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Visit Crested Butte in Summer

A visit to Crested Butte in summer means amazing weather, abundant outdoor recreation and an explosion of wildflowers. There are many things to do on a Colorado summer trip to Crested Butte, so we’ve put this guide together to help you plan. What activities can you do in Crested Butte and Gunnison in summer? What is the weather like in Crested Butte? Where can you see wildflowers in Crested Butte? This guide will take you through what summer is like in Gunnison and Crested Butte, the best places to see wildflowers, things to do, and more.

A small cluster of flowers

Crested Butte Summer Weather

What is the weather like in Crested Butte in the summer?

Crested Butte has mild summer weather because of its elevation, which is 8,909 feet. The average high in June is 70 degrees and the average low is 33 degrees. The weather in July and August is similar. Highs are in the mid-70s and lows are in the high 30s. Average summer precipitation in Crested Butte is 1.81 inches. Afternoon thunderstorms are common in the mountains. They usually blow in quickly, especially at higher elevations. Getting an early morning start on your hike or bike ride can help you avoid storms. It’s also a good idea to carry a rain jacket or a mid-weight layer like a fleece in case the weather shifts.

A mountain peak in the background of a field of flowers

What does Crested Butte look like in summer?

Swaths of color cover the landscape during wildflower season. This vibrant spectacle has helped earn Crested Butte the title of “Wildflower Capital of Colorado.” See the pictures below for the views you’ll see if you visit Crested Butte in summer. 

  • A pointy mountain peak
  • A river winds through a valley
  • A dirt road winds through a grove of trees
  • a high alpine lake
  • a hiker and a dog on a high alpine trail
  • a field of wildflowers
  • Two people ride bikes on a trail through wildflowers

Gunnison Summer Weather

What is the weather like in Gunnison in the summer?

Gunnison is warmer than Crested Butte in the summer. June highs are in the mid-70s and lows are in the low-40s. July tends to be the warmest month with highs in the 80s and lows in the 40s. August highs are usually in the 70s and lows are in the 40s. Average summer precipitation in Gunnison is 1.22 inches.

What does Gunnison look like in summer?

Gunnison is a high desert. The pictures below can give you a taste of what Gunnison is like in the summer.

  • a pile of rocks
  • A group of three flowers in a field of sagebrush
  • a lake shore
  • a trail going through sagebrush
  • a man riding a mountain biking through a field of sagebrush
  • A mountain lake
  • Flowers alongside a fence

Fourth of July in Crested Butte and Gunnison

What 4th of July celebrations happen in Crested Butte?

Fourth of July celebrations in Crested Butte and Gunnison are a big deal! The annual 4th of July parade in Crested Butte draws large crowds for a day of fun with floats, a water fight and music. Other 4th of July events in Crested Butte include a pancake breakfast at the fire station and a street party. Gunnison hosts a whole day of events. The morning is kicked off with a hot-air balloon rally and then there are games and crafts in IOOF Park and Jorgensen Park. Fireworks conclude the day. Mt. Crested Butte hosts fireworks and a concert at the base area of Crested Butte Mountain Resort.

Visiting Crested Butte for the 4th of July

Because of 4th of July celebrations and the wildflower peak, this is a popular time of year for visitors. There are usually not as many visitors in June and August, though booking your trip early is still recommended. Save money and avoid holiday crowds by visiting during the week or on non-holiday dates. The wildflowers bloom all summer and are a spectacular sight to behold even outside of the peak.

Is Crested Butte busy in the summer?

July sees the highest number of travelers of any month in Crested Butte. Book flights and lodging early for the best rates and to secure your spot. Dinner reservations are also recommended for this time of year.

Summer Mountain Biking in Crested Butte and Gunnison

The Gunnison Valley is known for mountain biking—both for the trail systems in the area and as one of the sport’s birthplaces. Gunnison and Crested Butte have 1200+ miles of trails. 800 miles are singletrack. The Born From Junk mountain biking films detail the beginnings of mountain biking in Crested Butte and Gunnison.

Summer Mountain Biking in Crested Butte

The mountain biking in Crested Butte is flowy and largely situated in the high alpine zone. Ride trails lined by aspens, through wildflower meadows and on ridges that provide sweeping views of the valley. Check out these lesser-known trails in Crested Butte to get started.

a woman rides a bike on a path through a field of wildflowers
Mountain bikers riding down a rock slope

Summer Mountain Biking in Gunnison

The mountain biking in Gunnison is rocky and technical. Most of the MTB trails in Gunnison are at Hartman Rocks. Check out these intermediate trails at Hartman Rocks. There are also trails on Signal Peak, which is conveniently located across the street from the ICELab @ Western, Gunnison’s coworking space.

Summer things to do in Crested Butte or Gunnison

There is a lot of summer outdoor fun in Crested Butte and Gunnison thanks to beautiful weather and access to public lands. Other summer activities include hiking, boating, fishing, gravel biking, off-roading and rock climbing.

Summer hiking in Crested Butte

The Gunnison Valley boasts over 2 million acres of public lands. That’s a lot of hiking trails to explore. Need a place to get started? Check out these intermediate hikes in Crested Butte and Gunnison. Here are four Colorado hikes for families near Crested Butte. Just looking for something pretty? Find a hike in one of the best places to take photos in the Gunnison Valley.

A person wearing a backpack hikes on a trail behind a dog
A rubber raft floating on a river

Summer boating in Gunnison

Need to cool off? There’s plenty of boating in the Gunnison Valley. Go on a guided raft trip on the Taylor River, launch your boat on Blue Mesa Reservoir or rent a SUP on the Slate River.

Summer fishing in Gunnison

The lakes and rivers of the Gunnison Valley are also prime fishing spots. You can hire a fishing guide for lake and river fishing. Trophy lake trout and kokanee salmon have been caught on Blue Mesa. This 73.29-pound lake trout caught headlines in 2023.

a woman fly fishing in a river
Two people riding bikes on a gravel road

Summer gravel biking in Gunnison and Crested Butte

Take advantage of thousands of miles of gravel roads on the public lands in Gunnison to get out on your gravel bike. Gravel rides in the area range from just a couple of miles to multi-day bikepacking trips. Get started with this list of gravel rides in Gunnison and Crested Butte.

Rock climbing in Gunnison

The Gunnison Valley has a mix of trad and sport rock climbing. Check out routes at Hartman Rocks, Taylor Canyon, Cement Creek and Spring Creek. Advanced climbers can tackle the steep and technical climbing in the Black Canyon.

A rocky ridge
a mountain lake

OHV in Gunnison

There are many miles of trails open to off-roading in the Gunnison Valley. Before heading out, make sure your OHV is properly registered and the trail you want to ride on is open to motorized traffic. Taylor Park, Cement and Brush Creek, and Paradise Divide are a few places to off-road in the Gunnison Valley.

Crested Butte Wildflowers

Wildflowers are one of the best parts of summer in Crested Butte and Gunnison. The landscape explodes with bursts of colors like yellow, red, purple, pink and blue every summer. Common wildflowers include Paintbrush, Mules Ears Sunflower and Lupine. Check out the slideshow below to see more. Read about some of these flowers in this Crested Butte Wildflower Guide.

  • Purple wildflowers in a field with mountain peaks in the background
  • sunflowers in a field
  • A small close up cluster of wildflowers
  • wildflowers in a field on a mountaintop
  • A large cluster of wildflowers among a grove of trees
  • Yellow wildflowers in a field
  • A view of a mountain valley
  • A close up of a wildflower with a bee resting on it
  • a close up of small, delicate wildflowers
  • Wildflowers in a field

When is wildflower season in Crested Butte?

Wildflower season begins in June. The flowers usually peak in July and are gone around the end of August. The flowers and views are beautiful throughout summer, even if you miss their peak. Different species of wildflowers bloom each month, starting with glacier lilies in June and wrapping up with fireweed in August.

Where is the best place to see wildflowers in Crested Butte?

Crested Butte is surrounded by acres of protected, public land. Because of this protection, there are innumerable amazing views to savor. A few especially good spots to view wildflowers include Brush Creek, Snodgrass, Crested Butte Mountain Resort, the Lupine trails and Gothic Road to Judd Falls. Hartman Rocks in Gunnison is one of the best places to see high desert wildflowers and plants like paintbrush and mariposa lilies.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Is there a National Park near Gunnison and Crested Butte?

Colorado’s least visited National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, is a short drive from Gunnison. Black Canyon is 60 miles from Gunnison in Montrose, Colorado. This canyon is characterized by steep and narrow granite walls. There are beautiful views and hiking trails from the north and south rims. You can also fish for trout in the gold medal waters of the Gunnison River. Black Canyon National Park is also one of the best places in Colorado to stargaze because of its remote location and low light pollution. Attend an astronomy talk with a ranger to learn more about the night sky at the Black Canyon. Other things to do at this Colorado National Park include rock climbing, wildlife watching and horseback riding.

A wide view of a canyon

Summer wildlife in Crested Butte and Gunnison

The public lands around Crested Butte and Gunnison are teeming with wildlife during summer. Seeing wildlife is very exciting, but you should never approach an animal in the wild or feed it. One of the best ways to spot wildlife is on a quiet backcountry hike. Most animals and birds are more active at dawn or dusk. Animals like marmots and elk tend to stick to higher-elevation areas in the summer.

Shed hunting in Colorado is prohibited from January 1 to April 30. Additional time-of-day shed hunting restrictions exist in the Gunnison Basin from May 1 to 15 to protect the Gunnison sage grouse.

Summer at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Is Crested Butte Mountain Resort open in the summer?

Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) turns into a downhill bike park in the summer. With 30+ miles of lift-served singletrack, mountain bikers of all abilities have trails to ride. You can also ride the Silver Queen lift to the peak and hike back down. The kids will love thrilling activities like rock climbing and a bungee jump trampoline at the Adventure Park. Check the CBMR events calendar to see what else is going on during your summer visit.

Live Music in Crested Butte and Gunnison

The outdoor music venues in Crested Butte and Gunnison host most of their events in the summer. See live music at local parks, the base area of CBMR, the outdoor stage at the Crested Butte Center for the Arts and more! Pop into any of the bars on Elk Avenue in the evening and there’s a high chance a band will be playing while people dance. Check the events calendar for more concerts and events.

Summer events in Crested Butte and Gunnison

Go on a guided wildflower hike with the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival, experience Gunnison’s ranching history at Cattlemen’s Days, or race your mountain bike in the Original Growler. These are just a few of the events you could attend when you visit Crested Butte in summer. Make plans for one with our summer guide.

Summer trails etiquette

Most of the trails in Crested Butte and Gunnison are multi-use. You might encounter hikers on your bike ride or horseback riders on your hike. Knowing who yields to whom and other summer trail etiquette helps keep everyone safe.

Plan your Colorado summer trip

Ready to visit Crested Butte in summer? Find other Colorado trip resources with our trip planning guide. Book flights, browse places to eat and explore things to do. Booking a place to stay early will help you get the best rate. Options include traditional hotels, vacation rentals, quaint inns and even some hostels. View all your lodging options below.

Other seasons to visit Colorado

The Gunnison Valley has four beautiful and distinct seasons. Learn more about fall, winter and spring. The scenery changes and there are different things to do in each season.

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