Hiking in Crested Butte, CO

Crested Butte hiking trails

Whether you’re looking for a pleasant stroll through a wildflower-filled meadow, an overnight backpacking expedition, or a vigorous ascent to a soaring mountaintop, Crested Butte has the trail for you. This haven for outdoor recreation is nestled in the Rocky Mountains and is home to a diverse selection of wild animals, unique flora, and grand mountain landscapes.

There are many summer trails found right in the Crested Butte Mountain Resort area, however, to find the most trails, head to the western Elk Wilderness where you’ll find views of cascading alpine terrain and castle-like rock formations. For a great outdoor experience, plan a day hike and have a picnic in the remote serenity of the wilderness. Whatever you choose, you are sure to take pleasure in the scenic beauty of the natural surroundings.

So lace up your hiking boots and pack plenty of water. No matter which direction you head out in, you are sure to find a great trail with a unique view of this unspoiled mountain refuge.

Useful Hiking Links:


Designated Hiking Trails:

Summit Trail

1 mile round-trip

This summit ascending trail climbs fairly steeply and ends at a picnic shelter. Follow trail signs from the picnic area to the peak of Crested Butte Mountain, which stand 12,162 feet tall.

Silver Queen Trail

2 miles / 4.3 miles from base to top of Silver Queen Lift

Silver Queen Trail follows a path that winds down the mountainside to the top of Red Lady Express. Or for a more gradual hike, ride to the top of the Red Lady Express Lift and descend down until you reach the top of Silver Queen.

Multi-use Trails:

Warming House (Beginner)

This trail features fun rollers and gradual grades that will get your heart going. Start out here to travel out of the base area for access to a number of surrounding single-track trails.

Painter Boy (Beginner/Intermediate)

Lined with wildflowers and rows of aspen trees, this longtime local favorite is a great way to reach more challenging trails. Access Painter Boy from the Red Lady Express via Luge or Horseshoe Trail.

Meander (Intermediate)

Like the name says, Meander sprawls through the beautiful mountain terrain on a winding single track overlooking the East River valley. Take Gothic Road back to the foot of the mountain or climb Prospector to reach the top of Painter Boy.

Horseshoe (Intermediate)

Travel along the foot of Crested Butte’s renowned steep terrain on Horseshoe trail. This pathway connects to the Westside trail with Painter Boy, Meander, and Columbine for an adventurous cross-country loop from the base area.

Prospector (Intermediate)

This single track winds through pristine meadows and pine forests until it reaches Gothic Road which brings you back to the base area or links with Snodgrass or Meander.

Columbine (Intermediate)

Climb Columbine Hill through Aspen forests and lush, grassy meadows until the trail loops around Westside and Horseshoe. To extend your tour, explore the connecting trails that eventually meet back at the base.

Westside (Expert)

This new single track flows through aspen and pine forests and is sure to delight all trekkers. Westside also doubles as an intermediate trail if you begin at the top of the Red Lady Lift and travel down to the base area.