Gunnison Area Hiking Trails,
Including Crested Butte

These Gunnison area hiking trails in both the Gunnison and Crested Butte areas include waterfall hikes, wildflower hikes, and anything else that I think you might like. Crested Butte has been designated as the "wildflower" capital of Colorado and they have a wildflower festival each summer to celebrate the abundant wildflowers in their area.

Update on the Crested Butte wildflowers: my husband and I just came back from Crested Butte yesterday, July 23, 2019 and the wildflowers in the lower areas were still very beautiful. We hiked the Brush Creek trail, and the meadows and mountainsides along the sides of the trail were blanketed with huge numbers of yellow and purple flowers. Also, the person in the visitor center told us that the flowers in the higher areas were not at peak bloom yet, so that should be happening soon :-).

Anyway, if you're ready for a hike, let's get to it. I'll start you off with the following Gunnison area hiking trail.

Gunnison Hiking Trails

Dillon Pinnacles, Colorado

Dillon Pinnacles
One-way distance: 2 miles
Difficulty level: easy to moderate
Approximate one-way hiking time: 1 hour;
Dog friendly: yes, but must be leashed;
Entrance fee: no
Restroom facilities: yes
Elevation: 7,400 feet at the trailhead;

Directions to Dillon Pinnacles trailhead: from Gunnison, follow Hwy. 50 west towards the Blue Mesa Reservoir. Keep an eye out for the Elk Creek Visitor Center on the left side of the road. When you see it, continue driving west for 6 more miles to the trailhead which is on the right side of the road, just before the bridge across the Blue Mesa Reservoir.

This Gunnison area hiking trail takes you to an overlook of the Blue Mesa Reservoir, which is your turn-around point. And of course, you’ll have plenty of views of the Dillon Pinnacles along the way. The first part of the trail is easy and parallels the Blue Mesa Reservoir. The trail is also very dry and open, (with lots of sagebrush all around you), so bring plenty of water.

The next part of this Gunnison area hiking trail gets steeper for a little while before getting less steep for the rest of the hike. There are several benches along the way if you want to rest, as well as a few interpretive signs. And watch out for the cactus along parts of the trail if you brought your furry friend.

As you make your way up this Gunnison area hiking trail, you’ll be getting closer to the Dillon Pinnacles. In addition to that, you’ll notice that the area around you gets greener, and not so dry. You’ll see conifer trees, as well as other types of green vegetation. And before you know it, you’ll be at the overlook of the Blue Mesa Reservoir. Enjoy…

Crested Butte Hiking Trails

Judd Falls, Colorado

Judd Falls
Round-trip distance: 2.0 miles
Difficulty level: easy to moderate
Approximate one-way hiking time: 35 minutes;
Dog friendly: yes
Entrance fee: no
Restroom facilities: no

Directions to Judd Falls trailhead from Gunnison: follow Hwy. 135 north to Crested Butte. (It's about a 1/2 hour drive.) In Crested Butte, continue north to Mount Crested Butte which is the ski area. The road becomes Gothic Rd. Follow the road to the town of Gothic which is about 3 miles away. Beyond Gothic, it's about 0.3 mile to the trailhead. You'll see the sign for Judd Falls and the trailhead on your right.

There is room for about 15 cars at the lower parking lot and maybe another 10 or so, at the upper parking lot. We saw five deer near Gothic road as well as two foxes on the side of the road in the town of Gothic, so do be aware of the wildlife.

Gothic Mountain, Colorado

Anyway, the first part of this Gunnnison area hiking trail goes along a dirt road to the upper parking lot. From the upper parking lot, you follow another dirt road which then becomes a regular hiking trail. There are lots of aspen trees along the way, (remember that for fall color hiking), and there are a few open areas with views all around you, including views of Gothic Mountain.

At one point, the trail starts going down, and in a short time, you'll reach the overlook to Judd Falls. The overlook is on the edge of a cliff and there is no barrier to keep you safe, so do be careful. Near the edge of the cliff is a bench where you can sit and safely enjoy the scenery. Have fun!

If you'd rather go see a Colorado waterfall that's safer to go see, (and includes a lot of wildflowers along the way), you could go see the one in Robinson Basin. It's about a 45 minute hike to the waterfall, and there are wonderful mountain vistas all around you. It's the 4th waterfall down, on the above page.

Beckwith Pass, Colorado

Beckwith Pass
Round-trip distance: 5.0 miles
Difficulty level: moderate
Approximate one-way hiking time: one hour and 45 minutes
Dog friendly: yes
Entrance fee: no
Restroom facilities: no, but I did notice one on the left side of the road, (as you're going up), towards the beginning of Kebler Pass road.

Directions to Beckwith Pass trailhead from Gunnison: follow Hwy. 135 north to Crested Butte. In Crested Butte, turn left on Whiterock ave. which becomes Kebler Pass road, (and County Road 12.) Continue on Kebler Pass for about 12 miles. Just beyond milepost 20, turn left into the Cliff Creek trailhead. (This is also the trailhead for Beckwith Pass.)

There is room for only about 6 cars here. But there is a dirt road that makes a short loop back to the parking area and you can park along that road too. I saw a deer near the road on the way to this Gunnison area hiking trail, as well as lots of deer tracks on the trail to Beckwith Pass. Then, someone who was camping nearby told us that a deer and an elk came through his camping area, so be watching for wildlife.

Silvery Lupine flowers

This Gunnison area hiking trail tended to be buggy so this is one where the bug spray would come in handy. Other than that, it was a great hike. The trail starts out through an aspen forest so, (again), it would make a very nice fall color hike. During the summer though, it's great for wildflowers and you'll find many different varieties along the trail.

Speaking of the wildflowers along this Gunnison area hiking trail, many of them are found in open areas without much shade, so the sunscreen is a good idea too. The open areas let you see the mountains all around you but you will also pass through some forested areas that will provide shade. There are a couple of creeks to cross too but they are fairly shallow and easy to get across on rocks.

Eventually, we started wondering where the end of the trail was since we hadn't seen a sign for a while. But we kept following the trail until finally, we came to the sign that said Beckwith Pass. This is one Gunnison area hiking trail that I would definitely do again.

Dark Canyon hike

Dark Canyon Trail
The Dark Canyon trail is an easy to moderate hike which takes you through an aspen forest for most of it's route. So for that reason, I've added it to my Colorado Fall hikes page. If you'd like to hike this trail, it's the 5th hike down on that page. And as you see in the picture on your right, this Gunnison area hiking trail features a fairly large beaver lodge too. Have fun. :-)

Return from Gunnison area hiking to main Gunnison page. 

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