Crested Butte, CO

Crested Butte is in the southwest quadrant of Colorado, about 22 miles south of Aspen. The town is located in a spectacular mountain valley at an elevation of 8,880 feet, surrounded by national forest and five wilderness areas. The region is famous for backcountry skiing, mountain biking, alpine hiking, and horseback riding.

Travel: The closest airport is Gunnison (GUC), with year-round service from Denver by United Express. An airport shuttle to Crested Butte can be arranged through Alpine Express by calling 800-822-4844 . Rental vehicles are available in Gunnison from Budget, Hertz, and Avis. The driving time to Crested Butte is approximately 30 minutes.The next choice of airport would be Montrose (MTJ), about 60 miles west. PLEASE Note: United Express flights in and out of Gunnison and Montrose are notoriously unreliable. Find an alternative if being on time is important.

 Crested Butte locals frequently use Grand Junction (GJT), Colorado Springs (COS), and Denver (DEN). For road trips, allow about 5 hours from Denver, 4 hours from Colorado Springs, 2 hours from Montrose, and 3 hours from Grand Junction.

By foot or horse, allow at least 6 hours over West Maroon Pass from Aspen. Be sure to arrange to have Town Taxi meet you at the West Maroon trailhead or it will be a long walk to town.
Course Sites: Your course site will be specificed in the course instructions that you receive with your tuition receipt.

The Crested Butte Community School is the large green and brown building on your right as you enter town from the south. It is an easy walk or bike ride from anywhere in town.
Fire Station #2 course site is a fire and EMS training facility in Mt. Crested Butte approximately 1/4 mile past the ski area bus stop on the left. The towns of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte are about 3 miles apart and connected by a free shuttle bus service or, for the more energetic, a bicycle path. The elevation gain from town is about 600’.
The Plaza course site is the conference room located in the lower level of the Plaza Condominium building at the base of the ski area at the intersection of Gothic Road and Snowmass Road. Arriving Look for the right turn just before the pedestrian bridge over the road. The free shuttle bus from Crested Butte has a stop in front of the building.

Lodging and Food: Like any resort town, Crested Butte has plenty of options for lodging and meals. For information about all of the possibilities, see the Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce web site: The following inns will give a discount to our students:
Camping is available at primitive sites throughout the national forest surrounding Crested Butte. There is a free campground at Oh Be Joyful approximately three miles northwest of town on the Slate River Road. Primitive camping is allowed at several sites along the road further on. Be aware that the forest service roads may not be open before June, or after October, depending on the weather. There is a National Forest Service fee campground 2 miles up Cement Creek Road approximately 6 miles south of town. This site is generally open much earlier in the spring than Oh Be Joyful.
Climate and Altitude: Our high-country climate can be quite variable. But usually by late May, days are warming up with high temperatures in the 60’s. Summer days are pleasantly warm, but nights are always cool. In fact, frost is possible at any time of year. September and October bring the spectacular clear days typical of an alpine autumn. Winter begins in early November.

The scenery around Crested Butte is breathtaking. So is the altitude, especially if you arrive from sea level. We encourage our guests to schedule a rest day in Crested Butte before the course start, if at all possible. If you have previously experienced problems at altitude, you may wish to consult your physician about starting the medication Diamox just before your trip. A typical dose is 125 mg every 12 hours for 5 days. Please call if you need more information or advice on adjusting to altitude.

To those in the field...

Medical Officer, Ltd. is based in Crested Butte, Colorado USA and is an Instructor Sponsor of programs certified by Wilderness Medical Associates International.