The Gunnison Valley is home to some of the best mountain towns in Colorado. You might already know about the laid-back college town of Gunnison and the dreamy hamlet of Crested Butte. Almont, a hub of outdoor recreation, and Mt. Crested Butte, home of Crested Butte Mountain Resort, might be new to you. Each of these mountain towns has its own unique culture, restaurants, art, shopping and nightlife. Different trails and public lands are accessible via each town, too. Getting to know the four towns here will help you decide where to stay and what to do during your visit to the Gunnison Valley.
Before outdoor recreation exploded in popularity, Gunnison was a ranching town. These days, its ranching roots are still strong, and it’s also home to Western Colorado University and about 8,000 residents. It’s the largest town in the Gunnison Valley. Nearby is Hartman Rocks Recreation Area, Blue Mesa Reservoir, and thousands of acres of Gunnison National Forest, including the West Elk Wilderness.
Crested Butte was once a coal mining town. These days, it’s a bustling little village full of restaurants, art galleries and bars. The Instagrammable downtown is lined with colorful old buildings. Crested Butte is surrounded by public lands, including the Gunnison National Forest and several of its wilderness areas.
Almont is ten miles north of Gunnison on Highway 135. If you blink, you might miss it! Almont is the perfect base camp for water-based activities, particularly fishing and whitewater rafting. Almont lies at the mouth of Taylor Canyon, a scenic granite canyon with abundant wildlife. Most of the area from Almont to Taylor Park is Gunnison National Forest land, including Fossil Ridge Wilderness.
The mountain towns of the Gunnison Valley are about as picturesque as towns come! This is due to their remote setting amidst two million acres of public lands. Gunnison National Forest, Black Canyon National Park, Taylor Park, Curecanti National Recreation Area and Hartman Rocks provide some of the stunning backdrops to the Gunnison Valley’s towns. Get to know these wild places and learn about all the fun things to do there! Go biking and hiking in summer, catch the changing aspen leaves in fall, and ski in winter.
Find fun outdoor activities and places to explore near Gunnison, Almont, Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte.