Dog-friendly Crested Butte: Where to eat, play and stay with your pup in ‘Colorado’s Last Great Ski Town’
Special to the Daily
There’s nothing like canine companionship, and if you’re someone who considers your furry friend a full-on family member and you wouldn’t dream of waving goodbye to Fido when you leave on vacation, Crested Butte is supremely dog friendly.
An easy three-and-a-half hour drive from Vail, and with the aspens putting on quite the show this year, now is a great time to sneak away with your best furry friend or other beloved family members for a few days.
Here’s the lowdown on a few places you can stay, eat and play with your pup in Crested Butte.
The Grand Lodge Crested Butte is conveniently located near the base of the mountain and features 226-oversized hotel rooms and spacious suites to accommodate all types of travelers—even the furry variety. The Grand Lodge welcomes well-behaved dogs of all shapes and sizes in one of its pet-friendly rooms (based upon availability, additional nightly fee added.). Mom and dad will love the free Wi-Fi, pool and hot tub and the kitchenettes (in the suites).
For a town of only 2,000 or so folks, The Butte has a bevvy of awesome eateries. With nary a chain in sight, it’s heaven for a foodie. The hardest part of your trip might be deciding where to eat. Here are two spots where pups are welcome:
Montanya Distillers is a hoppin’ rum bar that offers fantastic cocktails, distillery tours and free tastings. It’s a great spot to grab a pre-dinner drink on the patio with your pup in tow. Three varieties of rum are made onsite and you can taste them all for free. The Platino Rum was recently named best white rum in the world.
Also on Elk Avenue, Secret Stash, a funky spot notorious for its inventive pizza topping combinations and a dog-welcoming patio. Located in the old Company Store, the decor is as eclectic as the waitstaff is friendly. Start with the Stuffed Mushies — mushrooms stuffed with whole roasted garlic cloves and goat cheese. Vegheads will dig the Where’s The Beef pizza — an olive oil base topped with light mozzarella, minced garlic, red onions, mushrooms, black figs, asiago cheese, fresh basil and drizzles of balsamic reduction and truffle oil.
During the winter: During ski season, head for Butte 66, which offers the best deck in the base area to soak up the sun. Grab a seat in one of the Adirondack chairs and sip a beer or a boozy milkshake and nosh on loaded waffle fries, burgers or shrimp tacos while you listen to some live music with your pup by your side.
Dogs are also welcome on the patio at The Bakery & Brown Labrador Pub, located slopeside at the base area. Considered the place to score a delicious donut in Crested Butte, the bakery and bar serves up delicious baked goods and breakfast items as well as pizza and libations for apres bike or ski.
Shopping: Many merchants are very welcoming to furry guests visiting the valley. You’ll even see dog bowls of water outside some shops. Of course, you should always ask if it’s okay to bring your dog into a retail store, but generally the answer is “Of course. Would they like a treat?” Don’t forget to stop by Mountain Tails, the local pet supply store, to let them pick out their own cookie.
Hiking and Biking: At Crested Butte Mountain Resort, dogs are welcome on all of the trails during the fall, though if you’re hiking, it’s best to stick to cross-country trails and not downhill trails. Grab a trail map from the front desk at the Grand Lodge. Dogs should either be on a leash or under very attentive voice command. At the resort, Columbine, Painter Boy and Westside Trail are all great ones to either hike or bike with your dog. Columbine winds its way from the base area up to the top of Ten Peaks where it turns into Painter Boy, an easy trail that’s gorgeous this time of year when the leaves are turning. Even if the leaves have fallen, the views are striking no matter which direction you look: Mount Crested Butte to the south and the Southern Wall of the Elk Mountains to the north.
Westside Trail, located on the other side of the mountain, is one of the longest uninterrupted cross-country trails in the Evolution Bike Park. It switchbacks through huge aspen groves and feels a bit more secluded. While this trail is rated difficult for mountain biking (it’s technical because of rocks and roots), it’s great for hiking from the base area if you’d rather workout on two feet than two wheels.
For an option outside of the resort, check out the Woods Walk, an easy, 2.8 mile round-trip hike or bike with great leaf-peeping views in the fall. From town, drive up Kebler Pass for a quarter mile and look for cars parked along the left side of the road. A few additional favorite trails include: Trail 403, Upper Loop and Three Lakes Loop, which is located off of Kebler Pass and is also great for leaf peeping.
During the Winter: When snow blankets the town, there are plenty of ways dogs can play right alongside you, either uphill skiing, cross country skiing, fat biking or snowshoeing. Dogs are welcome to join their owners uphill skiing at Crested Butte Mountain Resort (dogs are welcome before and after the lifts run). Dogs love to join cross country ski adventures at Town Ranch, dubbed the “Poop Loop,” a true scenic flat loop that’s groomed by the Nordic Center, free to use and definitely dog friendly. And if you want to snowshoe or fat bike, the road to the former mining town of Gothic is one of the most scenic trails in the area. From the Snodgrass trailhead, it’s an easy downhill on the way to Gothic, especially when freshly groomed. With tongues slung out, your pup is sure to love this adventure and the many more available in Crested Butte.
Caramie Petrowsky is a freelance writer and public relations professional based in Denver. Email her at email@example.com.
Fall means food and wine festivals and also a chance to see the colors just starting to turn over Vail Pass during a bike ride for charity.