A bridge on Highway 50 is under construction, affecting travel to Gunnison from the west. Learn more here.

Tips On Making Your Crested Butte Vacation More Sustainable

Sustainable travel is a way to travel and vacation that is good for the environment, economy, and community of where you’re vacationing. The goal is to be more conscious of the impact you make when you travel and invest in the place you’re visiting. To travel sustainably you want to be mindful of the way your trip affects the environment through factors like waste, water usage, and carbon emissions. You also want to consider the impact your shopping, lodging, and food have on the local economy and people who live in the community. As a visitor, you have the power to create a positive impact in Gunnison and Crested Butte by making a few simple changes when planning and executing your trip. When planning your 2021 vacation to Crested Butte or Gunnison, Colorado here are some tips to make your trip as sustainable as possible.

Transportation To Crested Butte and Gunnison

If you’re flying here, try to only pack a carry-on bag or make an effort to bring a smaller bag. The bigger the bags on a flight, the more fuel must be used. Look for a direct flight to Colorado as well. Landing and takeoff require the most fuel so direct flights help cut down on fuel use. Instead of renting a car take a shuttle from the airport; there are options available to Crested Butte and Gunnison from Denver International Airport (DEN), Colorado Springs Airport (COS), Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (GUC), and Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ).

Getting Around Crested Butte and Gunnison
A bus drives south from Mt Crested Butte to Crested Butte. A snow covered Crested Butte is in the background.

Utilize the free bus system in town or walk or rent bikes to get around Crested Butte and Gunnison. There are some shuttle options available for getting around the Valley as well. The bus also regularly runs between Gunnison and Crested Butte, making visiting both towns convenient. Some hotels and bed and breakfasts also have bikes for guests to use.

Mt Crested Butte, Gunnison, and Crested Butte Lodging

There are so many locally owned hotels, bed and breakfasts, and guesthouses to choose from when planning your trip. There are options in Mt Crested Butte, Gunnison, and Crested Butte. If you’re looking for easy access to incredible hiking and mountain biking trails look for something in Mt Crested Butte. Gunnison offers multiple options of hotels, bed and breakfasts, a hostel, and campgrounds with cabins and RV hook-ups. It’s a good option for access to trails and a mellow nightlife. Crested Butte offers a variety of unique lodges, bed and breakfasts, and hotels close to art galleries, restaurants, lots of live music options, and trails. Choosing locally-owned lodging will allow you to experience the local culture and help the economy and community.

Green Lodging in Crested Butte and Gunnison

Some lodgings in Gunnison and Crested Butte have even implemented green initiatives such as renewable energy, composting, and recycling. There are also a few steps you can take to help your visit be more sustainable no matter where you stay in Crested Butte or Gunnison. Reusing your towel, bringing travel toiletries from home, turning off the lights and unplugging electronics when you’re not in your room, and asking for metal silverware instead of plastic are all easy and impactful steps to take towards a more sustainable hotel stay in Gunnison or Crested Butte.

Shopping & Eating in Crested Butte and Gunnison

Crested Butte and Gunnison have an array of interesting and charming shops on Elk Ave and Main St. There aren’t many chains, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find most of what you’re looking for. Shopping locally also gives you the small-town experience and helps boost the local economy in Crested Butte and Gunnison. Many local businesses also donate some of their profits to local trail organizations. Two trail organizations in Gunnison and Crested Butte are Gunnison Trails and Crested Butte Mountain Biking Association. Gunnison Trails is a nonprofit organization that exists to help land managers and stakeholders maintain trails, educate about responsible trail use, and find new opportunities for sustainable trails throughout Gunnison County. Crested Butte Mountain Biking Association creates, maintains, and advocates for mountain biking trails in Crested Butte. Not only does shopping and eating locally help the economy, but choosing businesses that support these trail organizations can also help care for the environment. When it’s time to eat, you could choose from locally-owned fine dining or something causal, breweries or Asian fusion, classic diners or pizza with innovative toppings. Many places source their ingredients from local farms and brew their beer right in town.

Outdoor Recreation In Gunnison and Crested Butte
A man mountain bikes on a trail in Crested Butte, Colorado.

Leave No Trace in Crested Butte and Gunnison

When enjoying any of the 1200+ miles of trails in Gunnison and Crested Butte please practice Leave No Trace principles. These principles are planning ahead and preparing, staying on trails, disposing of waste properly, leaving things like rocks, feathers, and flowers behind, following campfire rules and restrictions and putting them out safely, respecting wildlife by not approaching them, feeding them, or touching them, and being considerate of others by sharing spaces and not being too loud. Abiding by these principles ensures the environments in Gunnison and Crested Butte stay wild and can be used by others for more years to come. It also helps keep you and others safe and provides a better experience for all.

Guide Services in Crested Butte and Gunnison

If you’re looking to try a new activity in Gunnison or Crested Butte, such as rock climbing or fly fishing, hire a local guide service. A local and experienced guide can teach you, help keep you safe, and provide all the gear you need.

Gear Rentals in Gunnison and Crested Butte

If you’ve traveled to Gunnison or Crested Butte with an activity in mind but find you’ve forgotten a piece of gear see if it can be rented first instead of buying something new. Buying less, especially if it’s something you already have, is one of the most sustainable choices you can make. There are several gear rental options available in Crested Butte and Gunnison.

Sustainable Travel in Crested Butte

A view of downtown Crested Butte, Colorado with some shops, restaurants, and bars under mountain view. Someone is biking down the road.

The best way to travel to Gunnison or Crested Butte sustainably is by implementing the options that work best for your lifestyle and travel plans. Sustainability is a simple matter of taking small steps and doing what you can when you can. No one could expect to make every sustainable change available for their trip, but most of us could do a few, whether we walk to dinner, are mindful to turn off the lights in our hotel room, or bring our own mug to the coffeeshop, every change counts in ensuring the environment, economy, and community in Gunnison and Crested Butte thrive so they remain a great place to visit. For more about sustainability in Gunnison Valley check out Sustainable Crested Butte. We appreciate the part you play in keeping this Valley heathy.

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