Known as the Wildflower Capital of Colorado, Crested Butte is a very special place in the summer months. While in Crested Butte, you will be engulfed by the vibrant colors of thousands of wildflowers from over 50 species that range from sunflowers, to lupine, to paintbrush, and of course, the state flower, the Columbine. There are numerous trails within the area that offer splendid vantage points. Each trail has a special time of the year when specific types of wildflowers blossom and bloom into a full spectrum of colors. Here are a few of the best hiking trails in Crested Butte where you can witness the incredible pastel colors that dot the landscape.

During late spring and early summer, the five-mile roundtrip Lupine Trail is loaded with corn lilies and lupines. For those seeking Indian paintbrush and larkspur, you should hike the 6.5-mile roundtrip Lower Loop Trail.

The landscape along the nine-mile Rustlers Gulch Trail is bright yellow with thousands of sunflowers during late June to mid July. The vibrant shades of yellow are highlighted with sneezeweed, scarlet gilia, and purples of larkspur. You will also be delighted with sightings of Columbine which stand proud amongst the other wildflowers when you hike the 4-mile roundtrip Columbine Trail.

wildflowers - Crested Butte - Sheila Sund - flickr
Wildflowers in Crested Butte. Photo credit: Sheila Sund (flickr)

Mid-July might be the best time to visit this area because of the annual Crested Butte Wildflower Festival. The festival takes place when the area is in full bloom. At the festival you can take a hike with a trained naturalist, participate in one of the many workshops, listen to concerts, and enjoy other family-friendly attractions.

For a nice hike through a drier area this time of year, try the 2.5-mile round-trip Strand Bonus Trail where you will view penstemon and a large variety of flax as well as different colored sage brushes.

From mid July to mid August, you can see the glorious colors of fireweed and asters. Sunflowers grow at higher altitudes on trails such as the 10-mile roundtrip Frigid Air Pass Trail or the six-mile Hasley Pass Loop Trail.

With the temperatures beginning to dip in mid to late August, you will be able to view wildflowers such as goldeneye, Indian paintbrush, and fleabanes. A great hiking option to see these wildflowers is the five-mile Schofield Pass Loop as well as the Brush Creek Trail which offers 4.5 miles of gorgeous sage brush country. You will be delighted with the variety of orange, yellow, and red hues radiating from the buckwheat.

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