North of Gunnison, the Crested Butte Nordic Center grooms 50km of cross country skiing trails for classical and skate skiing looping across private and public lands. There are awesome vistas of the surrounding mountains. The surrounding ranges in the Gunnison National Forest provide 100km of backcountry opportunities in every direction.
There are three main trail systems: Bench, Red Lady and East Trails. The Bench Trail system is a 9km network located at the Nordic Center with an easy loop and some steep intermediate terrain. The Red Lady Trail system is just northwest of town near Peanut Lake and has a 14km network of cross country skiing trails through intermediate terrain. The East Trail system is the newest and is a 18km network just east of town on mainly beginner terrain under the shadow of Mount Crested Butte.
The CB Nordic Center is located at the south end of Second Street at Whiterock Avenue. The center and trails are maintained by the non-profit CB Nordic Council. The Council also sponsors several events, including the Thanksgiving Nordic Camp, the Nordic Ski Festival with the infamous Alley Loop Race, and helps with the Elk Mountain Grand Traverse over to Aspen.
Looking for adventure? Try scheduling a self-directed overnight backcountry trek to the rustic, yet cozy, Forest Queen Hut in Gothic, which is about a 3 mile one-way route. Contact the CB Nordic Center for more info.
Overall, Crested Butte Nordic Center is the 1st most popular cross country ski area of all 51 Nordic ski destinations in Colorado. Several of the better cross country ski trails are nearby Crested Butte Nordic Center including Elk Mountain Grand Traverse, Slate River / Oh-Be-Joyful, Brush Creek, Cement Creek, Kebler Pass System and Lily Lake Nordic Trail System.
Local Contacts: Crested Butte Nordic Center (970) 349-1707; Crested Butte Visitors (800) 545-4505; Crested Butte Avalanche Center (970) 349-4022.
Best Season: Dec. - Mar.
Average Difficulty: Moderate
Base Camp: Pioneer Cabins (970) 349-5517; Old Town Inn, Crested Butte
Luxury Loding: Scarp Ridge Lodge, Crested Butte (866) 479-4677; Elk Mountain Lodge, Crested Butte (970) 349-7533
Breakfast Restaurant: Izzys Cafe
GPS: 38.867279, -106.98717
Date Published: 1/5/2016
Date Updated: 1/7/2018
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