Snowshoeing

If you love hiking or running in the summer, you may want to participate in one of the oldest forms of snow travel while you’re here in Gunnison and Crested Butte: snowshoeing! Snowshoeing is just like hiking, but in the winter. Much of Gunnison Valley’s 1200+ miles of trail are accessible on snowshoes, so theres no reason to let the exploring stop when it gets cold and snowy! Snowshoeing is also one of the best ways to spot our elusive winter wildlife. Foxes, ermines, birds, and more are active in the wintertime and the quiet steps of your snowshoes probably won’t spook them like other methods of snow travel would. Just remember to follow Leave No Trace and respect wildlife by not disturbing them, feeding them, or touching them if you see any.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY SNOWSHOE ADVENTURES

Snowshoeing is a perfect, family-friendly activity to enjoy while visiting our winter wonderland. Equipment rentals are inexpensive, we have beautiful, well-groomed trails, and there’s no learning curve. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. The Gunnison Nordic Club and the Crested Butte Nordic Center trail systems are open to snowshoers and you can even take your dog along on some trails. Avalanches are always a danger in the winter, so be sure to check the avalanche forecast before heading out.

GUNNISON AND CRESTED BUTTE SNOWSHOEING

SNODGRASS

Drive up Gothic Road from Crested Butte past the ski area until the road dead ends at the trailhead. The trail follows the road up the mountain; be sure to take the one on the left as the one to the right leads to Gothic. This trail is groomed and an easy climb on snowshoes. It is popular with Nordic skiers and fat bikers as well, so be prepared to share it. The walk all the way to the top is about 3 miles, making it around 6 miles round trip.

CEMENT CREEK ROAD

Located about seven miles from Crested Butte in Crested Butte South, Cement Creek Road climbs through a rocky canyon into an open meadow. To get there turn on Cement Creek Road off Highway 135 and drive straight for 3.8 miles until you reach the parking area. The initial climb up the trail is fairly steep, but the meadow is relatively flat and easy for snowshoeing. This trail is shared with skiers and is especially popular with snowmobilers. However, if you go early enough you might not see anyone. The length depends on how you decide to go before turning around.

MILL CREEK

Located between Gunnison and Crested Butte, Mill Creek is a popular winter area. Theres a network of trails that wind through aspen and spruce groves. Be mindful of avalanche dangers as you get higher up in the canyon. You’ll likely be sharing the trail with skiers, fat bikers, and dogs. To access Mill Creek Road you’ll turn onto Ohio Creek Road and after nine miles turn left on Mill Creek Road. You’ll reach the parking area after 3 miles.

HARTMAN ROCKS

Hartman Rocks Recreation Area in Gunnison offers biking, hiking, camping, and rock climbing in spring, summer, and fall, but the fun doesn’t have to stop in the winter. There are 16 miles of groomed roads in the winter that are easy to piece together if you’re looking for a longer trip. There are options for all skill levels. Hartmans offers unique and expansive views of interesting rock formations, making it one of the most distinct snowshoeing trips you could have in the valley.

BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON

The road on the South Rim of the Black Canyon is closed to cars past the visitor center in the winter. Snowshoeing is an excellent way to see one of America’s most unique canyons when it will be even less busy than the summer. The National Parks Service recommends the upper part of the Oak Flat Loop and Rim Rock Trail for snowshoeing, though any part of the rim would provide a beautiful trek. Do not descend the canyon. The road is also groomed for Nordic skiing, so be sure to watch out for skiers and avoid walking in the ski track.

Want to try snowshoeing? Search for gear here!

ROMANTIC STARGAZING IN THE SNOW

For those looking for something a little different, Crested Butte Mountain Resort and the Crested Butte Nordic Center offer glorious evening snowshoe tours out under our brilliant night skies. Our thin mountain air and pollution-free skies make Crested Butte one of the best places in the United States to view the night sky, including the Milky Way. Both places offer dinner and drinks with your experience so you don’t have to walk back hungry.

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ACTIVITIES IN GUNNISON-CRESTED BUTTE

While you’re here check out Crested Butte and Gunnison’s other winter activities: skiing and snowboarding, snowmobiling, fat biking, ice skating, dog sledding, and sleigh riding, and Nordic skiing!

CRESTED BUTTE AND GUNNISON HOTELS

Whether you’re looking for a cabin or a condo, a hostel or a traditional hotel, we’ve got you covered for a vacation rental. Visit our Lodging page to learn more!

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