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Family-friendly mountain adventures in Crested Butte


The town of Crested Butte is best known as the Wildflower Capital of Colorado. But the former coal-mining enclave nicknamed “the last great Colorado ski town” should also be known as the place where families can cultivate mountain-loving kids, says Zach Pickett, communications coordinator for Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR).

“It’s a smaller ski town that lends convenience in proximity, so it’s a lot easier for families once you get here,” he says.

Simply park your car, get all your gear and walk two minutes to the lifts with access to hiking, biking and more for all age and experience levels.

“There’s a lot of different resources in town for families who are looking to get their kids into mountain biking, hiking, or rock climbing,” Pickett says.

Here are some of the resort’s family-friendly summer activities geared toward raising mountain-loving kid:

Mountain Adventures at CBMR

Whether rafting, fly-fishing, swimming or biking, kids can select the activity of their choice at the resort’s summer day camp. During our visit, for instance, my two boys (ages 10 and 12) opted for a full day of rock-climbing at Hartman Rocks, a popular recreation area in Gunnison (roughly 45-minutes’ drive south). My husband and I spent the day hiking from the top of Red Lady chairlift to the summit of iconic Mt. Crested Butte, our first couples’ trek since becoming parents. Translation? All four of us got to do exactly what we wanted in this stunning mountain playground. (Long-term visitors may consider the Mountain Adventures program, the resort’s state-licensed childcare program, offering a variety of activities throughout Gunnison Valley.) For kids ages 7-14. Click here for more information.

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Evolution Bike Park

Featuring 29 trails traversing more than 30 miles of terrain, the Evolution Bike Park (opened in 2009) was created for riders of all skill levels, from the green-circle (beginner) Hotdogger trail to the aptly named, double-black-diamond (expert) Psycho Rocks. And just like beginning skiers benefit from ski lessons, so can beginning riders benefit from guides at the base’s Evolution Bike Shop. Choosing a full-day lesson with guide Gabe, my family of four had been mountain-bike riding before but never experienced a lesson. Starting by refreshing our memories that on technique that morning in a dirt parking lot, we ended the day mastering turns and obstacles on beginner and intermediate trails. Not up for biking? Enjoy a guided hike, including the Family Adventure Guided Hike (up to five people), primarily a downhill option that’s ideal for the littlest hikers.

Adventure Park

Take a break from biking or hiking while still enjoying mountain scenery at the resort’s base-area Adventure Park. Enjoy a game of mini-golf, try the rock-climbing wall or make the leap onto the Coke Zero Gravity BagJump. Or pay homage to the town’s mining history by prospecting for gems at the mining sluice, the Tin Cup Mining Company. Fun for the whole family, guests can purchase activities à la carteor via Adventure Ticket, which offers unlimited activities and chairlift rides.