With easy access to a variety of mountain towns year round, it can be easy to overlook Crested Butte. The fact that it is an out-of-the-way destination is both its best and worst quality. Clocking in at more than four hours from the metro area, Crested Butte can start to look less appealing than the I-70 congestion for your winter adventures. But if crazy traffic and long lift lines are not a part of your vacation plans, we highly suggest heading in another direction. A leisurely drive on Highway 285 offers some of the most majestic views in Colorado, including the Collegiate Peaks, Monarch Pass, and plenty of forest, all leading to the ‘last great ski town in Colorado.’
In case you need more reasons to plan your visit to this gorgeous town, we have rounded up our top eight reasons to visit Crested Butte this winter. Enjoy!
As adventurous as Coloradans are, it is no surprise that we are always looking for a new challenge. Enter canine skijoring. Some may have seen this done with horses, complete with plenty of jumps, but this is a more low-key version of the sport. Simply tie yourself to a long rope or leash, attach the other end to your four-legged friend and off you go. It is highly recommended that you already be very comfortable on cross country skis before attempting this heightened version—for both yours and your dog’s sake. You can either go into the backcountry, or head to the Crested Butte Nordic Center for dog-friendly trails built for this purpose.
Camp 4 Coffee
A Crested Butte institution, Camp 4 Coffee is the first place recommended to first-time visitors, and for good reason. This quirky hideout can be found downtown as well as in South Crested Butte, and is a great place to fuel up for all of your winter shenanigans.
One of our favorite parts of visiting any mountain town in Colorado is the people watching, but in Crested Butte, it is an official activity lovingly referred to as “bench sitting.” Elk Avenue, the main drag through downtown Crested Butte, offers plenty of great spots to pull up a seat, read a copy of Crested Butte News and enjoy a cup of joe from Camp 4 Coffee.
Telemark skiing might be named after a region in Norway, but Crested Butte is considered one of the birthplaces of this fun winter activity, and for good reason. The steep learning curve one can expect from these unique skis offers the perfect challenge for anyone feeling bored with their habitual winter adventures. The goal is not only to stay upright, but also to stretch out those beautiful low lunges and graceful turns. Crested Butte offers endless acres of backcountry powder to suit all levels, and you can rent the skis locally to save the hassle of schlepping them up from Denver.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
If you fancy yourself a winter sunrise, a hot air balloon ride might be the perfect activity for your getaway. Sailing high above the sleeping town below is unlike any other snowy adventure in Colorado. Set amongst the spectacular Crested Butte scenery, the ride will leave you with beautiful memories and photos from your time in the clouds.
The Eldo Brewery
A self-professed “sunny place for shady people,” this local brewery is a wonderful spot to spend a cold winter evening. With a vantage point overlooking Elk Avenue and menu items such as “dank ass burgers”, this place embodies the true personality and quirkiness of Colorado. But if this hot spot doesn’t strike your fancy, there are more than 50 different restaurants to choose from in Crested Butte, none of which are franchises. In short, it’s a bit of a foodie’s paradise, so be sure to come hungry.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort
With more than 1500 acres and 121 trails, you will find more than enough to keep you busy on the mountain. But just in case you want to mix things up during your stay, try out the terrain park or the tubing hill for an extra thrill. You are also less likely to encounter long lift lines or horrible traffic, which means more time to play. And speaking of play, there are plenty of great options for imbibing after a long day on the mountain with friends.
The Ultimate Vacation Accommodation
When planning a winter getaway, the first thing most people look for is accommodation. If you are planning an adventure with friends or family, a vacation rental is definitely the way to go, as you will have plenty of space to spread out and relax in between your outdoor excursions. If Crested Butte is on your travel list this winter, and we hope it is, 212 Sopris is a great choice for your stay. This well-stocked home has anything and everything you could possibly need, and it is just one quiet block back form the hustle and bustle of downtown Crested Butte. Beautifully finished inside and out, you can cuddle up by the fireplace, gather in the hot tub out back or enjoy a gourmet, home-cooked meal indoors.