Flower fans, have we got a destination for you: Crested Butte, Colorado. Every year, this scenic town explodes in a full-color array thanks to the numerous wildflower fields that can be found throughout. The display of vibrant hues is something that many people travel from far and wide to see, especially avid hikers who can't get enough of the gifts that springtime in Colorado brings with it.
While the Elk Mountains are stunning all year round, there's a special kind of magic that happens when the valleys blossom in anticipation of warmer temperatures and milder weather. Crested Butte has gained such a reputation for its incredible flora that it's been nicknamed the 'Wildflower Capital of Colorado.'
The Wildflowers Of Crested Butte And Beyond
Crested Butte is a scenic destination that's on many people's Colorado bucket lists thanks to its central mountain location. The landscape is undoubtedly dramatic and breathtaking, and its native wildflower species only serve to enhance the experience of visiting during the spring and summer months. Thanks to the region's fertile soil, these mountainous areas are practically a magnet for colorful plant life such as wildflowers. Since there's no rhyme or reason to how the flowers grow, each season brings with it and new and diverse landscape to explore.
It's estimated that these meadows are home to hundreds of flowers, and seeing them in person is like something out of a fairy tale.
When To See Colorado's Wildflowers
The best way to determine when the wildflowers in Crested Butte will bloom is to keep track of the average snowfall for the area. This has a significant bearing on how early or late the flowers will bloom; for example, 2022 is predicted to be an early blooming year due to less-than-average snowfall in the valleys. As a general rule of thumb, the flower fields located at higher elevations are usually home to a more diverse species of wildflowers and are usually home to more buds.
For those who want to see the wildflowers at their peak, it's best to time their trip during the middle of summer, preferably in July. This is also when visitors can attend the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival, which is the perfect way to appreciate the scenic beauty of these little blossoms.
Crested Butte Wildflower Festival
The Crested Butte Wildflower Festival takes place in 2022 from July 8th to the 17th and entails a number of wildflower-themed events for guests. Of these, visitors can expect things such as:
- Hikes and nature walks
- Wildflower-themed art workshops
- Photography classes
- Culinary and medicinal programs
- Garden tours
- Educational talks on birding and butterflies
Additionally, festival-goers can explore the Blosson Boutique, which offers a wide array of wildflower-themed gifts, souvenirs, and products. Those interested in learning more about the wildflower meadows can also pick up a free printed guide at the festival. Local artists also have artwork on display which, of course, features flower-saturated landscapes and all things nature.
Hiking And Photography In Crested Butte
Wildflower season brings out the best in those who enjoy creative outlets, such as photography. The meadows of Crested Butte are a haven for those looking to improve or practice their landscape skills with a stunning natural subject at the other end of the camera lens. Those who paint will also find inspiration in these meadows, as well, with a wide variety of flower species from which to draw ideas.
Hiking is another great way to appreciate Crested Butte's wildflower season, and there are plenty of trails from which to choose. Some of the most popular trails include:
- Lily Lake
- Rec Path
- Budd Trail
- Lupine Trail
- Crested Butte Mountain Resort
- Lower Loop
- Lake Irwin
- Brush Creek Trail
- Woods Walk
- Whetstone - Upper Loop
- Caves Trail
- Green Lake
- Walrod Gulch
- Oh Be Joyful
- Meridian Lake Trail
- Scarp Ridge
- Daisy Pass
Travel Crested Butte features a handy guide on the trails throughout Crested Butte along with their difficult ratings and directions to each.
When visiting Crested Butte for the wildflower fields, there is an etiquette to follow. Some of the unspoken rules when visiting the meadows are:
- At tempting as it might be, visitors should avoid picking, cutting, or trampling wildflowers, as it's illegal on public land.
- Hikers must stay on the designated trails at all times to avoid disturbing the plant life in the meadows surrounding them.
- All animals should be kept on a leash at all times while on the trails so as to avoid disturbing the fragile plant life.
- The protection of the native wildflower species is of the utmost importance, and visitors are encouraged to share the rules politely with others if they see someone who might not be aware.