Your 6-Day Adventure Vacation to Crested Butte, CO

Dominic Gawel | | Featured ArticleFeatured Article
Credit: Gunnison Crested Butte Tourism

Brought to you by Gunnison Crested Butte Tourism 

Crested Butte, CO – America’s last great ski town. Crested Butte, nestled in the Gunnison Valley amongst Colorado’s stunning Elk Mountains, is famed for its extreme skiing, unique ski town culture, and quaint feel. Whether you are just learning about Crested Butte, have had it on your list of places to travel, or are looking for a new ski destination, it is a must for any adventure traveler. Six days of adventure await.

  • Learn more about how to get to the Gunnison Valley here.
  • Browse a variety of local accommodations and compare lodging rates here.

Day 1: Arrive and Soak in the Views

Credit: Gunnison Crested Butte Tourism

Nearly any adventure to the Gunnison valley starts in Gunnison, CO. Spend the better part of your day in the western-style downtown and try a few restaurants before heading 30 miles up the valley to Crested Butte. If you are driving up the valley, consider adding a detour from the town of Almont and driving up Taylor Canyon to Taylor Park to get sweeping views of the Collegiate Range from Taylor Reservoir.

Local’s Choice Dining: 

  • Breakfast: Back Country Cafe – creative breakfast dishes and boozy breakfast cocktails
  • Lunch: Sherpa Cafe – a local’s favorite restaurant serving Nepalese, Tibetan, and Indian food
  • Dinner: Anejo’s – classic Mexican food and a wide selection of tequila

Day 2: Ski Crested Butte Mountain Resort

The Gunnison Valley’s main winter attraction is Crested Butte Mountain ResortCrested Butte has a wide variety of terrain for any ability level. Spend your first day on the mountain getting your bearings and exploring. If you like groomers, explore East River, Paradise, and the Gold Link area. If you like bump skiing, warm up your legs on Twister and Crystal off the Silver Queen, or check out Resurrection under the East River Lift.

Local’s Choice Dining: 

  • Breakfast: Gas Cafe – East Coast style breakfast sandwiches and grab & go options
  • Lunch: Crested Butte Burger Company – classic burgers, cajun fries, and ski-in & out
  • Dinner: Jose’s at Elevation Hotel – a new restaurant with tacos, tequila, slopeside dining, and views of Mount Crested Butte

Day 3: Backcountry Ski or Nordic Ski

Nordic skiing in Crested Butte. Credit: Gunnison Crested Butte Tourism

Crested Butte has some of Colorado’s best nordic skiing and backcountry skiing. Crested Butte Nordic offers over 30 miles of groomed trails for all ability levels. Never tried it? Crested Butte Nordic offers lessons and rentals for those just starting. They also rent snowshoes if you want to go for a stroll and take a mellow day. Come try the Nordic skiing capital of Colorado!

More of a backcountry skier hunting for some powder? Check out Coney’s for a moderate ski tour and utilize the Crested Butte Avalanche Center’s amazing resources while planning your ski tour. That being said, the Elk Mountains also have one of the most unstable snowpacks in the world and should be treated with respect. If you do not have avalanche education, hire a professional backcountry guide at Irwin Guides or Colorado Backcountry Guide Service so you can taste some untouched powder.

Local’s Choice Dining: 

Day 4: Explore Downtown Crested Butte

Taking a walk down Elk Avenue. Credit: Gunnison Crested Butte Tourism

Spending time in downtown Crested Butte is essential for any vacation to the valley. After a few days of recreating at nearly 10,000′, take a day to recover and explore Elk Avenue. The main street has plenty of restaurants, gift shops, dessert shops, and art galleries. If the high elevation is catching up to you, consider going to The Fountain IV hydration and wellness bar for a unique fix to acute mountain sickness.

Local’s Choice Dining: 

  • Breakfast: McGill’s – A hearty sit-down breakfast on Elk Avenue
  • Lunch: Pita’s in Paradise – Mediterranean and American-style food with quick service
  • Dinner: The Slogar – Historic building with famous fried chicken
  • Bar: The Dogwood – Craft cocktails in an old miner’s cabin built in 1891

Day 5: Ski Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Mogul skiing in Crested Butte, CO. Credit: Gunnison Crested Butte Tourism

Crested Butte Mountain Resort has a lifetime of terrain to explore. After exploring the mountain’s front side on your first day,, it is time to graduate to some of Crested Butte’s famed extreme terrain. It is best to find a friend to show you around or hire a CB Steep Guide to ensure you do not get in a dangerous spot. While exploring the extremes, check out Funnel, Big Chute, Spellbound, and Third Bowl. If you go without a guide, research and download the Crested Butte extreme map in FATMAP.

Local’s Choice Dining: 

  • Coffee & Breakfast: Daily Dose – Coffee, smoothies, and breakfast burritos
  • Lunch: Umbrella Bar – an on-mountain food and beverage option with sweeping views of the East River Valley and Mount Crested Butte
  • Dinner: Bonez – a modern Mexican-style tequila bar and grill
  • Dessert: Tin Cup Ice Cream and Desserts – A new dessert shop serving Crested Butte’s famous Third Bowl ice cream

Day 6: Fat Bike at Hartman Rocks and Depart

Before heading out, shake out your ski legs with some fat biking at Hartman Rocks in Gunnison. Rent your fat bike at Tomichi Cycles if you plan on fat biking at Hartman Rocks. Hartman Rocks Recreation Area is located 10 minutes outside Gunnison and offers over 50 miles of mountain biking trails. In the winter, Gunnison Trails has started grooming various trails with varying difficulty levels. While fat biking at Hartman’s, you can expect unique rock features and 360-degree views of the West Elk Mountains, San Juan Mountains, Fossil Ridge Wilderness, and more.

Crested Butte also offers a variety of fat biking options if you prefer to stay up the valley for your excursion. Several local shops rent fat bikes and the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association maintains and grooms a variety of fat biking trails for exploring the north side of the Gunnison Valley.

Local’s Choice Dining: 

Fat biking at Hartman Rocks. Credit: Gunnison Crested Butte Tourism

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2 thoughts on “Your 6-Day Adventure Vacation to Crested Butte, CO

  1. So true. Crested butte is just another trustfunder, remote worker, sprinter van infested, eastern transplant overrun completely ruined mt. town. Look at the CB experts from Chicago spewing their nonsense.

  2. I think the “Last Great Ski Town” moniker expired once Mark Walter bought most of Elk Ave and Vail bought CB. RIP “The Bakery”

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