28 miles N. of Gunnison, 224 miles SW of Denver

A delightful little gem of a town, Crested Butte is a year-round destination resort, with wonderful skiing in winter, and hiking, mountain biking, and other outdoor recreational activities in warmer weather. In fact, Crested Butte has the best mountain biking in the state, and boasts of having some of the most colorful displays of wildflowers you'll see anywhere.

The town of Crested Butte was born in 1880 as the Denver & Rio Grande line laid a narrow-gauge rail track from Gunnison to serve the gold and silver mines in the area. But it was coal, not the more precious minerals, which sustained the town from the late 1880s until 1952, when the last of the mines closed. The economy then languished until Mt. Crested Butte ski area was developed in 1961.

An influx of newcomers began renovating the old buildings in the 1970s, and in 1974 the entire town was designated a National Historic District -- one of the largest in Colorado. In 1976, local riders started bicycling off-road; they were integral in the birth of the sport of mountain biking. Crested Butte is quite different from many of Colorado's resorts in that it's not overdeveloped (at least, not yet) and its funky personality still outshines the Western chic.