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Colorado Road Trip – Ouray to Crested Butte (Part 3)

New to Colorado Road Trip Week?  

Why not check out – Part 1: Denver to Glenwood Springs

Then read – Part 2: Glenwood Springs to Ouray

Part 3 Ouray to Crested Butte (2hrs 30 min drive)

After a fun filled few days in Ouray, it was time to drive East towards Crested Butte, a beautiful ski town in Gunnison County.  It’s strange to see all these Colorado ski towns gearing themselves up for the summer season.  In many ways, the summer activities from rafting to mountain biking are so fun, I can’t imagine seeing these towns covered in snow!

We broke up the drive with a detour to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.  The canyon is breathtaking (yes I’m using that adjective for everything in Colorado) with it being the 5th steepest mountain descent in North America.  The Scenic Drive is a great way to see it with young kids following a 7 mile circular route with 12 overlooks (hang on to your kids).

Black Canyon Gunnison

The captivating mountain town of Crested Butte was also a slight detour from our route back to Denver.  However, I’m so pleased we decided to spend the night there as it turned out to be one of my favourite spots in Colorado.

Crested Butte

Where we stayed

Crested Butte is made up of two main areas; the historic downtown and then a further collection of shops, hotels and restaurants at the very base of the mountain.  The Elevation Hotel & Spa is a classy joint located in the latter, a short walk to the ski lifts.  We had a beautiful room with a balcony overlooking the mountains.  There is also a small kitchenette and plenty of room for a travel cot and sofa bed. The hotel has lots of facilities including an indoor pool.

What we did

  • We were lucky to be in town for a free summer evening concert.  Willie Nelson’s son took the stage and played to the crowds with the beautiful mountains as his backdrop.  It’s always worth checking what’s on in advance as this night was one of the highlights of our trip.
    Crested Butte concert
  • The Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum is a fascinating little place.  Highlights for kids include an intricate model town and railroad and a Children’s Exhibit with crafts and dressing up!
    Dressing up in Crested Butte
  • The Trailhead Children’s Museum is small but contains the standard kid pleasers from pretend supermarket to a pirate ship.
  • The Winter Adventure Park has lots of fun summer activities from a climbing wall to mini golf.  My 4 year old daredevil also enjoyed the BagJump – a huge inflatable that you jump on to from an elevated platform (it gave me vertigo)

Where we ate

  • A breakfast of champions at Izzys. Set in a beautiful location next to a stream, the potato latke with eggs, cheese and bacon is to die for.  Order with a side of french toast and chocolate pancakes and the family will be in heaven.
    Breakfast latke
  • Like fried chicken?  You will LOVE The Slogar.  Dinner is a set menu of either fried chicken or steak. Served with awesome all american sides from biscuits to mashed potato.
    Daisy at the Slogar
  • Al fresco with a view of the mountains at the Elevation Hotel’s 9380 Prime Restaurant.  The nachos are almost as big as the mountain.
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