On the way from Eleven Mile State Park to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, we stopped at Crested Butte. It’s not exactly on the way, but the cute, small ski town was worth the one-hour detour.
Crested Butte is about a half an hour drive north from Gunnison on Colorado 135. It is nestled in a valley along the Slate River surrounded by scenic mountain peaks. The only other way into town is on county road 12 from Paonia over Kebler Pass, but it is unpaved and closed in the winter. In the late 1800’s, Crested Butte supported the local coal and silver mines, but today it is known for its skiing and mountain biking trails. The town hosts a week long wildflower festival in July which was scheduled to start the following weekend. However, all of the in-person events had been cancelled due to COVID.
Elk Avenue, the main street in town, was made into a one way street. Restaurants and cafes had tables set up in the street. Most people were wearing masks and social distancing, which we were glad to see. We walked up and down Elk Avenue to get a closer look at the architectural details of the buildings lining the street. We stopped to enjoy some ice cream at Third Bowl Homemade Ice Cream, part of Tin Cup Pasty Co. Left Buddy (LB) was disappointed they did not have milkshakes. He had vanilla along with a scoop of honey lavender in a bowl. Right Buddy (RB) had her usual dark chocolate and mint chip, this time on a red velvet waffle cone. It was all very good, even though RB thought the mint could have been a little stronger in her opinion.
On highway 50 between Gunnison and Montrose was a large section of road work. They were applying chip seal. We had to wait about twenty to thirty minutes for our turn down the one lane section. When we got to our camp site at Black Canyon of the Gunnison, the retractable running board on our van would not stay retracted when we closed the door. It acted as if there was something in the way. We brushed off all of the stones that had accumulated on the running board and hinges, probably due to the chip seal, and it still would not stay retracted. It wasn’t until we wiped down the hinges with a paper towel before the running board started working properly again.
After we had reached Black Canyon, we received a Facebook message from a fellow member of the VanDOit Owners Facebook group who are residents of Crested Butte. They had seen our van as we drove down Elk Avenue in Crested Butte earlier that day. VanDOit is building them a van and they would love to see ours in person. Too bad we didn’t see that message earlier. Our plans for the rest of the summer had us driving through the area again, so we arranged to meet up with them in August.
Even though our destination for the day was Black Canyon, we thoroughly enjoyed our diversion to Crested Butte. It’s not all about getting to the destination. The journey you take to get there is just as important. What wonderful stops have you made along your journey?
Check out our related video: Crested Butte Colorado