For as long as we have been coming to Crested Butte (5 years), we have never made it to the summit of Crested Butte. Friends of ours were in town this time and suggested hiking the summit of Crested Butte (Elevation of 12,162′). So we looked into it and found that you can hike from the base of the Silver Queen lift (4.3 miles) or surpass it by taking the Silver Queen Lift up and then hiking 0.9 miles to the summit. We decided on the scenic view of the lift, which I’d recommend. It was incredible getting the chance to see the town of Crested Butte as we climbed the mountain, not to mention it was convenient cutting off 4.3 miles of hiking!
The lift ticket costs $21 per adult and gives you a lift up and back. However you also have the option of taking the lift up and then taking the service road down to the Red Lady Express lift and riding that down to the base. Be aware the Silver Queen stops running at 2pm. Make sure you get an early start on the hike, otherwise you will be hiking down Mt. Crested Butte via the service road.
The hike, via the Silver Queen lift, is fairly steep with man made steps to help you. After passing the picnic area (0.35 miles) you climb to an overlook option. Don’t forget to stop and look around as the views are spectacular! Also you may see marmots and squirrels running around asking for food.
NOTE: PLEASE DON’T FEET THE ANIMALS. Nor go exploring off the trail. Signs are posted everywhere reminding you this, but it is vital to maintain the habitat for the delicate ecosystem up there.
The next section (0.4 miles) is a little more difficult as you are basically climbing over rocks as you ascend to the top of the summit. I personally feel this is the easy part, however I have been blessed with long legs which makes climbing a lot easier. The trail isn’t as obvious when climbing over the rocks, however there are a few hiking signs to try and keep you on the correct path. At the top, be very careful as two days before we did the summit, a lady lost her footing on some of the rocks and fell to her death. So be smart. The top will give you a 360 degree view of Gothic, Slate Road, Crested Butte, and South Crested Butte. Enjoy!