Mount Crested Butte

Crested Butte

A $20 chairlift ride and a quick 0.75-mile hike will get you to this epic mountain summit.

Hiking Severe

Distance
2.4 km
Ascent
247 m
Descent
249 m
Duration
0-1 hrs
Low Point
3.5 km
High Point
3.7 km
Gradient
19˚
VIEW ON MAP
Mount Crested Butte Map

Description

While you could theoretically hike all the way to the top of Mount Crested Butte from the bottom of the valley below, Crested Butte Mountain Resort makes the hike way more approachable thanks to the Silver Queen Express chairlift. For just $20 you can pay for a round-trip ride on the chairlift, which takes you high up the mountainside. From the top of the lift, it’s a mere 1.5-mile round trip hike to the top of Mount Crested Butte.

Despite the short distance, the climb to the top of the mountain isn’t easy. While most people of decent physical fitness will be able to complete the ascent, the final push to the summit is a scree field scramble, requiring the use of both feet and hands.

Some sections of the scramble can feel very exposed, with the steep mountainside falling away thousands of feet below you. Thankfully, a number of routes have been burned in up the scree field, and not all of the routes are quite as exposed.

With the exposure of the climb and the rocky pinnacle at the top of the mountain, incredible views are a given! Mount Crested Butte is surrounded by mountain ranges and beautiful valleys on all sides. Soak in views of the Maroon Bells, the Elk Range, and the town of Crested Butte itself as you slowly ascend to the rocky mountain summit. Once on top of the mountain, spend some time soaking in the splendor of this world that we live in. It’s surreal.

Thanks to the chairlift access, Mount Crested Butte makes a Colorado peak hike accessible to people that might not otherwise attempt it. This can be an amazing opportunity! However, this mountain should never be trifled with. Be sure to be back below treeline, which means back to the lift, by noon to avoid dangerous thunderstorms that crop up in the afternoon. And despite the short length, pack everything you’d need for a much longer hike, such as water, food, and rain gear. If you’re prepared and you plan accordingly, you’ll no doubt have an amazing time on top of Mount Crested Butte!

Difficulty

Severe

Hiking challenging trails where simple scrambling, with the occasional use of the hands, is a distinct possibility. The trails are often filled with all manner of obstacles both small and large, and the hills are very steep. Obstacles and challenges are often unexpected and can be unpredictable.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

July, August, September, October

Features

  • Alpine
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Wild flowers
  • Family friendly

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area