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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.