We hit Crested Butte at the perfect time this year – the aspens were turning from green to gold, the weather was gorgeous, and the community was celebrating Vinotok, their annual pagan harvest festival. Here are our favorites!
FOOD & DRINK
The Guild Café – The Guild is a neat cooperative space occupied by the Mountain Oven and First Ascent coffee roasters. The food is fabulous and the atmosphere cosy, which makes it a great morning work spot. Their front patio is dog friendly.
The Secret Stash – The Stash has the best pizza in town, in any flavor you can imagine! We’ve had a few different options and have been impressed every time. Their patio, though expansive, is not dog friendly, even if you promise to keep fluffy on the outside of the fence.
BONEZ – Operated by the same people that own the Secret Stash, BONEZ is a Mexican place with great atmosphere, strong, fresh squeezed margaritas, and tasty food. Will ate a $17 Chile Relleno and was not disappointed… that’s saying something!
Camp 4 Coffee – Great coffee! Not a lot of room inside, but a great patio to chill on if you have a minute!
Teocalli Tamale – I didn’t eat here, but Will was impressed with their burrito. He claims it is a “cool local spot.”
Third Bowl Ice Cream – Amazing, Salt & Straw-esque flavors. If they have “Birthday Cake” in the cooler, don’t pass it up!
Crested Butte has some seriously amazing free / dispersed camping just outside of town. It took us ~30 minutes to get from town to camp each way, but the views were worth it!
Slate Creek Road – Plenty of camping off of Slate Creek, which is left off the main road just north of town, before you hit the mountain. If you’re looking for something more official / aren’t traveling in a 37′ vehicle, Oh Be Joyful campground down by the river is a great choice. If you can’t get down there (like us) continue on the road a ways until you see the flat areas accessed by smaller dirt roads.
Brush Creek – On the other side of town, equally impressive views! Follow Brush Creek road until you hit a fork in the road. Head to the right into the aspen forest and choose one of the many spots between the trees. Unparalleled!
Will set out an ambitious schedule that had him biking many of the iconic CB trails over the course of the week we visited. Here are his thoughts:
Teocalli Ridge Loop – A gentle climb up a 4×4 road out behind Mt. Crested Butte with some absolutely breathtaking alpine views. The road eventually turns to single track and pitches up for a couple of miles of very steep climbing. When the trail finally levels out you are on the top of Teocalli Ridge. More epic views and some awesome single track awaits up here! The ridge ride and the views make it all worth it, but the switchbacks at the end feel like a waste of some of the climbing effort.
401 Trail Loop – The is the quintessential Crested Butte mountain bike ride. It starts with some dirt road climbing out of the small town of Gothic, CO up to Schofield Pass. From there the climbing continues for about a mile on single track before breaking out of the trees into open alpine vistas. It’s no surprise that this ride is so popular, the views are the best of any Crested Butte single track I’ve been on. The quality of the riding leaves much to be desired and the trail is a bit crowded compared to others in the area. Worth a ride to see what the hype is about, but I probably won’t be returning again soon.
Doctor Park – If you ask anyone who has ridden all of the trails around Crested Butte, many will say that this ride is their favorite, even more so if there’s a shuttle involved. If you have a shuttle, this ride is basically 10 miles of the best downhill trails in Crested Butte. There are three distinct sections that go from techy roots and rocks, to the most flowy aspen glades you’ll ever ride, back to some super techy but surprisingly flowy rock gardens at the bottom. Without a shuttle you’re probably looking at 10 miles of climbing, which is arguably still worth the effort.
Reno/Flag/Bear/Deadman’s Gulch – I’d never heard of this trail before this trip to Crested Butte, but was very pleasantly surprised. This trail probably had the least impressive views of any CB trail I’ve been on, but the riding was top notch. Most of the climbing happens up front on the Reno section before breaking out into very fast a flowy single track on Flag. You hit another awesome descent on Bear with some great technical sections. By the time you get to Deadman’s, you are only a couple of miles away from the car, but still have about 2,000ft of vertical to lose. Time for about 35 of the most epicly fun switchbacks you’ve ever been on! This is a long loop, but well worth the effort.
Hiking / Running
We didn’t do much hiking this week, as my foot’s still a little sore and Will was really hot on biking with his new Yeti. Hilde and I did get out for one hike, which ended in her getting porcupined… poor girl! That being said, the hiking in CB is awesome and you really can’t go wrong. Pick a trail, get out there, and marvel in the incredible scenery!