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!
Flying 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.