If you have been here before you know why we call our home paradise. And if you are learning about us you will find the top 10 reasons or excuses to visit Gunnison-Crested Butte this summer very helpful! Our local travel experts have complied some great deals for this summer based on their experience and we hope you will find some great summer deals on lodging and activities that suit your needs... if not- create your own adventure.
1. Take an open-air pontoon boat ride through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. A 232-step hike brings you down to the Gunnison River, where the sheer canyon walls tower for half a mile above you. Journey by boat past waterfalls, stunning spires and the dramatic cliffs of one of our nations newest National Parks.
* Named Best Boat Ride in Colorado by the authors of Colorado’s Best.
2. Picnic at 11,000 feet. The Silver Queen chair at the base of Mt Crested Butte whisks you to just below the Buttes distinctive Matterhorn-like peak (at 11,400 feet). Sightseers can climb to the 12,162-foot summit (an additional half-mile hike) or stop for lunch and take in the panoramic views.
* Tickets available at the lift ticket window in Mt. Crested Butte.
3. Step back in time. Explore the many ghost towns surrounding Crested Butte and Gunnison, remnants of the late 1800’s silver and gold mining rush, on a four-wheel-drive Jeep tour. Or visit the Gunnison Pioneer Museum and explore the circa-1905 school house, post office and dairy barn. See an old narrow-gauge train engine, complete with boxcar, livestock car and caboose. Or visit the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum and Mountain Biking Hall of Fame.
4. Get soaked. Raft, float, kayak or canoe the rollicking rapids and relaxing waves on the Taylor and Gunnison Rivers. Or set sail for the Blue Mesa Reservoir, Colorado’s largest lake, for a full day of watersports: windsurfing, water-skiing, sailing, powerboating, and sailboarding, as well as excellent fishing (the Blue Mesa is the largest Kokanee salmon fishery in the U.S.).
5. Grab your spurs. Take a journey on horseback through the real American West. Avariety of outfitters in Gunnison County offer everything from guided one-hour rides to multi-day horseback trips to breakfast and dinner rides.
6. Float your fly rod in Gold-Medal rivers. Let one of the many expert anglers in the valley take you on a guided fly-fishing excursion to the Gunnison, East and Taylor Rivers, some of the finest trout streams in Colorado. Record-breaking rainbow, as well as brown, brook and cutthroat all thrive in these crystal clear waters. Numerous outfitters offer special clinics and instruction, rentals and custom trips. In the town of Gunnison, kids can even practice at PacMan Lake in Jorgenson Park (the lake is stocked the first of June every year; kids fish free).
7. Gunnison County is a mountain biking mecca and home of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame (located at the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum). Ride the legendary Lower Loop (scenic, easier), Rage in the Sage (high desert, intermediate), or the famous, lung-busting #401.
8. Find out how much further your golf ball flies at 9,003 feet! The Crested Butte Country Club’s 18-hole Robert Trent Jones II-designed golf course has been rated Best Mountain Golf Course in Colorado by Mountain Golf magazine. Or try the Gunnison 18-hole course, Dos Rios, which is situated on the Gunnison River in an oasis of trees with stunning cliff views.
9. Guided hikes stimulate the mind and exercise the body. Explore the spectacular beauty of the mesas, lakes and canyons of Curecanti National Recreation Area, encompassing both the Black Canyon and Blue Mesa Lake. Curecanti’s trail system offers everything from short backpacking trips to long day hikes. Ranger-led walks and nature talks are available at the Elk Creek Visitor Center. Kids can earn Junior Ranger status by completing an activities booklet and interviewing a park ranger.
11. Quality family time doesn’t have to cost money. Go camping, roast marshmallows over an open fire, watch the 4th of July parade, take in a local softball game, ride at the skateboard park, watch the sunset and listen to live music. Read up on local history and visit famous landmarks, or make your own list!