Look to Crested Butte, CO for a perfect mountain weekend

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Crested Butte is reminiscent of a postcard. Andrea Watson | Clarion
Crested Butte is reminiscent of a postcard. Andrea Watson | Clarion

The question I always dread in small talk situations is “Where are you from?” I can never do that question justice unless I lay out my entire life story. I’ve moved a fair bit and become accustomed to making my own home wherever I live. From Maryland to San Diego to Denver to San Francisco, I have perfected the art of making roots in my current place of residence and I do this through traveling.

This probably seems like an obvious no brainer, but I do as much research as I can about the area surrounding my new home. Mapping out landmarks and attractions helps me get excited about whatever new place I’m moving to. Even if I never make it to all of the places, it’s a comfort to know what each area offers and the opportunities I have for adventure. So, as a rising senior, I am not sure where I will end up after graduation, and I desperately want to hit as many places on my mental list of Colorado as I can. I figured that I’d share them as potential summer plans for anyone else that is interested, because I’ve recently discovered how much I love helping people plan trips.

An incredible view of the country side in Crested Butte, CO. Andrea Watson | Clarion
An incredible view of the countryside in Crested Butte, CO. Andrea Watson | Clarion

Just to assure you that I am qualified, I planned a two-week solo trip through Iceland, Denmark, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland last summer, and I did not get kidnapped! Despite warnings from coworkers, landlords, relatives, and acquaintances, I made it through alive and had the time of my life. I have since pointed friends in the direction of my favorite destinations with a list of recommendations, and I’m now ready to do that for the Colorado trips I’ve taken.

Crested Butte

A week before finals started, I woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain. It was my appendix telling me that “it’s not you, it’s me,” and that it needed out stat after 22 years of life together. After a dreadfully dull two weeks spent in bed staring at my toes, my dad, brother, dog and I decided to go camping in the beautiful town of Crested Butte, Colorado. This town has now taken the coveted position as my favorite ski town, a title that Steamboat Springs, Colorado had held for four years. It looks like the set of an 1800’s western town was plopped in the middle of the Alps, and I kept expecting to see my girl Julie Andrews twirling around the meadow. It was like something off of a postcardyou need to go here.

Paradise for adventure lovers. Andrea Watson | Clarion
Paradise for adventure lovers. Andrea Watson | Clarion

The details:

A beautiful four hour drive. Stop in South Park for lunch, gas, and to say you’ve been there.

Accommodations: Cement Creek Campground 

(**Disclaimer: I am ashamed to admit this, but I slept in our family’s Airstream trailer instead of my beloved tent. I blame surgery for this; don’t judge me).

An ideal camping location. Andrea Watson | Clarion
An ideal camping location. Andrea Watson | Clarion

This is a stunning campground in Crested Butte South, nestled between a dirt road and a river. It is right across from a ton of paths perfect for mountain biking and hiking. It’s a 10 minute drive from the downtown area, but it is quite nice to be completely removed from civilization. The site is first come first serve, so try and arrive as early as possible to get a riverside site. They have fire pits with a grill top, so you can easily use them to cook. See link for directions, prices, and additional information.

First Ascent Coffee and Mountain Oven Bakery is a must during your visit to the small ski town. Andrea Watson | Clarion
First Ascent Coffee and Mountain Oven Bakery is a must during your visit to the small ski town. Andrea Watson | Clarion

What to eat: At the site, bring your own food. There is a grocery store, but it is more expensive and limited. In town, check out Mountain Oven for coffee, breakfast, or lunch. I highly recommend the challah French toast.

Recommended activities: Hiking, biking, fishing, horseback riding, long walks along the mountains. There are great trails that start in town, as well as a series of trails by the recommended campsite.

Dog Friendly: Yup.

Your dog will thank you for letting it explore the mountains of Crested Butte. Andrea Watson | Clarion
Your dog will thank you for letting it explore the mountains of Crested Butte. Andrea Watson | Clarion

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