Sunday, August 9, 2020

Camping available in Mt. Crested Butte’s backyard

Free in-town campground offers 26 tent sites

By Kendra Walker

If you drove up Washington Gulch, Slate River, Cement Creek, or any other valley drainage this past holiday week, you probably noticed the colorful dots of tents pitched as far as the eye can see. Town traffic signage might as well have included “Camping Full Everywhere” along with the parade and race alerts. Because of our heavy winter and wet spring, camping locations are still in the process of opening up, leaving fewer options for locals and visitors to share in the valley at the moment.

However, free camping is closer than you might realize. The only in-town campground in the Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte area is located at 1001 Gothic Road, next to the Mt. Crested Butte Town Hall on the North Village property on the way up to the Snodgrass Trailhead. With 26 free walk-in tent sites, it’s a hidden gem right under our noses and offers the experience of the great outdoors with Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s amenities just a hop and a skip away. And it’s an easy-to-locate option for those after-dark Front Range arrivals.

The Mt. Crested Butte Campground is open from June 6 to September 9, complete with a potable water station, parking area, porta-potty, trash and recycling. Keep your canine friends and wood bundles at home, however, as dogs and fires are not permitted. The campground also has a seven-day limit.   

According to Mt. Crested Butte town manager Joe Fitzpatrick, the campground experienced limited usage through June, with a few nights of one or two sites being used. “However, we did experience an increase and uptick for the 4th of July,” he said “…with a few nights of 11 camp sites used over the past few days.”

Vacancy awaits, happy campers.

For more information on other nearby camping options in the Gunnison National Forest, visit

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