Fly then Drive to Gunnison & Crested Butte
Driving anywhere in Colorado can be quite the scenic adventure. It can also be nice to have a car at your disposal once you get here. Here are a several options, complete with driving directions for flying into Colorado, renting a car and then driving to Gunnison or Crested Butte. Just be aware that in the winter, you’ll likely have to deal with some snowy and possibly icy driving conditions. If you’re not comfortable driving in the winter, you should save yourself the trouble and grab a flight to Crested Butte rather than monkeying with the drive.
Denver is the 5th busiest airport in the United States and services flights from all over the country. The drive from the Front Range through the heart of the Rockies to Crested Butte is a fantastic tour of some of the most scenic places in Colorado.
Directions from Denver International Airport to Crested Butte
- Take Pena Boulevard towards 1-70
- After 11 miles merge onto 1-70 West
- Stay on I-70W through Denver (24 miles)
- Take Exit 260 on CO-470 East
- After 5 miles take the exit for US 285 South towards Fairplay
- Stay on US 285 South until you reach the outskirts of Buena Vista
- Turn left to stay on US 285 South for another 21 miles
- Turn right onto US 50 West
- Arrive in Gunnison after 60 miles
- To reach Crested Butte turn right at CO-135 North and continue for 28 miles
Local Transportation & Rental Cars
Do you need a rental car?
In the winter, you definitely don’t. Free buses run by the Gunnison Valley RTA and Mountain Express get you pretty much anywhere you could need to go. The one exception to that rule is for airport shuttles. You’ll want to reserve transportation from there to our offices. You’ll be able to register and then the driver will take you to your accommodations if they are off-site.
In the spring, summer, and fall months, you don’t need a car, but you will probably want one. We have pretty good free public transportation year round. But that transportation only gets you so far out of town. If you’re looking to hike or mountain bike trails other than the ones right near town, you will want to rent a car. The same is true if you’re planning to do much sightseeing or go on any of our scenic drives.
The Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (GUC) is serviced by Hertz, Avis, and Budget car rentals. In addition several other companies specifically rent 4x4s and Jeeps for adventures that require a high-clearance vehicle. We recommend making advance arrangements to rent a car prior to arrival.
Driving Directions from the Airport to Crested Butte
The drive from the Gunnison airport to Crested Butte is an easy 30 minute cruise up Highway 135. Simply head up 11th or 12th St. and turn right on Tomichi Ave. From there turn left onto Highway 135 and proceed north until you reach Crested Butte. To reach Mt. Crested Butte keep driving for another 4 miles up the road.
Driving to Gunnison-Crested Butte
To orient you to a few landmarks, we’re a 4 hour drive more or less due southwest of Denver. Gunnison is pretty much due west of Colorado Springs (by about three hours) right on Highway 50. Crested Butte is south-southwest of Aspen, about 14 miles as the crow flies but separated by some mountain passes that are impassable except by foot (or horse).
Drive into our valley on Highway 50, a scenic road that runs across our great state, or enjoy a scenic mountain drive in the summer: Kebler Pass (Gunnison County Road 12) and Cottonwood Pass (Chaffee County Road 306 to Gunnison County Road 209).
Stay up to date on driving conditions and pass closures
Don’t let road construction, weather conditions or road closures impede your plans to get here. To check Statewide Travel Conditions from inside Colorado dial 511, or from outside Colorado, dial (303) 639-1111 or visit Colorado Trip, a website maintained by the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Pass status – check Cotrip.org for the most up to date information. We do our best to keep this table up to date, but recommend checking with the proper state or county authorities before traveling these routes.
|Cottonwood Pass (Chaffee County Road 306 to Gunnison County Road 209)||CLOSED|
|Kebler Pass (Gunnison County Road 12)||CLOSED|
|Schofield Pass/Gothic (Gunnison County Road 317)||CLOSED|
|Independence Pass (State Highway 82)||CLOSED|