Our valley is tucked high in the West Elk Mountains of Colorado, right on the border between the central mountains and the southwestern ones.
There is no doubt that Gunnison-Crested Butte is harder to get to than quite a few places in Colorado, maybe even most places in Colorado. But the trip is worth it. Nothing beats the drive up Highway 135 with towering mountains in either direction and a wide valley floor filled with snow or wildflowers depending on the season, except for maybe the drive over Kebler Pass in summer or fall.
If you know what you’re looking for you can skip through the page using the links below:
- Fly Then Drive to Gunnison-Crested Butte
- Local Transportation and Rental Cars
- Drive to Gunnison-Crested Butte
- Road Conditions and Openings
Fly to Crested Butte and Gunnison
If you’re coming from farther away, flying to the Gunnison Airport is the way to go. The Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport, located in Gunnison, is the closest airport to Crested Butte. It serves the communities in the Gunnison Valley with air service on United during the summer and off-seasons and United and American during the winter. It’s the easiest way to fly to Crested Butte.
Summer 2020 Flight Schedule
COVID-19 has altered summer flights schedules on an ongoing basis. The Houston direct flight will not happen in summer 2020. You can find more details on how COVID-19 is affecting travel in the Gunnison Valley here, and details on other ways to get here below.
Denver service via United Airlines runs daily through the spring, summer, and fall with twice daily flights during the height of summer.*
|Mid-May through July 5, 2020||3x Weekly Service|
|July 6 through August 2, 2020||Twice Daily Service|
|August 3 through November 2020||Daily Service|
*Dates subject to potential schedule changes
Fly then Drive to Gunnison and Crested Butte
Driving anywhere in Colorado can be quite the scenic adventure. It can also be nice to have a car at your disposal once you get here. Here are a several options, complete with driving directions for flying into Colorado, renting a car and then driving to Gunnison or Crested Butte. Just be aware that in the winter, you’ll likely have to deal with some snowy and possibly icy driving conditions. If you’re not comfortable driving in the winter, you should save yourself the trouble and grab a flight to Crested Butte rather than monkeying with the drive.
Directions from Denver International Airport to Crested Butte
- Take Pena Boulevard towards 1-70
- After 11 miles merge onto 1-70 West
- Stay on I-70W through Denver (24 miles)
- Take Exit 260 onto CO-470 East
- After 5 miles take the exit for US 285 South towards Fairplay
- Stay on US 285 South until you reach the outskirts of Buena Vista
- Turn left to stay on US 285 South for another 21 miles
- Turn right onto US 50 West
- Arrive in Gunnison after 60 miles
- To reach Crested Butte turn right at CO-135 North and continue for 28 miles
Directions from Montrose Regional Airport to Crested Butte
- Turn left out of the airport onto US 50 East
- Follow US 50E for 60 miles to reach Gunnison
- Turn left on CO-135 North and continue for 28 miles to reach Crested Butte
Directions from Colorado Springs Airport to Crested Butte
- Take the Milton E. Proby Parkway to S. Academy Boulevard
- Take the exit for CO-115 South
- After 30 miles take the exit for US 50 West in the town of Penrose
- Stay on US 50 West for 130 miles to reach Gunnison
- Turn right on CO-135 North and continue for 28 miles to reach Crested Butte
Summer Directions from Grand Junction Regional Airport to Crested Butte
- Follow signs on Horizon Dr. to I-70 East
- Take Exit 37 for I-70 Business West towards Clifton/Delta
- After 1 mile turn left onto CO-141 South/32 Rd.
- After 5 miles turn left onto US 50 East
- After 32 miles reach the town of Delta and turn left onto CO-92 East
- In the town of Hotchkiss stay straight to get onto CO-133 North
- Turn left onto County Rd. 12/Kebler Pass Rd. after 23.5 miles
- Stay on Kebler Pass Rd. for 31 miles to reach Crested Butte
Local Transportation and Rental Cars- Do you need a rental car?
In the winter, you definitely don’t. Free buses run by the Gunnison Valley RTA and Mountain Express get you pretty much anywhere you could need to go. The one exception to that rule is for airport shuttles. If you’re staying in Gunnison, most of the hotels have their own vans so just check with Gunnison-Crested Butte Reservations when you book your hotel and make sure you can get a pick-up at the airport. If you’re staying in Almont, Crested Butte, or Mt. Crested Butte, be sure to ask your agent at Gunnison-Crested Butte Reservations to reserve you an airport shuttle from the Gunnison Airport to your hotel.
In the spring, summer, and fall months, you don’t need a car, but you will probably want one. We have pretty good free public transportation year round. But that transportation only gets you so far out of town. If you’re looking to hike or mountain bike trails other than the ones right near town, you will want to rent a car. The same is true if you’re planning to do much sightseeing or go on any of our scenic drives.
The Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (GUC) is serviced by Hertz, Avis, and Budget car rentals. In addition several other companies specifically rent 4x4s and Jeeps for adventures that require a high-clearance vehicle. We recommend making advance arrangements to rent a car prior to arrival.
Driving Directions from Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport to Crested Butte
The drive from the Gunnison airport to Crested Butte is an easy 30 minute cruise up Highway 135. Simply head up 11th or 12th St. and turn right on Tomichi Ave. From there turn left onto Highway 135 and proceed north until you reach Crested Butte. To reach Mt. Crested Butte keep driving for another 4 miles up the road.
Driving to Gunnison-Crested Butte
To orient you to a few landmarks, we’re a 4 hour drive more or less due southwest of Denver. Gunnison is pretty much due west of Colorado Springs (by about three hours) right on Highway 50. Crested Butte is south-southwest of Aspen, about 14 miles as the crow flies but separated by some mountain passes that are impassable except by foot (or horse).
Drive into our valley on Highway 50, a scenic road that runs across our great state, or enjoy a scenic mountain drive in the summer: Kebler Pass (Gunnison County Road 12) and Cottonwood Pass (Chaffee County Road 306 to Gunnison County Road 209).
Stay up to date on driving conditions and pass closures
Don’t let road construction, weather conditions or road closures impede your plans to get here. To check Statewide Travel Conditions from inside Colorado dial 511, or from outside Colorado, dial (303) 639-1111 or visit Colorado Trip, a website maintained by the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Pass Status– Check COTRIP.ORG for the most up to date information. We do our best to keep this table up to date, but recommend checking with the proper State or County authorities before traveling these routes.
|Cottonwood Pass (Chaffee County Road 306 to Gunnison County Road 209)||OPEN|
|Kebler Pass (Gunnison County Road 12)||OPEN|
|Schofield Pass/Gothic (Gunnison County Road 317)||OPEN to pass summit. Closed to West Maroon TH and Paradise Divide due to snow. High Clearance 4×4 currently recommended.|
|Independence Pass (State Highway 82)||OPEN|