Day Trips From Crested Butte
Now that summer is starting and the COVID-19 restrictions should be lifting in a few weeks, I’m hopeful that second home owners and other visitors will begin returning to Crested Butte. I’ve certainly been enjoying the opportunity to go outside with my wife Francene and our dog Millie. If you follow me on Facebook you’ll have seen quite a few fly-fishing videos! Crested Butte is such a special place to be, especially in the summer. But it’s also amazing how many other great places you go visit that are close by. To get you excited for this summer and all the potential trips you can take, here are some of my favorite day trips from Crested Butte to outlying areas!
These are all awesome places to hike, bike and explore and highly recommend check them out. If you plan on visiting any of these places right now just remember to follow the rules! Don’t go out in groups larger than 10 people, respect social distancing. You should also expect that bathrooms are closed, so go before you go! And as always, take it easy. Medical support is already limited so do your best to avoid adding to their workload. With that said, enjoy all the great beauty that Crested Butte and its surrounding areas has to offer!
First up is Gothic!
From Mt. Crested Butte continue on Gothic Road to the North past the ski resort base area until the asphalt ends then another 4 miles to the historical townsite of Gothic Colorado and the home of the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab. Accessible only in the summer you will find a general store, hundreds of scientists, daily programs and a brand-new interactive visitors center. The Weldon & Rosalie Weekley Visitor’s Center is informative and educational for adults and kids. Because it’s so close you don’t even has think of this as one of the day trips from Crested Butte!
The RMBL.org website says: “Gothic was a silver boomtown in the 1880s, but its heyday was short lived. By 1890 prospectors seeking the motherlode had moved on. In the 1920s Dr. John Johnson, a biology professor at Western Colorado College, led his students on field trips near Gothic. Recognizing the rare and rich ecology of the remote high valley, in 1928 he set up a field station amid the ruins of the old mining town. Now more than eighty years later, the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory has become an internationally renowned center for scientific research on high-altitude ecosystems.”
RMBL is a non-profit providing empirical data that will help causes around the world. It contributes to the uniqueness of our valley, one more ingredient that makes Crested Butte a special place.
Or Check Out Crystal
For another option on day trips from Crested Butte, continue along Gothic Road past Emerald Lake, and keep right past the 401 Trail and you will come to Schofield Park (formerly the mining town of Schofield). Continue past the dirt parking lot for the West Maroon pass hike and in about a half mile you will see a sign that says something like “Danger Only Expert 4-Wheel Drive vehicles and crazy people will drive past this sign”, park here and walk the rest of the way.
You will have two stream crossings, then hike down Devil’s Punchbowl, and another few miles you will come to Crystal (also known as Crystal City). Some would call it a ghost town, but there are people who live in Crystal a couple of months in the summer. Take some money as there is a general store, and Roger Neal who is an author who has written a very good book about the town of Crystal. Crystal was a mining camp established in 1881 and after several decades of robust existence, was all but abandoned by 1917. Many buildings still stand in Crystal and it is said the Crystal Mill and waterfall is the most photographed site in all of Colorado.
Last But Not Least, Marble
Once I rode from CB to Marble and back on my motorcycle, I had my wife Francene on the back of the motorcycle – she said “I will N E V E R do that again!”
From Crystal you can continue on to Marble – but it is a long walk.
If you have a 4-Wheeler or a dirt bike you will make it, or you visit on another day and can drive from Crested Butte on Kebler Pass Road, take a right when you get to Hwy 133, past the Paonia Reservoir, past Redstone (a good stop to wander around and check out the coke ovens along the side of the road, or across the bridge into town), take a right on CR 3 into Marble.
If you’re looking for day trips with a historic and cultural aspect, this is a great one! The clean white marble deposits of the Yule Creek were first discovered in the late 1870’s. Minor quarrying occurred between that discovery and the early 1900s. Major development occurred in 1905, when Col. Channing Meek, with some help from the Rockefellers, raised $3 million to develop the Colorado Yule Marble Quarry. It has been used for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and for parts of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. It is said that any capitol building in the US has marble from the Yule mine. They used to have tours of the mine – but due to safety, insurance, attorneys and what not they don’t advertises tours on their website: http://www.marbletourismassociation.org/
How Can I Help?
Stay safe out there. Contact me to help you if you have questions.
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I have been in your shoes – as both a Second Home Buyer and Seller here in Crested Butte.
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