7 Scenic Alpine Hikes in Crested Butte

(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

Snowmass viewed from near the top of Hasley Pass.
Distance: 10.5 miles. But, shorter options available, down to 6 miles.
Level: Intermediate (some route finding required)
Description: This hike is number one in my book. The scenery is top notch and the wildflowers, most years, are a spectacular extra. Hopping between three different passes provides three different magnificent scenic overlooks of the most beautiful mountains in the Elk Range.

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.

Untitled designRead the Trip Report


Scarp’s Ridge

Views from the Scarp’s Ridge high point.
Distance: 4.5 miles (Loop) or 10 miles (Traverse)
Level: Intermediate (Loop) to Advanced (Traverse)
Description: I always say that the words “Scarp’s Ridge” always conjure up visions of The Sound of Music. This long ridge can be an easy hike and a great way to experience the alpine terrain.

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.

Scarp’s Ridge Loop:
Untitled designRead the Trip Report
Scarp’s Ridge Traverse:
Untitled designRead the Trip Report

Ruby Peak

Mt. Owen and other mountains seen from the summit of Ruby Peak.
Distance: 7 miles or less, depending on parking.
Level: Intermediate
Description: Ruby Peak is a relatively easy peak hike that’s well worth the effort. Along the way, you’ll pass by the scenic Green Lake. Visitors to the summit will be rewarded with views that span miles and miles in all directions. The La Sal mountains and Grand Mesa are easily spotted, as well as the San Juans to the south, the Sawatch to the east the Elk Range to the north.

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.

Untitled designRead the Trip Report


Mount Owen

Layers of mountains can be viewed from the summit of Mt. Owen.
Distance: 7.5 miles
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Description: Mount Owen is the tallest peak in the Ruby Range and, despite the fact that it’s just barely over 13,000-ft tall, it stands out like a giant. This peak can be seen for to the east and west. Likewise, the summit views are outstanding.

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.

Untitled designRead the Trip Report


Yule Lakes / Treasure

Yule Lakes near Crested Butte
Yule Lakes hangs high above a valley, but below Treasure Mountain.
Distance: 9.5 miles to Yule Lakes, 2-3 more miles to reach Treasury summit
Level: Intermediate – some route finding required, Advanced if go to Treasure
Description: Yule Lakes is a very scenic spot and is a good place to stay for a multi-day trip. Because there is no official trail leading to the Yule Lakes, this spot is a bit off the beaten track.

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.

Untitled designRead the Trip Report


Gothic Mountain

View from the north summit of Gothic Mountain.
View from the north summit of Gothic Mountain.
Distance: 5.1 miles for north summit only, + 1 mile to reach south summit too
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Description: Gothic is among the most aesthetically appealing mountains in our area, and makes a great scenic hike too. Whether you choose to ascend only to the north summit, or also onto the south, your journey will reveal seemingly endless layers of mountains.

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.

Untitled designRead the Trip Report


Mount Crested Butte

Views from near the summit of 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
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Description: Mount Crested Butte has the best views of the valley and surrounding peaks. As an iconic peak it’s kind of a must-do when visiting Crested Butte.

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.

Untitled designRead the Trip Report


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!

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things,Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate 🙂 Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

Latest posts by Brittany Walker Konsella (see all)

Summary
7 Scenic Alpine Hikes in Crested Butte
Article Name
7 Scenic Alpine Hikes in Crested Butte
Description
Crested Butte is one of the most scenic places on Earth. Experience this beauty by hiking these 7 scenic alpine hikes in Crested Butte.
Author

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things, Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate :) Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

Got something to say? We love your comments!