Crested Butte

A Summer Day in Town

Crested Butte is another charming mountain town that can keep you busy for a day or even a couple weeks. 

It’s also home to one of the highlights from my five weeks of quarantine adventures living in Montrose. Continue reading to find out what it is!


There is a good amount of free parking along Elk Street and its side streets. This is where most of the action is so park anywhere along here.

Cost: Free


Is there any meal better than brunch? Nope, definitely not. 

Brunch is the best way to start all your city adventures. For your morning in Crested Butte, I recommend Paradise Cafe which has been voted the best breakfast joint for the past 5 years.

There may be a fairly long wait (mine was 40 minutes) so be prepared to entertain yourself for a bit. If you’re a reader, this is a great time to pull up that e-book on your Kindle App.

The food is worth the wait! The almond milk latte and the #4 with a gluten-free pancake were excellent. You can also upgraded to real syrup. Yum!

Cost: $18 + tip

2022 Update: If you get to Paradise Cafe bright and early, they can also do gluten free French toast which I may have enjoyed even more than the GF pancake. They have gluten free bread but they use the same mix for everyone so you’ll need to be the first French toast order of the day if you’re strict on no gluten. So worth it!

Crested Butte Colorado - Places to Eat - Brunch - Coffee - Latte - Dairy Free - Eggs - Breakfast - Where to Eat - Restaurant - Paradise Cafe - Dani's Drive - Seek Adventure. Find Simplicity.
Almond milk latte in a cute little mug
Crested Butte Colorado - Places to Eat - Brunch - Gluten Free - Dairy Free - Eggs - Breakfast - Where to Eat - Restaurant - Paradise Cafe - Dani's Drive - Seek Adventure. Find Simplicity.
#4 with a GF pancake and real syrup


2022 Update: I tried a new coffee shop this trip—Rumors Coffee and Tea House and oh boy. They sure can make a great latte. I’d argue their latte was even better than the ones I’ve had from Camp 4 Coffee.

Elk Street

After brunch, speed up your digestion by taking a stroll down Elk Street and soaking in the ambiance. If shopping is your thing, there are so many stores along this road. Something is bound to catch your eye!

If you love delicious smells and natural products, you’ve got to check out Rooted Apothecary! This store is full of locally made, non-toxic goods. Highly recommend! 

I couldn’t resist the Jasmiñon Dram Scent Roller (I’ve been waiting for the right scent of one of these to walk into my life for over a year!) or this cute little Stay Rooted charm.

Cost: Free smells (+ $40 if you also pick up a roller and charm.) 

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Rooted Apothecary

Long Lake

When you’re no longer feeling the weight of brunch in your belly, drive up to Long Lake. It’s about 10 minutes from Elk Street.

Get your swimsuit on and make the short trek up to the lake. There are plenty of spots along the shoreline to set up camp and go for a dip. 

The water is fantastic! Refreshing, but not frigid.

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Long Lake, Crested Butte

If you’re looking for a little extra adventure, you can hike about another half mile around to the other side of the lake where there’s a rope swing. It’s so fun (type 1 for sure) and was a highlight of my time living in Montrose. 

I recommend tennis shoes if you’re going to do this. The trail around the other side of the lake slopes down towards the water so you’ll want shoes that are secured to your foot and have good tread. 

I also saw other people swim or paddle board across the lake. Definitely an option if you’re a strong swimmer and not carrying non-waterproof items.

When you arrive at the rope swing, you may find a group of other people there nervously contemplating whether they want to try it. If this happens, be brave! Go first! It’s so much fun. #nofear 💪

Wait for it

Humble brag: with the original audio, you can hear them in the background of the video “she just made that look easy” and “she’s a pro”. 😂 

Water shoes are not necessary for this.

I packed my Chacos in and wore them for the rope swing, not knowing if the bottom of the lake was rocky. My foot did gently tap the bottom but it was very soft. Just be careful and keep your knees bent!

If you’re looking for an even bigger dose of adventure, there’s a larger rope swing if you continue along the shore. 

I did not brave this one as it looked like it needed some instruction. 

There was a cable suspended between the top of two trees with a rope hanging down. Bike handle bars were tied into the rope and up the hill, a log was suspended between two trees. 

When I was leaving, I saw some people use it from across the lake. They climbed up onto the log, had someone bring them the handle bars, and then they jumped off directing their swing between the two trees. 

It was definitely a much higher fall into the water. Maybe I’ll try it next time!

Cost: Free and oh so fun!

Montanya Distillers

When you’ve had your fill of sunshine at Long Lake, make your way back to Elk Street for a stop at Montanya Distillers.

If you plan to just get a drink here—good luck! All the food looks delicious and you’ll have to suffer through them bringing out unbelievably enticing looking dishes to everyone around you. 

I tried to hold out and failed. I ended up ordering linner (it was 3:30 pm) and did not regret it. 

Hey, you probably worked up an appetite with all the rope swing fun—refuel earned!

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Montanya Distillers, Crested Butte

Their Seared Ahi Tuna Bowl is gluten-free and dairy-free and, dare I say, the best tuna bowl I’ve ever had. 

It was cool, crisp, and refreshing. The tuna was perfectly seared—the ideal balance of raw and cooked. It had all the flavors. Just look at those colors!

Their signature cocktail is the Maharaja, a unique blend of chai, lime, ginger, and cardamom. You won’t find a “martini” like this anywhere else. 

The Teocalli also caught my eye and probably would have paired well with the tuna bowl. I may have to go back for round two to confirm. 

If you try one, tag me and let me know how it is or drop a comment below!

Cost: $30 + tip

2022 Update: Montanya Distillers has moved down the street a couple doors and shortened their menu. Tragically the tuna bowl was cut. If you’re craving that poke bowl, I highly recommend the one offered at Bonez. Equally delicious!

Crested Butte Colorado - Where to Eat - Montanya Distillery - Drinks - Tuna Bowl - Fresh - Healthy - Restaurant - Cocktails
World's Best Tuna Bowl

Hope you enjoy your sunshine filled day in Crested Butte! 

Want to add a little adventure to your time in Crested Butte? How about a hike up Rustler’s Gulch!

If you’re looking for more to do around Crested Butte, check out Telluride, Handies Peak, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison—other posts from adventures in the area. 

What's your favorite thing to do in Crested Butte? Leave a comment below!

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