Right where you belong may be the most apt way to describe Crested Butte, Colorado. Located high in the Rockies and nestled among the peaks in a broad river valley, the old-school charm in Crested Butte seeps through into everyday life. Pretension has little place here, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t find culture, a hand-crafted cocktail, or a lifetime’s worth of adventure during your visit.
Although Crested Butte is in the center of Colorado, it couldn’t be easier to get to from Houston. Daily non-stop flights fly from Houston to Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport late June through mid-August. This gives you the best window to experience the renowned wildflower display and your pick of some of the best arts and culinary events the valley has to offer. In the 1990s, the State of Colorado Legislature declared Crested Butte the Wildflower Capital of Colorado. In celebration of that designation, the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival runs July 7-16, right at peak bloom, and features over 200 individual events from photography and art classes to guided hikes and drives. Go out with a scientist or nature photographer and learn some new flowers.
Smaller and more low-key than its counterpart in Aspen, the Crested Butte Wine and Food Festival, July 25-30, 2017, is a celebration of the craftsmanship and artistry behind fine wine and great food. Join experts, winemakers, and award-winning chefs for wine pairing dinners and lunches, wine seminars, or outdoor adventure with wine and food. Sip, swirl, and saunter your way through the Grand Tasting featuring over 500 national and international wines. The Crested Butte Music Festival runs all summer long in the Spiegeltent, literally “mirror tent” in German, located at the base of Mt. Crested Butte. Offering over 50 free and ticketed bluegrass, classical music, opera, and Gypsy Jazz events this summer, some of the highlights include the Paper Faces Masquerade ($100 per person) on August 1st featuring music from Queen City Jazz Band and Mariachi on the Rocks on August 4 featuring craft margaritas and locally crafted salsas with live music by Mariachi Sol de mi Tierra.
When you’re not sampling the entertainment, there are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself. Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley offers the largest and most diverse trail system in the world. Over 750 miles of singletrack mountain biking and hiking exist within the valley, and five Wilderness Areas ring the mountains surrounding Crested Butte.
If relaxing is more your thing, soaking up the Vitamin D on one of Elk Avenue’s many benches or sun-drenched patios may be your pace. Grabbing a beer at The Brick Oven is a favorite post-ride or hike option for locals and visitors alike. It can also be a great way to hear about new trails, hikes, or adventures in the area. When the dinner bell rings head over to Slogar for fried chicken and fixin’s served family style. Reservations are recommended most nights. Visiting the local galleries that line the street afterward is the best way to let that all settle in before sampling the nightlife. Local handcrafted rum cocktails at Montanya’s are the best digestif in town, but if bourbon, vodka, or gin is your style try the Dogwood Cocktail Cabin located in a historic miner’s cabin just off the main drag.