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Resources for Colorado travelers

Welcome to the one-stop shop for resources for Colorado travelers! Whether you’re visiting Crested Butte, Gunnison, or another Colorado destination, this guide will help you plan your trip and avoid unpleasant surprises (like arriving in your favorite campground late on a Friday night only to find it’s already full). Whether you’re camping, off-roading, or participating in another of Colorado’s many outdoor sports, use the following resources and tips to plan a memorable adventure that leaves this place pristine. Learn important rules like when you’re allowed to build a campfire and where you can camp this summer. 

Gunnison and Crested Butte Travel FAQs

In resources for Colorado travelers, some of the most popular topics are camping and campfires. Here’s everything you need to know.

Where can I camp in Crested Butte and Gunnison?

Hoping to camp during your visit to Crested Butte? Camping is only allowed in designated sites in the northern Gunnison Valley. Camping outside a designated site can result in damage to the land and potential fines for you. Most campsites here are first come, first served, so plan out several backup options if your first campsite choice is taken. If you want to be certain you’ll have a place to camp upon arrival, consider reserving a site at a campground ahead of time.

Find campsite maps and helpful info in this guide to camping in Gunnison County.

What areas in Crested Butte have moved to designated camping?

This guide from Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association explains which areas have been moved to dispersed camping.

Can I reserve a campsite?

The U.S. Forest Service allows camping reservations. Private campgrounds also allow reservations.

Are campfires allowed in Crested Butte and Gunnison?

Hoping to have a campfire during your visit? Check Gunnison County fire restrictions and other travel alerts before sparking up a blaze. Please do not build homemade fire rings. If you are camped at a designated site, it will have a metal fire ring. 

Outdoor recreation quiz: Gunnison Valley edition

Hey there Colorado travelers! Planning a trip to the Gunnison County’s two million acres of public lands? Take this short quiz to test your knowledge on camping, off-roading and more.

Care for Colorado
Leave no trace

How to Care for Colorado

Gunnison Crested Butte is proud to be part of the Care for Colorado Coalition. This coalition is a group of organizations that empowers Colorado travelers to tread lightly on public lands and take good care of this beautiful state. The Colorado Tourism Office and Leave No Trace teamed up to create these guidelines specifically tailored for a trip to Colorado.

  • Know before you go
  • Stick to trails
  • Leave it as you find it
  • Trash the trash.
  • Be careful with fire.
  • Keep wildlife wild
  • Share our trails and parks

Care for Colorado Leave No Trace Principles

Gunnison Crested Butte is proud to be part of the Care for Colorado Coalition. This coalition is a group of destinations that aims to empower Colorado travelers to tread lightly on public lands and take good care of this beautiful state. We teamed up with Leave No Trace to create these guidelines specifically tailored for a trip to Colorado.

  1. Know Before You Go

  • Almost half of Colorado is public land. Learn about the area you plan to visit before adventuring out so you can enjoy and help protect the spaces we all share.
  • Colorado’s weather and scenic terrain is stunning but can change drastically. Check conditions before you depart, pack layers, sun protection and rain gear, wear appropriate footwear … and enjoy your trip.
  • Journey to places with minimal crowds to maximize your connection with the great outdoors. Have a backup plan in case the parking lot at your original destination is full.
  • Pack reusable water bottles to stay hydrated, limit waste and save money.
  • Find a campsite, pick a trail, book activities and make reservations before you arrive in the Gunnison Valley. Start planning things to do now!

Elevations of popular Colorado destinations

Crested Butte: 8,885′
Gunnison: 7,703
Aspen: 7,908′
Breckenridge: 9,600′
Denver: 5,280′
Steamboat Springs: 6,762
Telluride: 8,750′
Vail: 8,150′
Durango: 6,512

How high elevation affects visitors

As you can see, Crested Butte and Gunnison are some of Colorado’s highest towns. Some visitors may become short of breath. Take it slow and stay hydrated.

In rare cases, visitors may experience altitude sickness. Seek medical attention if you experience symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headache, vomiting and feeling weak or dizzy.

  1. Stick to Trails

  • Embrace the adventure as intended by only walking on designated trails — even if it’s wet, muddy, slushy or icy. This will help avoid erosion and protect the homes of local wildlife.
  • Shortcuts and that perfect selfie can be tempting, but staying on the path will decrease your risk of injury and protect trailside plants.
  • Camping? Set up in one of thousands of designated campsites in Colorado. They boast some of the most scenic views and protect the landscapes. And remember to camp at least 200 feet from waterways to leave space for wildlife.
  • Did you know there are more than 150 trails in the Gunnison Valley? Start exploring the two million acres of public lands here.
  1. Leave It As You Find It

  • Enjoy discovering plants? Rocks? Historical and cultural items? Be sure to leave them as you found them so everyone can experience the joy of discovery.
  • Colorado has more than 2,000 different species of wildflowers, all with their own unique part to play in our ecosystem. Admire their beauty by taking a photo, not a flower.
  • Cleaning boots, bike tires and watercraft before and after every outing not only makes your gear last longer, it prevents the spread of harmful invasive species.
  • Colorado’s trees give us beautiful leaf peeping photos, shade on summer days, unmatched ski runs and, of course, oxygen (which at this altitude, is a big help). But the smallest carving can kill or disfigure them.
  • Learn more about Crested Butte’s famous (and fragile) wildflowers.      
    1. Trash the Trash

    • Pack in the beautiful views by packing out the trash and leaving a place better than you found it. And make sure not to forget the peels and cores. Just because it’s good for you, doesn’t mean it’s good for the wildlife.
    • No bathroom around? No worries. Be prepared with a disposable WAG bag (found in most outdoor stores), and conveniently pack out your waste. Alternatively, find privacy 70 steps from water and the trail, dig a 6- to 8-inch hole and then bury your business.
    • Learn more about pooping outside in the Gunnison Valley and beyond.
      1. Be Careful With Fire

      • Build the perfect Colorado campfire (and avoid sparking a wildfire) by first making sure campfires are allowed in the area. Then, keep them small, manageable and attended. When it’s time to extinguish, make sure the embers are cold to the touch to avoid reigniting a flame.
      • Buy or gather firewood locally; it’ll save you space in your car, plus it prevents the introduction of any invasive species like the destructive pine beetle.
      • Use care when smoking anything (and we do mean anything) in Colorado’s dry climate. One of the biggest causes of fires are discarded butts.
      1. Keep Wildlife Wild

      • Colorado is home to tens of thousands of furry, scaly and feathered creatures. To keep them — and you — safe, make sure to keep you (and your dog’s) distance. And if you’re ever unsure, follow the rule of thumb: If you can cover the entire animal with your thumb, you’re at a safe distance.
      • Everyone loves the smell of bacon (not just humans). So always store food, trash and anything with a scent in bear proof lockers, canisters or secured vehicles. This will protect you and prevent wildlife from being exposed to behavior changes, predators or even euthanasia.
      • Learn more about Gunnison’s abundant wildlife, including black bears.
      • While not technically wildlife, cattle are a common sight on public lands in the Gunnison Valley. Give cattle a wide berth as you would with any wild animal, and leash dogs when they are nearby.
      1. Share Our Trails & Parks

      • Everyone experiences and enjoys the outdoors in different ways. Be mindful of your group’s noise level so everyone can appreciate our shared spaces.
      • Yield to the uphill hiker and biker — they need the momentum. Wheelchair users and equestrians always have the right of way. 
      • Learn more about trail etiquette and seasonal trail closures in Gunnison and Crested Butte.

      © Leave No Trace: LNT.org. © 2023 Colorado Tourism Office. All rights reserved.

      Do Colorado Right

      How to Do Colorado Right

      Tips for Colorado travelers

      Whether you’re a local or a visitor, think big when it comes to taking care of this state we all love. From winter backcountry safety to reducing carbon emissions, follow local Colorado celebrities on the journey to do Colorado right. Watch the videos below!

      Doo Colorado Right

      “Doo” Colorado Right

      A backcountry bathroom solution for Colorado travelers

      “Doo” Colorado Right is the answer to the backcountry poop problem in Crested Butte, Gunnison and across the state. Free backcountry bathroom kits are available to visitors at locations all around Colorado. Learn more about the program, where to get a kit and how to use it.

      Gunnison County Sustainable Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee

      “STOR” for short

      The Gunnison County Sustainable Tourism and Outdoor Recreation (STOR) committee is a group of local, state and national stakeholders who work together on stewardship policies and initiatives in the Gunnison Valley. This unique group includes representatives for a variety of interests, including agriculture, tourism and land management. 

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