I went to Crested Butte
Since I live, breathe, eat, and sleep weddings, it’s only logical that I would spend my family reunion weekend thinking “wow! this would make an amazing honeymoon location!” Especially since so many of my brides are adventure-loving, hike-happy, mountain-loving souls. So, here I am: a five-star recommendation of Crested Butte, Colorado honeymoon location (with a few photos of cute nieces thrown in for good measure. 😛
First reason to love Crested Butte as a honeymoon destination: it’s off the beaten path. Granted: I wasn’t initially thrilled with the inconvenience of almost five hours of driving after landing in Denver. But the drive? It’s beautiful. It’s majestic. It’s memorable. It’s glorious. It’s not just a drive: it’s an experience.
Recommendation: fly into Denver on Day 1 (there’s non-stop YVR –> DEN flights in abundance!) and then start driving on Day 2. Eliminates the need for a super early flight and ensures you have ample time to meander through the mountains. Because you will definitely want to stop along the way! Like when you hit the “fresh peaches” fruit stand in Fairplay, Colorado or when you stumble upon the best wood-fired pizza you’ve EVER EATEN. (Yup, that’s right: figure out where Kickin’ Ass Mountain Pizza is set up that day and do yourself a favour. Literally the best pizza. Not sure whether it was the fresh garlic, the full leafs of basil, or the wood-fired glory.)
And while you’re roadtripping? Make sure to stop at the top of Monarch Pass for a stretch-and-sightseeing break. Take the Gondola (it’s historic, so don’t expect Sea to Sky Gondola pizzaz) and gaze in awe at the number of 12,000+ mountains you can see from the top of the Continental Divide.
Second Reason to plan a Crested Butte honeymoon: rental homes galore. For an adventurous honeymoon like this one would be for you, securing an entire home is definitely beneficial — room for the mountain bikes to rest, the likelihood of a private hot tub for post-hike recovery, and (in our specific case) room for the kiddos to play in the backyard. We found this home via Peak Rental and they have a wide variety of sizes and locations. In our case, the photos did NOT do justice to the mountain stream, the massive yard, and the gorgeous log cabin.
Third reason to honeymoon in Crested Butte: fantastic food options. The entire downtown core (both of Crested Butte and Mount Crested Butte — two side-by-side towns nestled in the valley) have ample, quaint, and niche food options. While we only ate out once during our time in Crested Butte, I drooled every time I drove or walked past any number of restaurants. Our experience at The Last Steep was amazing and I can highly recommend all eight of the meals we ordered — and that’s not even half the options on the menu! 😉
Fourth reason to to love Crested Butte as a honeymoon destination: amazing coffee. I ordered my first (and definitely not last) nitro-brew cold press (did I use the lingo right?) at the adorable Gothic Science Cafe at the base of Mount Gotchic in the little historic village that is now the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. After a hike up to Judd Falls or a swim in Emerald Lake or a bike down the 401 Trail, this is the ideal stop (and amaaaazing coffee). But that’s not the only coffee option! Legend goes that my Dad first learned of Crested Butte through the First Ascent Coffee Roasters in Crested Butte and turns out there’s several fabulous slow coffee options in the ole C.B. (Also: if you’re not into coffee, you’ll definitely want to stop at T-bar Tea where the water is exactly the right temperature and the menu is limitless.
The Most Important Reason to Plan a Crested Butte honeymoon? The plethora of hikes. You’ll be limited only by time and strength and oxygen supply: the trails are abundant and the views are spectacular. I was still nursing a sprained foot during my time in Crested Butte so I only did two strolls: a 6km up 238m on the 401 and a 3.6km up 141m to Judd Falls Overlook. I had also scouted the Snodgrass Trail as the next possibility for my less-than-nimble foot.
Suggestion: if possible, upgrade your rental car so that you aren’t limited by your wheels. Several of the Forest Service Roads I drove down were completely accessible for any number of non-4×4 cars, but any extra power/clearance will be ideal.
Next time I go to Crested Butte? I’ll be hiking the 11 mile point-to-point trail that takes me to Aspen. But all the bucket list hikes listed here will be worthwhile. And in my ideal world I will also hike Gothic Mountain and to the summit of Crested Butte. Basically, I’ll have to do a lotta hiking and stay a lotta days to get through my bucket list.
The other reason I loved my Crested Butte experience? All my family. =D In one place. In the middle of the Wildflower Festival. With nieces who love to smell flowers.
And, for the tech geeks among us: most of these photos (except for the family groupings) were taken with my Pixel 2. I didn’t even take my beloved “adventure camera” Sony a6000 — just my “real” camera for family photos and my cell phone for adventure photos. Talk about an impressive camera!