Summer 2018 Blog: Post 2

The Crown Jewel of the Rockies

With colorful fields of wildflowers, jagged, imposing peaks, and hundreds of miles of trails, Crested Butte has become known for its exceptional natural beauty and its presence as a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts over the past decades. As more and more people flock to the area to enjoy all it has to offer, it may seem like there are few places to enjoy the solitude and peace that can only be found in the mountains. Luckily, Crested Butte offers some “hidden gem” locations that still offer an enjoyable getaway without the crowds.

At over 13,000’ in elevation, the Ruby Range looms several thousand feet above Lake Irwin and offers panoramic views of the surrounding Ragged Wilderness.  In addition to the views, the Ruby Range also sees a wide variety of high alpine blooms in the grassy fields that climb to the summits. Alpine Forget-Me-Nots, Rosy Paintbrush, and Blue Flax are just a few of the colorful flowers that make the strenuous hiking all the more worthwhile. The Ruby Range is a relatively quiet Crested Butte area, making it especially appealing to those looking to avoid the crowds while setting getting the chance to enjoy alpine blooms and unbeatable mountain views.

Across the valley and several thousand feet lower in elevation, Emerald Lake is several miles west of Gothic and is one of the most unique and beautiful lakes in the area. The water truly is emerald in color, and a donated canoe waits on the shore for any explorers interested in paddling. The surrounding cliffs and hillsides are also a lush green, and the vegetation found here is punctuated by a wide variety of colorful sub-alpine blooms including Blue Columbines, Scarlet Gilias, and Mule’s Ears Sunflowers. It’s hard to do the area justice through taking pictures, but the solitude and beauty of this area, in addition to the high volume of blooms is enough to create memories that last a lifetime.

During the busy summer months, it may seem like there’s nowhere to go to find the elusive peace that is harbored in the heart of the mountains. As the crowds continue to flock to well-known locations like Mt. Crested Butte and Washington Gulch, visitors shouldn’t be afraid to expand their wilderness horizons and explore areas that are located a bit further off the grid. Emerald Lake and the Ruby Range truly are hidden “gems” in this area and are sure to impress any visitors hoping to enjoy Crested Butte away from the crowds.


Written by: Katie Lyons, CBWF Customer Care Specialist