GETTING TO GUNNISON CRESTED BUTTE

HOW TO DRIVE OR FLY TO THE GUNNISON VALLEY

The Gunnison Valley is nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains in west-central Colorado. The rural location has allowed this area to keep its small-town charm and wild beauty. Crested Butte is literally at the end of the road. It’s worth the trip!

GUNNISON-CRESTED BUTTE REGIONAL AIRPORT

Less than 40 MINUTES FROM BAGGAGE CLAIM TO CHAIRLIFT

gunnison airportFlying is the easiest and fastest way to get to the Gunnison Valley. The Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (GUC), located in Gunnison, is the closest airport to Crested Butte and offers direct flights from Denver, Houston and Dallas during the winter months.

Winter 2021-22 Gunnison-Crested Butte Airport (GUC) Flight Schedule

Schedules are subject to change without notice.

Denver (DEN) to Gunnison-Crested Butte (GUC) via United Airlines

Dates

Frequency

Dec. 1, 2021-March 26, 2022Twice or three times daily (except Christmas Day)

Dallas (DFW) to Gunnison-Crested Butte (GUC) via American Airlines

Dates

Frequency

Dec. 16, 2021-Jan. 3, 2022Twice daily
Jan. 4, 2022-April 4, 2022Twice daily on Saturdays, once daily on all other days

Houston (IAH) to Gunnison-Crested Butte (GUC) via American Airlines

Dates

Frequency

Dec. 16, 2021-March 26, 2022Once daily

Driving to Gunnison and Crested Butte

No matter which direction you’re coming from, the drive into the Gunnison Valley is a beautiful one. Here are driving directions to Gunnison and Crested Butte from nearby Colorado cities. 

  • Denver (4.5 hours)

    Denver is the fifth-busiest airport in the United States and services flights from all over the country. The drive from the Front Range through the heart of the Rockies to Crested Butte is a fantastic tour of some of the most scenic places in Colorado.

    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
  • Montrose (1.75 Hours)

    Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ) is the second-closest airport to the Gunnison Valley and Crested Butte. It services flights from Allegiant, American, United and Delta from both coasts. One of the best things about flying into Montrose is that you pass the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and the Blue Mesa Reservoir on the way to Gunnison and Crested Butte.

    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

    U.S. Highway 50 Road Closures

    A section of Highway 50 between Gunnison and Montrose through Little Blue Creek Canyon is under construction. The road is fully open on weekends but closed certain times of the day on weekdays to accommodate construction crews. Visit the U.S. Highway 50 construction website for more information.

  • Colorado Springs (4 Hours)

    Flying into Colorado Springs Airport (COS) can shorten your drive at a similar ticket price if you’re considering flying into the Front Range of Colorado. Along the way there’s plenty to see and do with the highlight being the Royal Gorge of the Arkansas outside Canon City.

    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
  • Grand Junction (3 Hours)

    Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT) is another option for reaching the Gunnison Valley. During the winter the drive is just a little longer than the drive from Montrose. During the summer and fall, the drive to Crested Butte can be cut shorter by using the well-maintained gravel shortcut over Kebler Pass. This drive passes between two wilderness areas and cuts through the largest aspen grove in Colorado, a special treat during September.

    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

    U.S. Highway 50 Road Closures

    A section of Highway 50 between Gunnison and Montrose through Little Blue Creek Canyon is under construction. The road is fully open on weekends but closed certain times of the day on weekdays to accommodate construction crews. Visit the U.S. Highway 50 construction website for more information.

Shuttles from Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport

If you don’t have a car, consider hiring a shuttle from the Gunnison-Crested Butte Airport (GUC) to your hotel. Free buses run by the Gunnison Valley RTA and the Mountain Express are an easy way to get around the valley once you’ve settled in to your hotel or vacation rental.

Shuttle ServicePhone Number
Alpine Express (970) 641-5074
Rocky Rides Ltd.(800) 252-1854

Renting a Car in Crested Butte and Gunnison

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. From the airport, head north on 11th or 12th Street and turn right (east) on Highway 50 (Tomichi Avenue). From there, turn left (north) onto Highway 135 and drive 28 miles until you reach Crested Butte. To get to Mt. Crested Butte, keep driving another 4 miles up the road.

Frequently Asked Questions about Traveling to Crested Butte and Gunnison

How do I get to Crested Butte and Gunnison?

The easiest ways to get to Crested Butte and Gunnison are to either drive or fly. Crested Butte is about a four-hour drive from downtown Denver via U.S. Highway 285 south. Another popular route is to take Interstate 25 south from Denver to Colorado Springs and then take U.S. Highway 24 west until it merges with U.S. Highway 285 south.


To fly, the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (GUC) in Gunnison is the closest airport to Crested Butte. The airport offers air service during the summer on United, and during off-seasons and during the winter on United and American.

How far are Crested Butte and Gunnison from Denver?

The drive south along U.S. Highway 285 from Denver to Crested Butte will take you just over four hours, depending on weather and traffic. If you take the Interstate 25 route south to U.S. Highway 24 west, it’s a slightly longer drive. A flight from Denver International Airport to Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (GUC) in Gunnison only takes about a half-hour from liftoff to touchdown.

Is there a shuttle from Denver to Gunnison and Crested Butte?

Rental cars are available at Denver International Airport (DEN), and flights are available from DEN (also known as DIA) to the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (GUC) via United. The next best option is to secure a bus ticket from Denver to Gunnison. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) offers bus service from Union Station in Denver to the Econo Lodge in Gunnison for about $30-$40 per ticket. The ride takes about 4 hours and 45 minutes. To get from Gunnison to Crested Butte, you’ll get on the northbound Gunnison Valley RTA bus. The Gunnison to Crested Butte ride is free of charge and takes about 45 minutes.

How far are Crested Butte and Gunnison from Colorado Springs?
The drive from Colorado Springs to Crested Butte takes about 3 hours and 45 minutes. Take U.S. Highway 24 west to U.S. Highway 285 south. Take 285 to Highway 50 west into Gunnison. Turn onto Highway 135 north and continue on to Crested Butte. The drive is roughly 160 miles.
What airport do you fly into for Crested Butte?

Crested Butte and the surrounding community are serviced by a local airport, the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (GUC) in the city of Gunnison, about 35 miles from downtown Crested Butte. GUC provides air service during the summer on United Airlines and on United Airlines and American Airlines during off-seasons and winter.

Does Southwest fly to Gunnison?

Southwest does not currently provide air service to Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (GUC) in the city of Gunnison. The airport closest to Crested Butte that currently provides air service is the Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ) in the city of Montrose, about 1 hour and 45 minutes’ drive from Crested Butte (depending on weather and traffic).

Are there nonstop flights to Gunnison?

There are several nonstop flights to Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (GUC) in Gunnison, arriving from Denver International Airport (DIA) and Houston (IAH) during the summers and winters. There are also direct flights from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) during ski season.

Are Crested Butte and Gunnison worth visiting?

Crested Butte is a beautiful mountain town that’s secluded but not far from Denver, too. There’s of course epic skiing at Crested Butte Mountain Resort during the winter months. In summer, mountain biking and hiking are popular activities in Gunnison and Crested Butte. More than 1000 miles of trail provide access to pristine fields of untouched columbines and stunning aspen groves. The cozy towns of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte are less commercial than Aspen and Vail, with several ma-and-pa shops and wonderful restaurants that perfectly complement the laid-back and affordable hotels, condos and vacation rentals.

Do you need a reservation for Crested Butte and Gunnison?

Plan to make travel arrangements and your hotel accommodations before your trip. If you want to plan a group activity or something special like whitewater rafting or horseback riding, you may want to contact the outfitter before you leave and make a reservation. Dinner reservations at top restaurants should be made a day or two in advance during peak times. Otherwise, the towns are laid back and most places are more than happy to accommodate you, even last-minute.

Do I need a car in Crested Butte and Gunnison?

In the summers, maybe, if you want to do some exploring. But not really during the winter. There are free buses run by the Gunnison Valley RTA and Mountain Express that will take you pretty much anywhere. If you’re staying in Gunnison, most of the hotels have their own vans, so just check with reservations when you book your hotel and make sure you can get a pick-up at the airport. In Crested Butte, check with your reservations desk to get a shuttle to the airport.

What is there to do in downtown Crested Butte?

Downtown Crested Butte has a nice collection of stores and boutique shops that carry a variety of items. You can browse beautiful art prints and sculptures at one of the many galleries, or pick up a souvenir t-shirt or hoodie. There are a couple nice coffee shops that have drinks and treats to keep you refreshed. Many of the shops around downtown were started by locals and have their own unique personality. There is a wide selection of restaurants, from upscale Italian at Marchitelli’s to fried chicken at the Slogar.

What can you do in Crested Butte if you don’t ski?

Crested Butte is so much more than a ski town. Since the town wasn’t necessarily built around skiing like Vail Village, there’s a wide variety of businesses to shop, galleries to visit, and sights to see. There are many points of interest around town, in addition to a bevy of restaurants, coffee shops, taverns and clubs. Day or night, there’s plenty to do in Crested Butte off the slopes.

Are there luxury hotels in Crested Butte and Gunnison?

There is no shortage of luxury hotels in Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte that are only steps from the ski slopes. Ski-in, ski-out lodges at the base of the mountain include Elevation Hotel & Spa, Westwall Lodge and Grand Lodge Crested Butte, Black Bear Lodge and Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Purple Mountain Bed & Breakfast is an intimate, four-star B&B in Crested Butte that’s highly rated. High-end options are also available through Eleven Experience.

What are the best family friendly hotels in Crested Butte and Gunnison?

Cristiana Guesthouse is a relaxed, alpine-style lodge with a spa, hot tub, free Wi-Fi and a complimentary breakfast served daily.  The Nordic Inn has polished guest rooms with a free breakfast every day, complimentary Wi-Fi and a hot tub. Scarp Ridge Lodge is an upscale saloon-turned-lodge with a one-of-a-kind saltwater pool, hot tubs, gym and bar. All the hotels in Gunnison are family friendly, and most have pools.

Are there private homes for rent in Crested Butte and Gunnison?

Yes! Private home rental is a larger residence that has amenities that a typical condo or hotel doesn’t have. Private vacation rentals in Crested Butte typically range from two-bedroom townhouses or larger homes that can have up to seven or eight bedrooms. Private homes have all the amenities you’d expect in a real home–a full kitchen, garage, patio or deck, hot tubs, and master and guest master suites with updated bathrooms.

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