Saturday, July 16, 2016

Hike the Peak

Gunnison KOA
Gunnison, CO
July 11, 2016

At the top of our list of things to do while in this area was hiking to the summit of Mt. Crested Butte.  I was thrilled to learn that we could take the Silver Queen lift to the entrance of the summit trail hike. 

So now, I get to check two things off the bucket list...our first chair lift ride and the summit of Mt. Crested Butte. 

Scott and Chris, avid skiers in Park City, UT, showed us the way.

The ride up and down was a hoot, but I didn't get many pictures.  There was a definite chill in the wind on both rides.  

If you choose not to take the lift, you can walk the first six miles on a service road to get to this point.  

The 3.5 mile round trip hike was described as a family hike and yes, we did see several children who must have been mountain goats in an earlier life. 

The trail is well marked and easy at first except for the steep climb.  

Signs all along the way describing the wildflowers and wildlife made for convenient stops to breath deep and continue on. 

 After a steep climb we came to a fork in the trail...

we turned right toward the peak.  A nice descent into a small valley was easy.   We enjoyed watching  marmots  play. 

The next sign pointed us in the right direction...

from here the scrambling...umm...I mean fun began !

From here the trail became a lot steeper and rockier.  The rocks were stable for the most part, but deep crevices made it hard to find good footing.
The up wasn't so bad and coming down was mostly on my rump !  

What an incredible view... truly a 360 degree panorama.

Right from the get-go I was in alpine heaven.  There is something magical about the wildflowers and wildlife that thrive at these altitudes.  Even with its harsh, cold, windy weather and step rocky slopes, plants and animals find a way to grow.  The growing season for plants is only 50 to 60 days. 

Mountain Dryad also known as alpine rose...

Moss Campion are anchored by a deep taproot.  Each plant can live over 100 years...amazing!
 Alpine Sunflowers are easy to recognize being the largest yellow flowers found in the alpine habitat.  Stems are short with oversized flowers that always face the rising sun.

 It's not easy to pick a favorite, but I have to say Sky Pilot sure caught my eye.  The nectar robbing activity of ants can seriously diminish seed pollination so the plant has adapted by making its own stinky, sticky ant repellent.  Bees will still pollinate, but ants keep their distance.

Until next time, happy days and...


 Wildflower information from Wild About Wildflowers by Katherine Darrow


  1. Love the wildflowers! thanks for naming them and the information. I do enjoy the low, small tundra flowers. I like the idea of taking the ski lift up part way. Thanks for the tip:) Isn't it amazing where trees grow!? Congratulations on getting to the summit!! Awesome job:)

    1. Thanks Pam...
      The tundra landscape is amazing. I took way too many pictures!

  2. Fantastic views and gorgeous flowers. It must be that time of year for we are enjoying all the alpine flowers. Thank you for id'g the flowers I'm having a hard time naming the flowers I saw.
    You made it to the top, and I can just imagine the going down.

    1. You are so welcome MonaLiza. Aren't these little alpine flowers amazing?

  3. So you're saying that Coloradians have a whole 'nother definition of the word easy?
    I love the photo of the rocky crag with pines, it's beautiful.

    1. in no boulders till the top. Hiking in the mountains always has a climb with a great cardio workout. We are loving it here Gayle! Best hiking we have done in along time.

      It's amazing how those trees grow right out of the rocks...

  4. You sure picked the right time to be in Colorado!
    Box Canyon Mark

    1. July in Colorado is the best Mark. We love it!

  5. Well that is definitely one to put on my must-do list for next time! Beautiful!

  6. What a wonderful hike, I could probably do the lift, but not a hike to the peak. Love the views but me and heights don't get along very well anymore. Too bad..

    1. will enjoy the views from the lift George and Susie. It is a 15 minute (one way) ride with beautiful vistas of the mountains, Crested Butte and the forest of evergreens and aspens.

  7. Wow, you just have given us a peak for I missed this area last year. Great photos!