The heart of the Gunnison Valley beats a little faster in June. You’ll feel it at high noon with the sun soaking into your skin, never oppressive and always welcome. That same sun that wipes your cares away is bringing new life to the Rockies with every melting snowflake and every blooming flower. June is a special time for mountain towns everywhere, but nowhere is it more sacred than in the Gunnison Valley. 

Chasing rainbows on the Slate River in Crested Butte, CO

Image: Justin Cash

The Gunnison Valley towns of Gunnison, Crested Butte, and Mt. Crested Butte are solidly in the middle of Colorado, and for many visitors getting here can be an adventure. Visitors from Houston have it easy. Daily non-stop flights from Houston to Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport start June 6th and run all the way through to August. With flights starting earlier this year, it’s the perfect excuse to experience the full breadth of the local’s favorite month: June. 

The summer officially kicks off with the opening day at Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s bike park on June 8th. Thirty-five miles of lift-served mountain biking connect to the world’s largest trail network of over 750 miles of rideable singletrack. While all 750 miles of trails won’t be open in early June, you can bet that the ones that are will offer stunning views and loads of wildflowers. Starting your trip with a visit to the resort is a great way to get acclimatized to the elevation and get a lay of the land for the rest of your adventures. Mt. Crested Butte, the town that houses the resort, is also the best place to find a place to stay. Take the free bus between Mt. Crested Butte and Crested Butte for a car-free experience with plenty of charm. 

Mountain biking the Lupine Trail in Mt. Crested Butte, CO

Image: Tom Runcie

While Mt. Crested Butte is the best place to stay, Crested Butte is the best place to indulge your taste buds. Post ride or hike beers are best enjoyed on the spacious decks of the Brick Oven Pizza and Pub or the Elk Avenue Brewing Company. The Sherpa Cafe serves up authentic Himalayan cuisine with a broad selection of currys, kormas, and momos. It would be a mistake to pass up a little bench time on Elk Avenue after dinner. Let the food sit, relax in the cool evening, and then head to Montanya or The Dogwood for an after-dinner cocktail.

Perfect bench sitting weather on Elk Avenue in Crested Butte, CO

Image: Justin Cash

A little further down the valley is the city of Gunnison offering its own escape in June. Weekly concerts at the I Bar Ranch start in mid-June and run through the end of summer. Their covered, open-air music venue means that your plans won’t get rained out. Speaking of rain, Gunnison gets much less moisture, meaning that the trails around town at Hartman Rocks and Signal Peak are all open in June. After a concert or a hike in Gunnison, head to The Dive for dinner or drinks. Their menu is full of surprises, and their specialty poutine may be the best refuel meal anywhere outside of Canada. The Gunnison River Festival is another can’t-miss June event from the 20th-22nd. While all the snow is melting up high, the rivers are full, and the rafting couldn’t be more fun. Book a raft trip with Three Rivers Resort in Almont to feel the rush yourself, or head down to the Gunnison Whitewater Park on June 22nd to watch kayakers and rafters brave the rapids and throw tricks in tiny little boats.

The pulse of June helps visitors and locals alike leave it all behind to start summer on a fresh foot. Whether you come for relaxation or recreation, the ease of travel, burgeoning wildflowers, sunshine, and mountain town culture will make you feel like you’re right where you belong.

Right where you belong in Gunnison, CO

Image: Justin Cash

 

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