Summer Sunday: 36 Hours in Crested Butte

Summer Sunday: 36 Hours in Crested Butte

It might seem strange to vacation in Crested Butte when you’re coming from Telluride. After all, the two seem quite similar. Both are small mining/turned ski towns nestled in remote places in the Colorado Rockies. And both have exceptional outdoor activities close by an exceptional town.

biking through CB's wildflowers

Biking through CB’s wildflowers
Photo Credit: Eli Horowitz

But if the two are twins, you can think of CB (as the locals call it) as the quieter sibling. Crested Butte doesn’t have premier festivals during the summer. Nor does it have many restaurants that receive reviews outside of its local papers. What it’s lacking in glitz is countered by what it does do well (really well): mountain biking, cocktails, coffee, wildflowers, and quaintness.

3 p.m.
Big Al’s Bicycle Heaven, 207 Elk Ave., 970.349.0515
People used to roam the Old West by horse; now they do so by bike. Whether you want to brave the numerous trails that climb out of Crested Butte or just cruise town’s streets, you’ll get more out of CB with two wheels under you. This is a biker’s town. So much so that they even have a bike party where children who are barely walking terrorize the streets on striders (pedal-free bikes).

Bikes for the day start at $20. Discounts are given for multiple days. Check out the guidebook Mountain Bike Crested Butte, Gunnison, and Salida Singletrack if you’re interested in riding some of CB’s amazing trails. Also check your hotel—CB is such a biking crazy town that some hotel rooms come with free loner cruiser bikes.

5 p.m.
Home Grown Theater
Crested Butte Mountain Theater
It might sound strange to see theater on the Western Slope in a town centered around biking and skiing, but this is not your average cultural experience. With everything from Shakespeare to premier musicians playing, a trip to Mountain Theater offers a unique glimpse of CB’s nightlife in a vintage opera house.

7 p.m.
Dinner with the Locals
The Secret Stash, 303 Elk Ave., 970-349-624
Congratulations. You’ve found it. Actually, in it’s new location, right in the center of CB, the Stash is easy to find. But even though it has lost the old miner shack and more than doubled its serving space, the Stash is still full of local charm. Serving up wood-fired pizzas and salads nightly, 5-10.

9 p.m.
Miner’s Cocktails
Dogwood Cocktail Cabin, 309 Third Street, 970-349-6338 |
Actually the only thing that’s miner about these delicious concoctions are the fact that they’re served up in an old miner’s cabin. Otherwise, ditch your crusty boots at the door and step into Crested Butte’s supreme cocktail scene. Dogwood has drinks featuring everything from rhubarb to melon to habañero chilies. Awesome bar treats and sweets too if you’re fresh off a ride. Happy Hour from 5-7 everyday.


8 a.m.
No Ordinary Joe
Camp 4 Coffee, 402 1/2 Elk Avenue, 970.349.2500
Fuel up for the morning at the best coffee shop in Colorado (some might say the West) The espresso is so good here my husband has to stop me from planning our visits in CB around lattes at Camp Four. Tasty breakfast burritos and pastries too. Open at 5 a.m.

Playing on the slate river

Playing on the Slate River

9 a.m.
Dragonfly Anglers, 307 Elk Ave., 970.349.1228

Whether you sign up for a half or full day, time on the river is one of the best ways to experience the West. Going out with a guide makes tying flies and finding fishing holes a whole lot easier.

3 p.m.
Specialty Rum Drinks
Montanya Rum, 130 Elk Ave., Open 7 days a week, 11am-8: 30 p.m., 970-799-3206
Remember what I said about cocktails in CB? Brace yourself because the Maharajah at Crested Butte’s rum distillery is yet another drink you have to try. Perfect after a day spent in the river, landing your first trout.

8 p.m.
Sushi in the Mountains
Lobar Restaurant & Lounge, 303 Elk Ave., 970-209-5159
Is it a nightclub? A sushi den? A karaoke bar? However you describe it, Lobar, recently voted as one of the top ten ski town sushi restaurants by Ski Magazine. Stop in for a roll, stay for the music. Takes reservations by text.

10 a.m.
Fresh Fruit & Breakfast Crepes
Crested Butte Farmer’s Market, Elk Ave., between 2nd and 3rd St.
There’s something about a small town farmer’s market. Happy families, buckets of fresh flowers, and in CB’s case, beautiful, organic produce. Grab a basket and stock up with produce for the afternoon hike. Snack on a crepe from Just Crepes as you stroll through the market’s bounty.

1 p.m.
Hike or Bike through Wildflowers
Snodgrass Trail

Every alpine town likes to brag about its summer display. In CB, this is truly the case. Their display of lupines is so good they’ve organized a wildflower festival in July to celebrate them. Grab a mountain bike or a pair of light hikers and head out on this moderate 3-mile trail. Views of peaks, ranchland, and town below rival those of the French Alps.

If You Go
The Inn at Crested Butte, 510 Whiterock Avenue, 970.349.2111, manages to be small, quaint, and upscale all at the same time. Rooms starting at $139.
Crested Butte Hostel, 888-389-0588, 615 Teocali Ave., takes any previous notion you’ve got of a hostel and flips it sunny-side up. The rooms are clean and spacious, the service is friendly and hip. Bunks are $25; rooms start at $65. Showers and laundry available to non-guests for a small fee.
Camping in CB is great. Stop by the Crested Butte Visitor Center, 601 Elk Avenue, (970) 349-6438 for a list of recommended spots.

1 Comment
  • Alison
    Posted at 23:09h, 12 November

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