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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Nature & Landscapes Talk 
Thread started 23 Apr 2015 (Thursday) 20:59
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Heading to Crested Butte in July, where to go

 
dkasuba
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Apr 23, 2015 20:59 |  #1

I am heading to Crested Butte in early July, this will be my first time there. Looking for suggestions on where to go for wild flowers. I do not have a 4 wheel drive.
Thanks in advance




  
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patrick ­ j
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Apr 24, 2015 08:02 |  #2

I'm tempted to say anywhere, but that's probably not helpful. I think the road to Gothic is probably the prime spot, I've seen cars pretty far along on that road. Not sure you will quite make it up to the pass, but higher up becomes more trees anyway. Kebler Pass will have some spots alongside of the road with lupines, plus it's a pretty nice drive. The road up above Lake Irwin is also supposed to be good, but I have not yet hit that spot. I hiked the lower part of the Oh Be Joyful trail last summer and only found flowers in one spot. Nice walk though. Had to drive my SUV through a stream to get to trailhead. There is also a road just before you get to the town, circles to the right around the mountain, that has a nice flower covered hillside, take bug spray. I forget the name of the road, but fairly obvious, and you could probably figure it out from google maps.


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smmokan
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Apr 27, 2015 14:04 |  #3

I've been to CB several times in the summer, and the top two spots/hikes I like for wildflowers are Rustler Gulch and West Maroon Pass. You can get to both spots fairly easily in a standard 2wd passenger car with the drive over Schofield Pass to West Maroon being a little more difficult. They haven't received a ton of snow this year, so that should bode well for better road conditions. The Rustler Gulch TH is just a couple miles past the town of Gothic, with West Maroon being about 15 minutes further up and over Schofield Pass.

Another great- and easy to get to- spot is Snodgrass Mtn, which is on the way to Gothic from Mt. Crested Butte. Scarp Ridge above Lake Irwin typically has great flowers all the way up to the top too. Oh, and Paradise Divide. To be honest, you can go just about anywhere around Crested Butte in the summer and find amazing wildflowers. Take some time to explore the various gulches/valleys that extend from town, you won't be disappointed.

IMAGE: http://www.stevemokanphotography.com/Re/Crested-Butte-Summer-Trip-Aug/i-bcS2Cp8/0/L/CrestedButteAugust-4-L.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.stevemokanp​hotography.com …mmer-Trip-Aug/i-bcS2Cp8/A  (external link)

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kbColorado
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May 03, 2015 11:49 |  #4

I've only been there once during wildflower season, but yes Paradise Divide is wondrous. In early July Lily Lake, off Kebler Pass Road, should have the Lilys blooming and there are other beautiful healthy flowers there as well.

What I found truly remarkable is that in Crested Butte in July, there are no wrong answers for wildflowers. They are everywhere and I have never seen them grow so thick and so large.


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Preeb
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Jun 01, 2015 17:51 |  #5

While the wild flowers will be pretty good just about everywhere in July, the best areas will be where they had the best snowpack this winter. I've been to certain places where one year they are just average and the next they are spectacular, and it's usually because of snowmelt. This map shows the 2015 snowpack as of the end of February, and we've had a lot of precipitation since then:

IMAGE: http://rapriebe.smugmug.com/photos/i-TzSc7J6/0/L/i-TzSc7J6-L.jpg


It looks like the area you'll be in will have anywhere from 70% to over 100% snowpack, so it should be good to great for flowers - at least they won't have any shortage of moisture.

This image is from about 35 years ago, day hiking in the central Colorado mountains - I honestly don't remember where. It was a good year, and a nice well watered slope right at tree line.


IMAGE: http://rapriebe.smugmug.com/photos/i-gFmKhnR/0/XL/i-gFmKhnR-XL.jpg

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smmokan
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Jun 01, 2015 19:46 as a reply to  @ Preeb's post |  #6

Preeb... the other thing that's important to consider is the amount of rain we've had this spring. State-wide snowpack might only be 77%, but I recently saw another stat that said the water-equivalent levels in CO are over 150% for the state.

If it gets warm here soon (which it is now), it could be a really good wildflower season. My guess is that it's going to be a week or so late compared to usual.


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patrick ­ j
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Jun 01, 2015 22:03 |  #7

Someone posted the chart at the link below, snowpack as of a few days ago was still way up there. I think in May there was a lot of new snow and very little melting. Unfortunately, it's going to delay the start of hiking at higher altitudes, but as you guys say, the wildflowers should be good.

Preeb, nice alpine scenery there, can you rack your brain for the location? Mt. Harvard Basin maybe? I can see with that color of rock that it's most likely not the Elks unless near Snowmass/Capitol.

http://www.14ers.com …?t=45941&p=5677​32#p567732 (external link)


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Preeb
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Jun 02, 2015 00:23 |  #8

patrick j wrote in post #17580447 (external link)
Someone posted the chart at the link below, snowpack as of a few days ago was still way up there. I think in May there was a lot of new snow and very little melting. Unfortunately, it's going to delay the start of hiking at higher altitudes, but as you guys say, the wildflowers should be good.

Preeb, nice alpine scenery there, can you rack your brain for the location? Mt. Harvard Basin maybe? I can see with that color of rock that it's most likely not the Elks unless near Snowmass/Capitol.

http://www.14ers.com …?t=45941&p=5677​32#p567732 (external link)

It might be 10 Mile Range above Breckenridge, or Gore Range north of Silverthorne, or possibly RMNP. Those were my most common stomping grounds back then.


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dougsturgess
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Aug 08, 2017 18:31 |  #9

A variant on the above topic but thought the people in this thread might have some first-hand knowledge to help me make a route decision.

I'll be traveling to Crested Butte from Denver September 27th, 2017 and would like to know if I should drive to Crested Butte from Buena Vista through Tin Cup or through Gunnison. From the videos I've seen online of the drive, it doesn't look like there's enough beautiful scenery photography-wise through Tin Cup. I'm not really interested in shooting St. Elmo or other ghost towns. The drive via Gunnison is 30 minutes shorter.

I will be doing scenic photography along the way to Crested Butte.

Thanks.


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patrick ­ j
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Aug 08, 2017 18:51 |  #10

dougsturgess wrote in post #18422629 (external link)
A variant on the above topic but thought the people in this thread might have some first-hand knowledge to help me make a route decision.

I'll be traveling to Crested Butte from Denver September 27th, 2017 and would like to know if I should drive to Crested Butte from Buena Vista through Tin Cup or through Gunnison. From the videos I've seen online of the drive, it doesn't look like there's enough beautiful scenery photography-wise through Tin Cup. I'm not really interested in shooting St. Elmo or other ghost towns. The drive via Gunnison is 30 minutes shorter.

I will be doing scenic photography along the way to Crested Butte.

Thanks.

Is this a leaf viewing trip? Your timing is good. This summer they are paving the west side of Cottonwood Pass, so that's probably going to be quicker, plus a few miles shorter, than going through Gunnison. Cottonwood Pass is kind of scenic, less so at that time of year, but above tree line, you can hop out and stroll around a bit, so I think that would be the better option.

(checking on Google it looks like 73 miles via Tincup, 111 miles through Gunnison. )


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smmokan
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Aug 10, 2017 13:16 as a reply to  @ patrick j's post |  #11

Cottonwood Pass is being paved, but it's not open to thru traffic.... it won't be until later in 2018. Your only option is to drive through Gunnison if you come down 285 from Denver.

Depending on how much time you have, I'd even recommend driving I-70 out to Copper Mountain, then south on 93 to Leadville, continue south to Twin Lakes, and head west towards Aspen. That section is absolutely incredible. From Aspen, head west through Carbondale, then south over McClure Pass (again, incredible) and then come into Crested Butte via Kebler Pass from the west. It's a BIG detour, but totally worth it if you're not planning on visiting Aspen later in your trip.

Otherwise, I'd just say go through Gunnison via 285 and Hwy 50.


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patrick ­ j
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Aug 10, 2017 14:53 as a reply to  @ smmokan's post |  #12

I knew Cottonwood was closed for the summer, but thought that would be done by the end of summer. That's quite a long closure.

If someone is going to take that long of a detour, they can also go west to Glenwood Springs on I-70, then backtrack up to Carbondale and then over McClure Pass to Kebler to Crested Butte. It's a little quicker and still hits the highlights (McClure and Kebler).


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Numenorean
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Nov 17, 2017 10:52 |  #13

Preeb wrote in post #17580159 (external link)
While the wild flowers will be pretty good just about everywhere in July, the best areas will be where they had the best snowpack this winter. I've been to certain places where one year they are just average and the next they are spectacular, and it's usually because of snowmelt. This map shows the 2015 snowpack as of the end of February, and we've had a lot of precipitation since then:

QUOTED IMAGE


It looks like the area you'll be in will have anywhere from 70% to over 100% snowpack, so it should be good to great for flowers - at least they won't have any shortage of moisture.

This image is from about 35 years ago, day hiking in the central Colorado mountains - I honestly don't remember where. It was a good year, and a nice well watered slope right at tree line.


QUOTED IMAGE

That is definitely Lake Isabelle in Indian Peaks Wilderness. I have several photos from that spot.


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Heading to Crested Butte in July, where to go
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