not a huge chocolate fan, but this was to die for (not overly sweet!). Excellent food and pet-friendly.
- Brick Oven Pizzeria and Pub: I ordered a dairy-free cheese pizza with arugula and green peppers. The cheese was pretty good, however, it was a bit of a wait (although it was a really busy night). Everyone else seemed to enjoy their food though. I also really liked that they had a comfortable designated pet-friendly space.
- Paradise Cafe: This is a neat little place for breakfast or brunch, but you really need to get here ahead of time. Their chocolate chip buttermilk pancakes were awesome, and the hash browns were cooked perfectly. My dad got the Huevos Rancheros and gave it two thumbs up. This place isn’t really a good spot for dogs though since they need to be on the opposite side of the gate.
- Grande Lodge at Crested Butte: The resort we stayed at had a breakfast buffet downstairs that served the usual: eggs, sausage, fruits, breads. It was a little overpriced, but the food wasn’t bad. If I stayed there again I would probably eat somewhere in town
- Niky’s Mini Donuts: This is an honorable mention because we didn’t necessarily eat here, but the delightful pastry aroma spoke for itself. I wish I would have tried one of their donuts!
What We Packed
Considering it was early July, the weather varied a bit. Since you’re in the mountains, it can get chilly in the morning and evenings. I got a lot of use out of my thin sweatshirt and jeans. I also brought a pair of sneakers for hiking and flip flops for just walking around.
Another huuuuge thing to mention is to PACK SUNSCREEN! Many people typically associate sunscreen with the beach, but its imparative that you bring it on your mountain vacay! Remember that the elevation is a lot higher, therefore the sun’s rays are more intense. No one wants a nasty sunburn on vacation…. Ouch.
The basics of what you should pack for Mt. Crestted Butte….
- Thin Sweatshirt: I would’ve been freezing without one (when the sun goes down behind the mountains, prepare for a chill).
- A pair of durable jeans: Bring a pair of jeans that you aren’t too concerned about getting dirty or roughed up.
- Sneakers/Hiking boots: These are a MUST for hiking or going up into the mountains. I personally wouldn’t recommend open toed shoes considering the amount of jagged rocks and gravel present.
- Flip flops: I’ve had these rubber birkenstock flip flops for a year and they are the most comfortable shoes I own! You also can’t beat the price on Amazon. Great for walking around downtown.
- Windbreaker: A good travel windbreaker like this one will be handy for a pop up rain shower.
- Sunscreen/Sunglasses: My favortie sunnies here to protect against the intense rays.
- Hat: Preferably one to protect your ears.
See ya soon, Crested Butte!
There you have it, our 4 day summer mountain vacay in Crested Butte 2019! It was so neat to explore this little ski town, and I hope we will make the trip back soon! Have you been to Crestted Butte? If you have any recommendatinos or suggesions for our next trip up, leave a comment below!
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