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Scenic Colorado Hikes

Crested Butte offers a wide variety of easily accessible, scenic Colorado hikes. Hikes in this area are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts seeking breathtaking scenery and memorable adventures. Crested Butte sits among millions of acres of preserved and pristine public lands. Hiking is a great way to explore and see Colorado’s stunning scenery. You don’t even need to go on a long or challenging hike for it to be scenic—there are many hikes close to town. Learn more about Crested Butte hikes with good views, hiking in the mountains, the best seasons for hiking and more in this guide to scenic Colorado hikes in Crested Butte.

A sign that says Gunnison National Forest in a patch of wildflowers and trees

Where to hike in Crested Butte

The Gunnison Valley’s protected public lands are beautiful and provide much to explore from high alpine meadows, remote mountain peaks, dense aspen groves, ghost towns, waterfalls and lakes, and more. Gunnison National Forest lands comprise most of the public lands surrounding Crested Butte. Check out our Gunnison National Forest guide for maps and other travel tips.


Hiking in wilderness areas

The abundant wilderness areas accessible from the Gunnison Valley draw many hikers to this part of Colorado. Wilderness areas prohibit motorized vehicle and bike travel within their boundaries, so wilderness trails are celebrated for their quiet atmosphere and relatively low volume of visitation. Gunnison National Forest contains the West Elk Wilderness, the Raggeds Wilderness, the Fossil Ridge Wilderness, the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness and the Maroon-Bells Snowmass Wilderness.


Click or tap on each trail to find a scenic Colorado hike

Woods Walk

Brush Creek

Snodgrass Mountain Trail

Rustler Gulch

Teocalli Mountain

Daisy Pass


Easy scenic Colorado hikes in Crested Butte

A piece of the Woods Walk trail in Crested Butte dotted with columbine flowers

Woods Walk

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2.8-miles round trip

This easy hike is close to town and perfect for kids, people looking for something short, and those just getting into hiking. From Crested Butte, the trailhead is 0.2 miles up Kebler Pass on the right (north) side of the road. The hike begins in an aspen grove that opens to a spectacular view of Peanut Lake, Gothic Mountain and Crested Butte (the mountain). Connect this trail to Lower Loop Trail or Budd Trail for a longer hike or turn around at any point. Staying left at the junctions provides better views.


Brush Creek

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 4.29-miles round trip

Get to Brush Creek trail (sometimes called East River trail) by turning left (east) onto County Road 738 two miles south from Crested Butte. The trailhead and parking lot is on the left in 1.9 miles. This scenic Colorado hike is perfect if you’re looking to see wildflowers. It also has amazing views of the Elk Mountains. See pyramidal Teocalli Ridge, the East River Valley and hillsides covered in swaths of flowers.

Some flowers that bloom in Brush Creek include lupine, aspen sunflowers, paintbrush, elephant head and green gentian. This easy trail is an out-and-back with a few short inclines and declines. There might be a few small creek crossings, too. You can turn around at any point for a shorter hike.


Intermediate Colorado scenic hikes in Crested Butte

fall leaves with a sun-lite mountain peak in the background. snodgrass crested butte fall

Snodgrass Mountain Trail

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 3.6-miles one way

The Snodgrass trailhead is 4.3 miles north of the town of Crested Butte on Gothic Road. The view from the trailhead includes Crested Butte (the mountain), a meadow of wildflowers and Gothic Mountain. The first bit of this trail is steep. Look back as you climb to take in the view. Stay left when the trail splits.

The trail undulates over hillsides with panoramic views of Crested Butte and Whetstone Mountain. Weave in and out of aspen groves on the last part of the trail. The wildflowers and aspens make this trail beautiful in summer and fall.


Rustler Gulch

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 7-miles round trip

Take Gothic Road north from Crested Butte for 4.3 miles and descend into the East River Valley past Gothic for 6.5 more miles. Take a right at Rustler Gulch Road. Park here, or high-clearance 4×4 vehicles can cross the East River to continue one mile to the trailhead. This hike begins in a wildflower field. Look behind you for a magnificent view of Gothic Mountain.

You might get your feet wet during a creek crossing about ¾ of a mile in. The trail curves into the gulch and parallels the stream. Enjoy the view of Precarious Peak, a “thirteener,” ahead. Toward the turnaround, there is some old mining equipment and a waterfall. The trail ends in a scree field at the base of a bowl created by the surrounding peaks. Take a break, get some photos and head back to the trailhead.

A pyramidal mountain called Teocalli Mountain in Crested Butte

Challenging scenic Colorado hikes in Crested Butte

Teocalli Mountain

Difficulty: Hard
Distance: 11.1-miles round trip

Teocalli Mountain is one of the most iconic peaks in Crested Butte. This difficult trail begins at the end of West Brush Creek Road. The trail climbs as it traverses the hillside to Teocalli Ridge Trail. At the trail intersection on the ridgetop, turn left and ascend towards the peak. Eventually, the trail opens up to a steep slope covered in wildflowers.

The trail continues weaving up the rocky ridge. Once the trail narrows and you get to the talus field, you’re almost to the summit. Teocalli Mountain is part of the Maroon-Bells Snowmass Wilderness. Our hiking to Aspen from Crested Butte hiking guide has more information about traveling in this wilderness area. Take in the expansive views of the Elk Mountains from the summit, which is covered in the red rock distinctive to Colorado’s mountains.


Daisy Pass

Difficulty: Challenging
Distance: 4.6-miles one way

Daisy Pass has panoramic mountain views, waterfalls and wildflowers. To get to the trailhead from Crested Butte, take Gothic Road north 0.8 miles to Slate River Road. Turn left and go 7.2 miles to Poverty Gulch Road. Park here, or cross the Slate River if flows are low and you have a high-clearance, 4×4 vehicle. The parking area is in two miles.

The hike starts by crossing Poverty Creek and then ascends into Baxter Basin. Take in the views of the gulch as you hike. The trail is lined with wildflowers in the summer. The trail gets steeper, and the wildflowers get denser as you climb to the top of the pass. From the top, you can see Democrat Basin, the Oh Be Joyful Valley and Scarp Ridge.


What is the best season for hiking in Crested Butte?

Hiking season in Crested Butte is summer and fall. Both seasons offer scenic Colorado hikes. Summer is green and vibrant wildflowers bloom. The aspen and cottonwood trees change color in the fall. Each season provides beautiful views.


Summer hikes in Crested Butte

Summer is the warmest time of year in Crested Butte. The weather is mild and suited to outdoor recreation, especially hiking. Devour the green landscape and blooming wildflowers on a summer hike. Crested Butte is the official Wildflower Capital of Colorado. Wildflowers of every shape and color bloom all summer.

There are many hikes with amazing views of wildflowers to meander along. Wildflowers to look out for include columbines, mule ears sunflowers, sego lilies, fleabane and cow parsnip. Learn about more flowers in our Crested Butte Wildflower Guide. July is the most popular month to visit Crested Butte. Flight and lodging reservations fill up fast, so book in advance to secure a spot.

a close up of pea-shaped wildflowers called lupine in Brush Creek

Wildflower hikes:

Easy: Lower Loop trail

Moderate: Lupine trail

Difficult: Gothic Mountain


Fall hikes in Crested Butte

Every fall the aspens in the Gunnison Valley turn to autumnal shades. Gold is the most common color but there are swathes of red and orange as well. This is a magnificent site to behold. Peak fall leaf season is usually mid-September, but this varies year by year. If you want to do some fall hikes check a leaf forecast first.

Aspens grow between 5,000 and 12,000 feet in elevation. This Crested Butte hiking guide has a list of some of the best fall hikes in the area. Kebler Pass is home to one of the biggest aspen groves in the world. There are hikes off Kebler, and the pass is drivable by most cars and makes a beautiful fall scenic drive.

A view of fall trees and a beautiful sky. Ohio Pass Crested Butte

Fall hikes:

Easy: Beaver Ponds

Moderate: Oh Be Joyful

Difficult: Caves trail


Tips for a scenic Colorado hike

Being prepared can help make your hike more enjoyable, keep you safe and help you avoid tickets and fines. Bring lots of water, salty snacks and sunscreen on your hike. It’s also smart to pack extra layers like a hat, a rain jacket and a mid-layer in case the temperature drops. Pack out all your trash and follow regulations for disposing of human waste. Get a free backcountry bathroom kit at locations across Colorado via the Doo Colorado Right program.

Only bring dogs on trails where pups are allowed, follow all leash laws and pack out any dog poop. Many of the trails in Crested Butte are multi-use. Share the trail by practicing good summer trails etiquette. Hiking off-trail or in closed areas can result in a ticket or fine. Learn more about hiking and traveling in Crested Butte with our Resources for Colorado Travelers guide.

whetstone mountain in crested butte. Wildflowers dot the landscape and a mountain peak hovers in the background

Photography on scenic Colorado hikes

Stay on the trail and tread lightly when looking for the perfect shot on a scenic Colorado hike. Avoid trampling flowers and other plants. Many of the best places to take photos in Crested Butte are also hikes with good views.


Plan a hiking trip to Crested Butte

Start planning a hiking trip to Crested Butte! Browse flights and book one for getting here. Find a place to stay and reserve it early for the best rate. Plan other things to do on your trip such as mountain biking and whitewater rafting. Browse our events calendar to see what is going on during your visit.

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