How to Get to Crested Butte from Denver

Crested Butte, a charming mountain town in Colorado, is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. This guide provides detailed directions and tips to help you get to Crested Butte from Denver, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable journey.

Why Visit Crested Butte?

1. Outdoor Activities

Crested Butte offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and wildflower viewing.

2. Scenic Beauty

The town is known for its stunning landscapes, picturesque mountains, and vibrant wildflowers, making it a photographer’s paradise.

3. Relaxed Atmosphere

Enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of Crested Butte, with its charming downtown area, unique shops, and cozy restaurants.

Travel Options from Denver to Crested Butte

1. By Car

Driving from Denver to Crested Butte is the most flexible option, allowing you to enjoy the scenic views along the way.

  • Route Overview:
    • Distance: Approximately 230 miles
    • Drive Time: Around 4 to 5 hours, depending on traffic and weather conditions
  • Suggested Route:
    • Take I-70 W from Denver.
    • Exit onto US-285 S towards Fairplay.
    • Continue on US-285 S to US-50 W towards Gunnison.
    • From Gunnison, take CO-135 N to Crested Butte.
  • Tips for Driving:
    • Check road conditions before you leave, especially in winter.
    • Make sure your vehicle is equipped for mountain driving.
    • Plan for stops along the way to enjoy the scenic views and take breaks.

2. By Bus

Taking a bus is a convenient option if you prefer not to drive. There are several bus services that connect Denver to Crested Butte.

  • Bus Services:
    • Bustang: Provides service from Denver to Gunnison.
    • Gunnison Valley RTA: Offers free bus service from Gunnison to Crested Butte.
  • Tips for Bus Travel:
    • Check the schedules and book your tickets in advance.
    • Arrive early at the bus station to secure a good seat.
    • Pack snacks and water for the journey.

3. By Plane

Flying is the fastest option to get to Crested Butte from Denver. You can fly from Denver International Airport (DEN) to Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (GUC).

  • Flight Details:
    • Duration: About 1 hour
    • Airlines: United Airlines operates flights between Denver and Gunnison.
  • Ground Transportation:
    • From Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport, you can take a shuttle or rent a car to reach Crested Butte.
  • Tips for Flying:
    • Book your flight in advance to get the best rates.
    • Arrange ground transportation from the airport to Crested Butte beforehand.
    • Check baggage policies and pack accordingly.

Accommodation in Crested Butte

1. Hotels and Lodges

Crested Butte offers a variety of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to cozy lodges.

  • Popular Options:
    • The Elevation Hotel & Spa
    • Nordic Inn
    • Grand Lodge Crested Butte

2. Vacation Rentals

Consider renting a cabin or vacation home for a more personalized experience.

  • Popular Platforms:
    • Airbnb
    • VRBO

3. Camping

For outdoor enthusiasts, camping is a great way to enjoy Crested Butteā€™s natural beauty.

  • Popular Campgrounds:
    • Crested Butte RV Resort
    • Lake Irwin Campground

Activities in Crested Butte

1. Winter Sports

Crested Butte is known for its excellent skiing and snowboarding opportunities.

  • Ski Resorts:
    • Crested Butte Mountain Resort

2. Hiking and Biking

In the warmer months, explore the numerous hiking and biking trails.

  • Popular Trails:
    • Snodgrass Mountain Trail
    • Lower Loop Trail

3. Festivals and Events

Crested Butte hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, celebrating music, arts, and culture.

  • Popular Events:
    • Crested Butte Wildflower Festival
    • Crested Butte Music Festival

Common Questions About Traveling to Crested Butte

What is the best time to visit Crested Butte?

The best time to visit depends on your interests. Winter is ideal for skiing, while summer is perfect for hiking, biking, and enjoying the wildflowers.

Is it safe to drive to Crested Butte in winter?

Winter driving can be challenging due to snow and ice. Ensure your vehicle is equipped for winter conditions and check road conditions before you travel.

Are there any shuttle services from Denver to Crested Butte?

Currently, there are no direct shuttle services from Denver to Crested Butte. However, you can take a bus to Gunnison and then a shuttle to Crested Butte.


Getting to Crested Butte from Denver is an adventure in itself, offering various travel options to suit different preferences and needs. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can plan a smooth and enjoyable trip to this beautiful mountain town.

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