Fun Outdoor Activities Kids in Crested Butte (Part 2 of 3)
Guest Blog by Lindsay Kopf
If you are a kid visiting Crested Butte with your family for a long period of time, you want to meet some people your own age and do kid things outside of the family agenda. I was a second-homeowner for 10 years and regret not meeting kids my own age while I was visiting. My cousin Kali was here for longer periods of time than I was, so she had more opportunity to meet people who lived in Crested Butte and other people who visited for a long time similar to her. When I moved to Crested Butte the summer before sophomore year in high school, I learned the places to go where I could meet other kids. Not only do I recommend meeting kids your own age while on your trip since having friends makes Crested Butte way more fun for you, but you also go to way cooler spots and do things such as cliff jumping that wouldn’t necessarily be an activity with your family. If you want to meet local and second-homeowner kids, you should get involved in the events, sports, or activities going on specific for your age group and go to the popular hangout spots.
Go on a Hike
Crested Butte is packed with some of the most scenic trails and hikes in Colorado that you do not want to miss! Trails can range from high and low difficulty levels as well as steep, flat and in-between.
Some of my personal favorite Crested Butte Hikes…
- Snodgrass Mountain Trail– Moderate on the difficulty scale, further up on the mountain, past the base area and by the Mountain Police Station. Relatively flat with an abundance of wildflowers and aspen trees. Also a popular trail to mountain bike.
- Scarps Ridge – My families favorite, located above Irwin Lake and roughly 3 hour hike depending on the pace. Moderately difficult hike that is uphill most of the way, but worth it for the view at the top. Once you reach the top there is a beautiful 360 view of mountains surrounding all sides of the ridge. Great spot for the perfect post-hike family photo!
- Judd Falls– Difficulty level easy. This trail is located out Gothic Road past Snodgrass. Only about a mile to the waterfall, very popular in the summertime.
- Upper Loop Trail – Moderate, 6 mile hike through brush creek road and skyland drive. Another popular spot for great wildflowers in June and July.
- Trail 401 – One of the most popular trails in Crested Butte, known for being a great mountain biking trail while also one of the most scenic. Difficulty level, moderate.
- Peanut Lake/Lower Loop Trail – Good “quick hike” located in town. Easy and flat hike around 2 to 3 miles.
- The Peak of Mount Crested Butte – This is a “must-do” for any tourists because of the
Go to Long Lake frequently
Long Lake is probably the most popular place to go on a sunny day for teenagers and up. To get there, drive up Washington Gulch road then there is a parking lot and trail head that you hike up for 10 minutes and you’re at Long Lake. Just a warning, this hike is pretty steep but not hard at all if you have a slight amount of endurance. Plus it’s short and very rewarding. I’ve hiked it up in flip flops and a beach towel in hand many times but I would recommend any kind of closed-toed shoes and backpack and you’ll be good. When you get to the top and you’re with your family I recommend going to the right since it will be more peaceful and familyesk. If it’s just you and a friend or sibling go to the left and you will see a little sandy area on the hill by a lone tree. This is the spot the young people go but if it’s taken there’s another similar spot a little farther left. The lake is a little cold but after 2 minutes your body numbs to the temperature and its all good. My favorite thing to do is to get a group of friends to swim across (obviously the shorter side) and go off the rope swing. There is a higher one and a lower one, unless you are super confident and comfortable being 10 feet in the air before hitting the water, I recommend the lower rope swing. My guy friends do the higher one and throw flips, but since I am not this extreme, I do the lower one. The lower rope swing is fun! Just be sure to go out as far as the rope takes you over the water before you let go. Otherwise you will land in shallow water and that will hurt. Going out as far as the rope takes you still drops you in slightly shallow water, but your butt only taps the bottom and you barely feel it. Also when getting out of the water on the side by the rope swing I recommend running out since there’s seaweed/grassy plants that are kind of gross and might have leaches. When getting into the water from the trail side, I also recommend running in since even though the bottom is sand, there are also leaches. As long as you run in you will be leach-free. Running in also makes the cold water feeling happen all at once and speeds up the body numbing process. Don’t be scared of Long Lake, it’s probably my favorite part of Crested Butte, and go there as much as I can. Part of the crested butte mentality and lifestyle is taking risks, expect this mentality and be prepared to take risks if you are going to be hanging around crested butte locals. Along with the rope swing, there is also a canoe that stays up at the lake. Sometimes you have to look around for it along the shore line, but going in the canoe and riding around is a lot of fun! In general just laying on a beach towel catching some rays, listening to music through portable speakers and socializing with friends, or just hanging out, Long Lake is the ideal summer spot.
Take the Mountain Express bus
Most people and families from Crested Butte either live in town or in CB South so you won’t see as many locals on the mountain bus. However, the summer my family moved to Crested Butte, I was 15 and my other sisters were 14 and 12 so none of us could drive. We live in a house about a 10 min walk above the base, but lucky for us, there was a great bus system in place. The buses allowed us to get back and forth from the base to town very easily since it comes every 15 minutes to any stop. Most people who live in Crested Butte actually live in town and in CB South but taking the bus around helps you to get a sense of where everything is and occasionally when kids from town want to go hot tub at the base, the mountain bus is the preferred method of transportation. I also liked taking the bus since it made me feel more independent, not having to always rely on my parents for rides and getting around.
Go to the Alien Shack
The Alien shack is this random little shack/hut up Peanut lake trail, its kind of creepy and a lot of people make up weird stories about how it originated but it always has a mattress and random books inside as if someone has/is living in it. Next to it is a mysterious, old mining structure everyone calls “The Gronk”. Theres a nice view of peanut lake as well but it’s not made for swimming so don’t jump in. There are also good running trails and hiking trails up Peanut road if you’re trying to get a workout in, most people just run along the dirt road to make it simple.
Go to Blue Mesa Reservoir
Blue Mesa is kind of far away, you have to go 10 minutes past Gunnison so about a 40 minute drive from Crested Butte but it’s worth it. Other than Long Lake, Blue Mesa is the closest thing to a beach close by and is much bigger. Different from Long Lake, It has white sand, it’s flat, and you can go cliff jumping. When I was a senior we camped nearby Blue Mesa for our senior trip then on our way back we all spent the day at Blue mesa. It’s much warmer in Gunnison so sunny days were hot and jumping in the water was necessary. We passed around a football and Frisbee and hungout in beach chairs, it’s very fun to go down there, I recommend going in big groups. If you have enough people, renting a boat is relatively cheap and also really fun to do as well.
Float the Slate River
During the summer a bunch of us would buy tubes at True Value (I think they are like $15-$30) and start floating down the Slate river from town under the bridge next to Rainbow Park. The best time to float the river is in June since the river is the highest during this time due to runoff. Make sure you have a water bag of some sort so you can have jackets, a towel, and someones cell phone to be able to call someone to pick you up in Riverbend when you get there. Floating down the river can take anywhere from 2-4 hours depending on where you get out but normally 4 hours to Riverbend. This may seem like a long time but it goes by quickly if you have a lot of people with you. If you’re 21, it’s also nice to bring a pack of beer for everyone to share while soaking up the rays. ALWAYS put on sunscreen though before floating down, almost every single time I’ve gone and forgotten about sunscreen I literally came out lobster color. Since CB is so high in elevation, you can be a victim of the sun real quick if you’re not careful.
Go to Devils Punch Bowl (Age 15+)
Going to Devils Punch Bowl is my favorite thing to do other than Long Lake. It is a 30 foot waterfall that is fun to jump off of into the calm, deep pool of water below. Cold but a very exhilarating experience that you wont regret. To get there, it is about a 1 hour drive up Gothic road. Take a car that is high off of the ground or is good mountain car for off-roading, such as a Jeep. You want to stop before the shallow river (a foot deep at most) intersecting the road and park there, then cross the river by foot, walk down the rocky trail for about 10 minutes, and to your right you’ll see the waterfall. In order to get to the top of the waterfall you have to walk along the somewhat narrow, flat rock to the right that leads to the top. There’s a specific triangular rock that juts out on the left (when you are standing there at the top) of the waterfall that is the best to jump off of. The natural pool of water that the waterfall feeds into is very deep so there is no need to worry about hidden rocks below that could be dangerous to hit. Jump as far out as you can or get a few steps in for a running start just in case. When you get to the top of the waterfall, it is best to not think just jump. Standing there and looking down will make you back out of jumping if you are somewhat afraid of heights like myself.
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