Surrounded by wilderness and mountains, Crested Butte is often called “Colorado’s last great ski town,” renowned for both downhill and Nordic skiing. It also shines in summer, with a wide range of outdoor recreational activities that include hundreds of miles of epic mountain bike trails, hiking, fishing, rafting, and more. It’s home to a registered historic district and a lively festival scene. Numerous areas near Crested Butte and Mount Crested Butte offer camping, including private campgrounds and RV parks, developed forest service campgrounds, and primitive wilderness sites.
South Take the West Elk Loop Scenic Byway south to Gunnison. Camp with your boat or lakeside at Blue Mesa Reservoir, part of the Curecanti National Recreation Area. Colorado’s largest body of water is known for excellent fishing and plenty of watersports. Continue south to remote Lake City, nestled in the San Juan Mountains. Enjoy ice climbing, go off-roading, or enjoy the waters of Lake San Cristobal. Stay in a private campground in town, dispersed camping on USFS land, free BLM riverside campsites, primitive sites in La Garita Wilderness Area, or in a network of backcountry yurts. West Take the West Elk Loop over Kebler Pass to Somerset for hiking, boating, and camping at Paonia State Park. Go fishing and sample wines near Hotchkiss. Just outside of Delta, enjoy boating and birdwatching at Sweitzer Lake State Park, look for dinosaur bones at Dry Mesa Quarry, and explore the red rock canyons and bluffs of Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area. Montrose is a great base for exploring the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Camping options can be found at state parks, wilderness areas, and national parks, and include sites for tents and RVs. East Head east to Taylor Park for camping, fishing, and rafting. Further south, Sargents offers dirt biking, mountain biking, and off-roading. Explore state wildlife areas and ghost towns, then soak in the hot springs and history of Poncha Springs or the arts scene in Salida. Bag a 14er in the Sawatch Range. There are plenty of campground options, whether you prefer the forest riverside, lakeside, or the backcountry. Gunnison National Forest also offers more than 30 developed campgrounds, with tent sites, RV sites, and cabins.
Winter and summer are the most popular times to visit Crested Butte and nearby Mount Crested Butte. Several popular festivals are held over the summer. The area is known for abundant wildflowers over the summer, and golden aspens in the fall. Crested Butte Mountain Resort offers lift-assisted activities over the summer and winter. In the winter, the area is a top skiing and snowboarding destination. Several mountain passes close over the winter.
- Crested Butte is situated at nearly 9,000 feet. Other recreation areas and campsites in the region are at even higher elevations. Be aware of potential altitude issues. - A free shuttle bus takes passengers around the town of Crested Butte and Mount Crested Butte year-round. A vehicle will be required to explore outside of the area. - Backcountry camping near Crested Butte is restricted to designated dispersed camping sites. - Be bear aware, especially when camping. Store food and other attractants in a bear-proof container away from your tent. - Permits are required for state and national wilderness areas.