Gunnison County is the proud home to the largest number of acres of public lands of any county in the lower 48 states. Visit Judd Falls in Gothic, CO, discover the historic town of Irwin, CO, make your way to Aspen from Crested Butte in a day, or take a relaxing ride up the Silver Queen lift at CBMR and hike to the peak of Mt. Crested Butte.
Several hiking trails are just steps from the Elk Mountain Lodge. The Woods Walk, Lower Loop, and Budd Trail are 3 beginner to moderate trails that access spectacular views of Crested Butte Mountain and Paradise Divide.
The Woods Walk is a popular path between Kebler Pass and the Lower Loop. This trail is lined with aspens and lush with wildlife and wildflowers. Wildly popular, hikers, and bikers share the trail during the summer, while Nordic skiers and snowshoers enjoy the trail during the winter. It is a popular wedding venue due to its easy access and breathtaking setting.
Comprised of 193 acres, the Lower Loop Parcel provides a 5-mile hiking, biking and equestrian trail. Part of the trail is wide-track (pictured below) which makes it accessible to strollers or wheelchairs. Trails connect with the Woods Walk, and meander through public lands on its way to Oh-Be-Joyful Creek in the Raggeds Wilderness. The Slate River runs through the property, creating wetlands and wildlife habitat that is home to a diverse community of plants, mammals, birds and fish. The views of Paradise Divide and Crested Butte Mountain are unsurpassed. In winter months, the Crested Butte Nordic Council sets track for skiers and snowshoers.
The Budd Trail was donated by Russell and Dorothy Budd and Charlie McBride in 2009, and connects the Lower Loop Trail System. It begins at Peanut Mine, and will thrill cyclists, runners and hikers with a steep climb up the ridge to the west of the Lower Loop. Winding its way through aspen and spruce forests, the new singletrack trail offers spectacular views of the Slate River Valley below.
Further out, but still easily accessible from the Elk Mountain Lodge is the Lupine Trail. Built in 2011 by more than 100 volunteers, this singletrack trail offers unsurpassed views of the Slate River Valley and winds through wildflower speckled meadows and colorful aspens.
The Recreation Path (aka Rec Path) is a 10-foot wide paved path that connects the two towns of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte. The 3-mile long trail winds through hay meadows and wetlands along Washington Gulch. Bikers, walkers and runners enjoy the trail May through November, while Nordic Skiers use the trail during the winter months. Interpretive signs along the path provide information about the area and its history. Some folks like to ride the free shuttle bus up to the mountain and then walk the 3-mile Rec Path back down.
Other websites you may find helpful when planning your hike in the Crested Butte area: