Crested Butte may be known for its extreme mountain skiing, but it’s a great stop at any time of year. Nestled in the East River Valley, Crested Butte is commonly called the “Wildflower Capital of Colorado” thanks to the rainbow of color that carpets the landscape throughout much of the year. If you’re looking for an idyllic place to hike, bike, ski, snowboard or just hear your own thoughts, this sleepy mountain town may be your perfect hideaway.
Crested Butte RV Resort
Two miles south of downtown, the Crested Butte RV Resort hugs the base of Mt. Slate and has the good fortune to be situated alongside the Slate River. Choose between campsites situated along the riverfront or ones that offer exceptional mountain views; they all come with 30-amp or 50-amp electrical service and water hookups (except in winter). Facilities include a common yard and picnic area, lavatory buildings and a mini-store, so this isn’t a cushy, luxury resort. But what you sacrifice in cushy amenities, you more than make up for with the stunning views that surround the park. This is the kind of place where you can truly relax, reset and leave feeling rejuvenated. Bring that stack of books you’ve been meaning to read.
Rates start at $60 a night in the off-season and $82 in peak season (for 2020). Click here to book your spot.
The Trailhead Children’s Museum
With the wild beauty surrounding Crested Butte, it’s easy to feel like nature is its own playground for any kids you have in tow. But inclement weather happens, and the next best thing to nature’s playground is the Trailhead Children’s Museum.
Filled with hands-on activities, this joyous, colorful space is a paradise for kids of all ages, from infants on up. With two stories and over 2,500 square feet of space, there’s plenty of room to play, and mats for tumbling, equipment for climbing, forts to hide out in and oversized blocks for building.
For more artistically-inclined kids, museum employees will greet them at the Art Bar, with an opportunity to create something totally their own. There are also regular programs throughout the week—split up roughy by age group and interest—including a story and playtime for kids too young for school.
The Secret Stash is the kind of restaurant that exists mostly in idealized fantasies of the past. It’s the kind of place from an early 80’s ski movie where a gang of friends would meet to strategize before battling evil preppies on a double black diamond slope. Eclectic, independently owned, a bit out there—all of it in the service of truly great pizza.
Whimsical, yes. Good food, 100 percent. If you can’t make it into the restaurant, they offer delivery or “take and bake,” so you can have a piping hot pie out of your own oven, anytime. They offer gluten-free crusts, and both vegetarian and vegan options. Plus, they go out of their way to remind you this isn’t fast food. Which means, you’ll pay a fair price for dinner, no $5 pizzas here. But with fresh ingredients, unparalleled ambiance and flavors that make you want to weep after a long day of outdoor activity, Secret Stash is the kind of restaurant you dream about finding in every new town.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort
It’s rare to find a place that’s just as beautiful and sporting in winter as it is in summer, or vice versa. What makes a magical, glittering snowscape doesn’t always translate to a summer paradise. But Crested Butte Mountain Resort is a wonderful exception. With chair lifts that run year round, you can ski or snowboard down the mountain in the colder months, or hike down trails in summer’s full beauty. In particular, the Red Lady lift is breathtaking on mild evenings, providing stunning mountain views highlighted to full effect at sunset.
As far as ski resorts go, this one still qualifies as a hidden gem because the crowds are less intense here than other mountains nearby. Which means more fun on the slopes for you. There is a good blend of beginner, intermediate, expert and “bold of you”-rated runs, making it a great choice for any group of mixed-ability skiers and snowboarders. And for anyone in your crowd aspiring to an Apres Ski lifestyle, businesses at the base of the mountain include coffee shops, restaurants, a fitness center, spa and gift shop. (Enough to keep them busy while you enjoy your time on the slopes–no judgment!)
In a small town, sometimes the simplest things bring the most pleasure. For instance, you might be thinking, what could a little three-screen theater possibly offer in the way of entertainment? But the Majestic Theatre offers first-run movies in a classic setting, unchanged by the pressure to keep up with modern times. Instead, what you get is a slice of nostalgic Americana, powered by the kind of movie lovers who tend to historic theaters and keep the soul of Hollywood alive in small towns everywhere.
Just in case you forgot how original movie theaters work, here’s a refresher. There’s no assigned seating. Come early for a prime spot. The popcorn is made fresh and you can still top it with real, clarified butter. Any money you spend on concessions goes toward supporting the local economy, so don’t sneak in your own snacks. Oh, and they’ve got a liquor license just to serve up your old fashioned movie with an Old Fashioned cocktail. You’re welcome.