Crested Butte: Distinctive Destination

At first glance, you can tell Crested Butte, in south-central Colorado, is not your typical glossy ski resort town.

The attention paid to retaining its mining-town character is evident – and exactly why Crested Butte was chosen as one of the Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2008 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Wildflower gardens and Victorian architecture present a striking picture even before you can take in the surrounding snowy peaks and lush valleys. Hiking is a favorite summer pastime here.

In winter, there’s stellar skiing and other snow sports, including a sledding and tubing hill that entertains families once the ski runs are shut down for the day.

The town has a nice array of restaurants, including Soupcon, a French-inspired eatery, as well as Chinese, Greek, Italian, Thai and various other ethnic cuisines.

Lodging, both in town and at the ski resort three miles up the hill, includes condos, motels and distinctive bed-and-breakfast inns, such as the posh Ruby Inn, where guests can rent bikes and tool around town instead of driving. Bicycles are everywhere and a favorite mode of local transportation.

“Crested Butte is a delightful hidden gem that offers a rare mix of beauty, history and adventure,” Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said upon the town’s selection as a distinctive destination. “Filled with endless recreational opportunities no matter the time of year, this authentic mountain town is arguably one of the most charming vacation destinations in the Rockies.”

Victorian architecture in downtown Crested Butte is evidence of the town’s mining history.

If You Go

For a complete list of the 108 Distinctive Destinations named since the program began, or for details on the above towns and cities, log on to

From the Editors: We spent a heap of time making sure this story was accurate when it was published, but of course, things can change. Please confirm the details before setting out in our great Centennial State.