Hiking and summer mountain vibes in Crested Butte, Colorado

After a fun-packed start to our Colorado trip last weekend, Joe and I stayed in Crested Butte for one more week. This past week was more low-key as Joe was “working from the mountain” on weekdays, while I hiked on my own and relaxed during the day. After work, we fully took advantage of our free time and got outside. We literally hiked together every single evening last week, and on top of my solo day-hikes, I averaged 2-3 hikes per day. You can say I am 100% “hiked-out” for a long time. 🙂

The photos in this post might all look similar, and I think that captures the essence of our week here. It felt like we were living in Crested Butte and simply enjoying the mountain scenery every day. By the end, we definitely feel like we made the most of our time in Colorado. 

One evening, Joe’s cousin, Sally, invited us over for dinner at their family home in Crested Butte. I met Sally for the first time at the wedding last weekend, and we were excited to spend quality time with her, her husband (Sam), and their little one! We had such a nice time at dinner. Sally and Sam were so down to earth, and I was happy to discover how much we had in common – Sally is super well-traveled, and we just loved swapping stories. It was a huge highlight to get to know Joe’s family better during our trip.  

My favorite evening hike with Joe was Judd Falls. It was a 2-mile hike with some elevation gain, and the scenery was impeccable. Every few steps we looked up and saw sweeping views of the mountains. I also loved the diversity of this trail – we saw aspen trees, pine trees, chipmunks, and more! 

Judd Falls trail

Beautiful wildflowers on the trail. This will be a big theme as Joe and I spend a lot of time nerding out on the wildflowers. In our one week here, we could see rapid growth right before our eyes.

Wildflowers in Crested Butte, Colorado

The highlight of the trail was the actual Judd Waterfall. It was less of a waterfall and more like a heavy stream, but it felt nice to reach an actual destination.

Judd Falls, Crested Butte, Colorado

Another one of our favorite evening hikes was Meridian Lake (also called Long Lake). This was a short out-and-back, and the highlight was the lake. I’m a sucker for being near water, so the lake was a real treat. Also, since it was a weekday, we had the whole trail to ourselves. 🙂 

Meridian Lake, Crested Butte, Colorado

Wildflowers were lovely here too. 

Another favorite was the Woods Walk trail. It was an easy, approachable trail that felt more like a leisurely walk. The trail was down in the valley which was a nice change of scenery from the higher-altitude trails we had done. We loved this so much, we did this twice!  

Woods Walk Trail

There was also another trail in the valley called the Brush Creek trail, which I tackled on my own on a weekday. I loved this hike because it had the best wildflowers and it was also right next to the river which looked like a snake.

Brush creek trail Crested Butte, Colorado

After a week of hiking, we had the ultimate test on Saturday (our last full day in Crested Butte), when we decided to attempt Crested Butte Mountain. This was much anticipated as we were living on the mountain and stared at its peak every day. Joe suggested climbing on our first day while his sister was with us, but the lifts were closed due to snow. Finally, the lifts opened and we decided to tackle it on our last day. I’m SO glad we waited a week because there was no way we could have done this on our first day (I could hardly climb a flight of stairs without getting out of breath). Between having time to acclimate to the altitude and all the hiking/training we did all week, we were finally in shape to tackle the mountain. 

First, we took a ski lift up the mountain. The ski lift definitely did the heavy lifting for us as it brought us from 9,400 to 11,340 feet (2870 to 3460 meters). The views were heavenly along the way.

Queensland ski lift Crested Butte

We got off the ski lift and were ready to tackle the rest of the mountain. 

Hiking Crested Butte mountain

We tackled the trail steadily. The trail was ~800 feet of elevation gain to the peak, which at this altitude felt like double! We kept a close eye on our breathing. Not gonna lie, this trail whipped our butts at certain points, but I’m proud of how far we came compared to the start of the week. 

The weather was much cooler, and there was even snow at this altitude. 

Amazing views along the way. 

Views on Crested Butte mountain

The final portion was a rock scramble. It was fun but kind of scary, not gonna lie! I felt like I reached the limits of my Teva sandals. I usually swear by my hiking sandals, but next time I’ll definitely wear my hiking boots. 😉  

Rock scramble

We reached the top of Mount Crested Butte!! What an accomplishment. I felt on top of the world reaching an actual pointy peak of a mountain. This was definitely a highlight of our time in Crested Butte. 

Top of Crested Butte mountain peak

Other than all these hikes, our time in Crested Butte was spent simply living. We loved walking around, grabbing/cooking food, and enjoying the small-town vibes.

These past 10 days in Colorado were just wonderful – it was so refreshing to be in the mountains and see another side of American life. Joe and I agreed we dream of spending summers in a mountain town like this years down the road. But as much as Joe and I love the mountains, I’m excited to return to SF – back to our apartment, our cats, and our diverse community. I think the most challenging part of Colorado was being among such a homogenous small-town community.

I remember when I was in the Himalayas in India last month (my all time favorite spot in the world), locals would ask me “can you find mountains like this in America?” At that time, I had not, but now I can certainly say that we can! It’s comforting to know I don’t have to travel across the world to reach the scenery I so love.

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