(Last Updated On: July 28, 2017)
Crested Butte is one of the most scenic places on Earth. And one of the best ways to really enjoy the scenery is by hiking. Crested Butte is home to a number of scenic alpine hikes – meaning hikes that take you into the alpine, usually above treeline. However, alpine can also mean areas that might be below treeline, but just don’t have a lot of trees. Alpine hikes could take you to the tops of peaks, follow ridges, or even to a scenic overlook on a pass. Described below are 7 of the best scenic alpine hikes in Crested Butte.
Triple Bipass Loop – Hasley Pass, Frigid Air Pass, & West Maroon Pass
Distance: 10.5 miles. But, shorter options available, down to 6 miles.
Parts of this loop can be fairly steep at times. Also, route finding can be tricky. But, follow the directions on our hiking guide, and you will find your way. While the maximum scenery is taken in by hiking to all three passes, shorter hiking options are available by just hiking to one or two of the passes. Shorter hikes include Hasley Pass, Frigid Air Pass, West Maroon Pass, and the Hasley / Frigid Air combo.
Distance: 4.5 miles (Loop) or 10 miles (Traverse)
For this hike, there are two options: a loop or a traverse. Both routes can be steep at times. The loop is an intermediate hike with excellent rewards – one of the best short alpine hikes in the Crested Butte area. The traverse is a point-to-point and usually requires the use of two cars, unless you have other creative ways to get a car back. Both are amazingly beautiful.
Distance: 7 miles or less, depending on parking.
The distance for this hike is dependent on how far you can drive your car as the road becomes increasingly rough. 7 miles is about average for most decent-clearance vehicles. Higher clearance vehicles can park closer. The hike can also be shortened by only going to Green Lake (5 miles) or the saddle between Ruby Peak and Mount Owen (6 miles). The route begins with moderate steepness and increases in steepness as the summit is reached.
Distance: 7.5 miles
Undeniably, the views are similar to those seen on the summit of neighboring Ruby Peak. However, this climb is more “sporty”. If you like a little exposure, a little ridge hiking, and a little bit of scrambling, this hike is for you.
Yule Lakes / Treasure
Distance: 9.5 miles to Yule Lakes, 2-3 more miles to reach Treasury summit
The route to Yule Lakes has moderate steepness. The challenge is the route finding. While a trail leading in the right direction is easy to find at first, it eventually fades and becomes more difficult to find. Having a GPS and/or a map will be beneficial in ensuring you don’t miss the lakes!
This route can be lengthened by hiking to the summit of Treasure, which stands a little over 1500′ above the lakes. There is not exact trail to reach the summit. But, route finding is not too difficult if you are familiar with mountainous terrain.
Distance: 5.1 miles for north summit only, + 1 mile to reach south summit too
Gothic Mountain is a steep hike, and can be a bit exposed at times. Though the trail is unmarked, it is usually easy to follow. The northern summit is reached first. Adding on the south summit will add about another mile to your total trip.
Mount Crested Butte
Distance: From the top of Silver Queen Lift – 2.6 miles, From the ski area base- 11.6 miles, Take Silver Queen on direction (up or down) & hike to peak – 7.1 miles
Mount Crested Butte is best accessed by first riding the Silver Queen chairlift. Lift tickets can be purchased through the ski area. However, many people choose to hike from the base to the peak and back. Or, people often hike from the top of the Silver Queen to the summit, and then return to the base by foot. Whichever your preference, there’s a range of lengths to choose from!
Starting out fairly steep, the route gets even steeper as you ascend. The last few hundred feet are a sporty scramble using all-fours to get to the summit. But, the views are well worth it! You will find many people on this hike of varying ability levels. Many people bring their families and children to the top. But, keep in mind, some people may find the last bit of the climb too much for their comfort.
These scenic alpine hikes are great for late summer or early fall. Now, it’s time to get out and enjoy these most scenic alpine hikes in Crested Butte!
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