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8 Things We Learned After Living in Crested Butte for 8 Months



We were lucky enough to spend the last 8 months in the beautiful mountain town of Crested Butte (CB) in western Colorado. From October to June (with a month-long break/road trip in April) we lived, worked and played in and around the town. After packing up all our stuff and planning our next adventure (hello South America), we finally got around to reflecting on our time. These are the eight things we learned after living in Crested Butte:




\\ Summer is better than winter…. at least for us

We are starting with possibly the most controversial idea on the list - the idea that summer in CB is better than winter. Now a quick disclaimer: we have always known that we were more summer people long before we moved out to Crested Butte. So the fact that we think summer is better than winter might not be the biggest surprise.


In truth, we loved the winter season in Crested Butte. The snow was beautiful, the skiing was amazing and the overall feeling of coziness in CB was great. Don’t get us wrong, we probably wouldn’t want to spend a chilly, snowy winter anywhere else. But in the end, the cold and the darkness really did a number on us.

So once summer started to roll around and the temperatures started to rise and the sun stayed out later, we just felt ourselves feeling much happier and more energized overall. And then the trails started to clear and become accessible and our happiness totally skyrocketed. Because at the end of the day, CB is one of the best spots in Colorado - and maybe in the western USA - for outdoor activities during the summer (see more below). So while the skiing was awesome (no argument there) and the snow was beautiful, it just didn't compare to the long evenings spent outside biking through aspen groves and wildflowers.

\\ The title “Wildflower Capital of Colorado” is legit

We had seen the signs and heard the stories, but it wasn’t until late May that we finally saw it with our own eyes: the incredibly colorful array of wildflowers all around the town of Crested Butte.

Honestly, in some instances it felt unreal - like a painting or a movie scene. Lush green fields interlaced with large fields of yellow, purple, red, pink and blue flowers. On many occasions, we would just have to stop mid-bike ride, run or hike and just marvel at the drop dead gorgeous scene. As one person put it, it was like your very own garden out on the mountain - just a rainbow array of colors and shapes.

Some of our favorite flowers were the bright purple lupines, the red shooting star flowers and the vibrant yellow sunflowers.

If you are looking to spot your own Garden of Eden out in CB we suggest adventuring on the Lupine Trail (mountain biking and hiking), Teddy’s Trail near Snodgrass and Deer Creek Trail near the town of Gothic.

\\ It is not as touristy as you might expect

Growing up in Colorado, we had heard all about Crested Butte so when we moved there we half expected it to be incredibly busy with tourists. And while we should put a disclaimer in that we were there during Covid, in truth, the town never felt like it was overrun with people. Even when Covid regulations were lifted and summer was in full swing the number of people, especially in the downtown area, was always very manageable.

This was also true on the more popular trails, for both hiking and mountain biking. Even on the 401 mountain bike trail, likely one of the most famous trails in the area, the number of people was not crazy at all. We did the trail on a beautiful Sunday morning and by the end, we had seen only five people on the trail (including near the end at the more popular Judd Falls trail).

So if you are worried about having to deal with loads of people out on the trails, we promise it won't be a problem. The amount of people was never insane, and even during the weekends you could still easily find a quiet spot to explore in the mountains.

\\ The access to trails is top-notch

In the same vein, the access to outdoor adventures in Crested Butte is truly top-notch. In fact, we might go as far as to say that CB has the best access to outdoor adventures as anywhere in Colorado.

From the middle of downtown CB, you can head out on singletrack hiking and mountain biking trails in all directions. Or you can hop on the recreation path and ride all the way up to the ski resort (and beyond) and find even more trails - including some of our favorites, Lupine and Snodgrass.

And in the winter, the amount of cross country ski trails - many of which are groomed and very well-maintained - is insane. Plus, you also have access to an amazing ski resort and backcountry ski areas.

Honestly, if you are looking for amazing outdoor adventures and you don't want to drive for hours to find them, Crested Butte is a great spot to base yourself. You could probably spend a whole summer in the town and still not ride every trail in the vicinity - there is just too much to explore!

\\ The town is very young and very active

One thing we learned right away is that CB is full of young, active people. We don’t know why this was so shocking to us but for some reason it was. But once we started to think about it, we realized it totally made sense. CB is an exciting, highly active area so of course it attracts people looking for that - just like us. Plus, the fact that there is not only a college nearby (Western Colorado University in the town of Gunnison) but also a ski resort, summer guiding services and a hip downtown/food scene, really draws a lot of people in.

It only took us a couple of weeks before we were meeting people that will likely be long-term friends. And that is mainly because a lot of those people have similar aspirations, goals and lifestyles as us: the love of adventure, the great outdoors, a more environmentally conscious disposition, etc.

If you have similar values and ideas and are looking for a spot to make lifelong friends, then spending a good amount of time in CB is a great idea.

\\ Happiness is more important than work.

It didn't take us long to realize that CB is all about happiness. For example, many of the people who live in the area arrived not because there was a high likelihood of making a ton of money. No, instead it was the ability to spend time outside in nature, and truly enjoy life to the fullest.

The work-life balance is really, really strong in CB. People don’t live to work, instead they 100% work to live. And man no matter the season the locals live it up. Skiing, mountain biking, hiking, trail running, SUP-ing. People here just love to be outside doing any and all activities year-round. And that feeling is totally pervasive. You aren’t expected to work 50+ hours, in fact, you would likely be in the minority if you did. Even when working on the mountain at the ski resort, one of the biggest incentives was to take ski breaks during your shift. Luke probably took lunchtime ski breaks 99% of his workdays. And that was totally okay - and even recommended.