Views and More!
While visiting Crested Butte, Colorado for a week this summer, I discovered Brush Creek Trail. I loved it so much that I hiked it on 5 different days! This trail is amazing in its wide open views, wildflowers and the feeling that you are far from town, when in fact you are not. I thought about trying other trails in the area, but why? This trail was everything and more!
Dog & Mountain Bike Friendly
Brush Creek Trail runs along the side of a mountain and meanders above a big open valley where the East River and Brush Creek converge. You can see for miles! The trail is an out and back relatively flat 4 mile dirt trail with very little elevation gain. It is dog friendly and has a few small streams for our furry friends to get a drink of water. Mountain bikes are also permitted. There is a big parking lot and a port-a-potty too.
Repeaters (Is that a word?)
With all this going for it, it’s no wonder the trail is popular with locals and tourists. While the views draw people back again and again, the summer wildflowers are just an added bonus. And the wide open valley surrounded by mountains is simply spectacular any time of day.
Beat the Heat
With that being said, I would suggest hiking earlier in the morning to avoid the hotter parts of the day during the summer months. There is little shade on the trail except for a few small groves of aspen, called quakies by some locals because of the shaking sound they make in the wind. As always, don’t forget a water bottle, sunscreen and bug spray. Although I didn’t encounter any insects, you never know. You don’t want to be swatting at bugs, when you should be taking in the endless views!
Take It All In or Cut It Short
If you are short on time or just want a shorter hike, follow the trail for about a mile to a nice overlook of the valley before the trail starts going downhill. Many people turn around there or stop for a water break and take in the views of the immense valley and the convergence of the river and creek below.
You will often spot people fly fishing in Brush Creek, right below the trail. For the more adventurous, it is possible to get down to the creek by following a side trail east about a half mile in until you get to a bridge over the irrigation canal.
Scenic & Easy
This trail is picturesque and fairly easy. I’m 51, not in the best shape and live in Southwest Florida, which is barely above sea level, and I didn’t have any problem. I always hike with trekking poles, which I purchased at REI last year. Trekking poles just give me more stability while hiking and people of all ages use them. I highly recommend getting a pair if you don’t have a set already. Click this link to see mine.
Brush Creek or Bust
If you are in the Crested Butte area and looking for a great hike, this one should be one of the first on your list. It gives you a nice 2 – 4 mile hike with extraordinary views of mountains and an endless open valley with Brush Creek directly below the trail. It is just a short drive south of town too. Why not give it a try and see for yourself. I bet you’ll want to hike it multiple days too!
Check out my video for an even better feel of the trail.
From Crested Butte – Take Highway 135 south for about 2 miles. Then head east on Brush Creek Road (County Road 738) for about 2½ miles and you will see the trailhead on the left.