This past weekend Chris and I headed up to Crested Butte, Colorado for a little getaway. This town is a well-know winter ski-snowboard town, but with the lack of snow at the moment, we decided to check it out in the summer. And wow! We were impressed with all the summer activities available. Here is a little recap of how we spent our weekend:
Black Canyon of the Gunnison: Our first stop on our way to Crested Butte was the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. This is a lesser-known National Park tucked away in Western Colorado. The super steep gorge was carved by the Gunnison River for millions of years and created a canyon that is an amazing sight to see. We drove the South Rim Road jumping out of our car to check out the overlooks and take pictures. Since this park isn’t quite as popular as some of the other larger national parks, there were no crowds, no lines, and we always found a parking spot right away. Win!
Emerald Lake: This was our next stop on our way into Crested Butte. To get to Emerald Lake you have to drive through Crested Butte and then take Gothic Road. Gothic Road is not paved and can be rocky so I’d recommend a 4×4 vehicle with high clearance. Gothic Road goes through the old mining town of Gothic which is now the location for the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. More on that later. Drive as far as you can on Gothic Road and then park in the parking lot on the right side of the road. You will see a sign that says the road is closed due to avalance and snow. Walk about half a mile on that road and you will arrive at Emerald Lake. The lake was totally peaceful and surrounded by wildflowers. Gorgeous!
A quick note on wildflowers… Crested Butte is well known for having an abundance of wildflowers in the summertime. They even have a wildflower festival every July. Maybe we can check that out next year. Crested Butte Wildflower Festival
Django’s: After a long day of driving and hiking we were ready for some food! We got two seats at the bar at Django’s and started ordering off their small plate menu. Everything was so delicious! A highlight was their Cherry Balsamic-Braised Short Ribs. If you go, you must order these! *Side note* The Crested Butte Arts Festival was going on in the center of town on Elk Street. It was fun to check out some local artists and hear the live music.
Third Bowl Ice Cream: After dinner we were in the mood for dessert so we stopped at Third Bowl Ice Cream. It closed at 9:30 pm and we made it just in time at 9:15 pm, but the line was out the door. Shows how popular this place is! Chris had the Blueberry Cobbler topped with Apricot and I had Lime Corn Cookie– sounds weird, but it tasted like Key Lime Pie. So good!
Judd Falls: On Sunday we did the short 2.2 mile hike to Judd Falls. Remember I mentioned the old mining town of Gothic? Well this mining town was very popular for about 20 years in the 1800s when silver was discovered there. Miners flocked to Gothic, but quickly fled when the silver was scarce. Garwood Judd was one man who stayed in Gothic even after all the miners left town and it became a ghost town. Judd Falls was named for “the man who stayed.” This hike was easy and totally suitable for families and dogs and the falls were awesome.
Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory: The town of Gothic was visited by Professor Dr. John Johnson in 1919 and he decided it would be the perfect place to bring students to study the diverse ecosystems in the Gothic valley. The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory was founded as a center for scientific research and since then hundred of scientists have come to live and study. We went in the visitors center and the old town hall, which is now a coffee shop.
We had a great time visiting Crested Butte in the summertime, hope you can visit soon!
Have you been to Crested Butte? Or Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park?