Colorado Fall Color 2013 Part III: Crested Butte (Oct 1-15)

On this, our third trip to Crested Butte, the area began to feel a bit like home away from home.

The fall color view of Mt Whetstone from our condo on October 2nd, just south of Crested Butte
[Click on any image to enlarge it.]

We returned to many of our favorite haunts and hikes, and tried a few new ones. Pizza at the Secret Stash is as good as always at their new location, but just to be sure, we ate there twice. The Crested Butte Film Festival was just over but we caught Dear Governor Cuomo during the After Fest at the Center for the Arts, Crested Butte. We shopped in "Gunny" and saw Gravity in 3D at the Ruby Cinema on the Western State Colorado University campus. We even have a dentist in town now.

We watched fall color come and go, and the mountain peaks were white with snow before we headed home. Here are a some pictures from some of our favorite places while we were on "CB time".

Mount Beckwith along Kebler Pass

Kebler Pass

In addition to the drive across this aspen loaded area as we arrived at CB, we did the Horse Ranch Park Loop hike. This was an excellent extension (5 miles total) to the HRP viewpoint hike we did in 2011.

Aspen grove along the road in Kebler Pass
Aspen color from viewpoint at Cliff Creek trailhead on Kebler Pass road
Late day light along Kebler Pass

Mt Beckwith from the Horse Ranch Park trail

Horse Ranch Park viewpoint

Susan along the trail

Ohio Pass

We had a very pleasant morning photo excursion at some great roadside viewpoints of aspens and the Castles.

iPhone panorama of the Ohio Pass viewpoint

A favorite view from the talus slope along Ohio Pass road

The "Castles" from Ohio Pass road

Our fun watching for pikas on the opposite hillside ended with Petey Pika meeting a real pika. He keeps asking to watch Pinocchio now.

Probably the closest a pika has ever approached us; he seemed curious

Petey Pika makes a new friend  :-)

Working our way through a cattle drive, we drove further down Ohio pass Road and hiked to Mill Creek. A huge bang for the buck in just 2.5 easy miles round trip. I look forward to birding here during spring migration.

Ohio Pass traffic jam

At the Mill-Castle trailhead

Very interesting rock formations similar to "the Castles"

Along the trail

Panoramic view of the Mill-Castle hike (click image to enlarge)

Washington Gulch

Mike did a hike called No Name Hike, or hike number 31 in our hiking guide, and came back beaming and anxious to share it with me. Steep but only 1 mile round trip, he had 360 degree views. 

Crested Butte, viewed from the No Name "summit"

Panorama from the No Name summit

Another view from the summit

On another day, we tried to go up together but were turned around by snow .4 of a mile before the trailhead at almost 11,000 feet. Still, it was a beautiful drive.

The road going up to Washington Gulch

Crested Butte Mountain

Some private trails in the community where we stayed offer convenient hiking through mostly Aspen forests and around Lake Grant. 

Lake Grant

Common Mergansers flying in to Lake Grant
Eared Grebes
Aspen reflections on Lake Grant

These trails connect with popular local hiking and mountain biking trails at the base of CB mountain, leading into town via Tony's Trail, or up to Mount Crested Butte via the Upper Trail, or further west via the Upper Upper Trail or Whetstone Trail. These lower elevation hikes are good for spring or late fall hiking, and we especially enjoyed the carpet of yellow leaves. I think we're going to want bicycles on our next visit.

Along the trail near Mt Crested Butte

We hiked up to Mount Crested Butte, then down on the paved bike trail which ended at a wetlands area, continuing together as far as Rainbow Park, a nicely maintained city park, for a total of about 6 miles. While not wilderness hiking, these walks are very pretty and provide interesting perspectives looking down at CB and surrounds.

Mountain bikers on the way down the trail to CB

Along the trail to Grant Lake

I headed west into town to window shop while Mike walked an additional 3 miles back home. He drove back into town a bit later and made a new friend at Townie Bookstore while waiting for me.

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