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USA Pro Challenge Host City, Mount / Crested Butte: facts and fables

February 24, 2012

Crested Butte, statue in town

Crested Butte and Mount Crested Butte (the ski resort area) welcome the USA Pro Cycling Challenge (UPCC) for the finish of stage 2 on August 21st. A town that grew up around mining, the Crested Butte area yielded significant amounts of coal by 1882. At that time Crested Butte’s population of 1,000 could visit or feel crowded by several saloons and restaurants, five hotels, a bank, three livery stables, sawmills, doctors, lawyers and the Union Congregational Church.

Today Crested Butte is a dirt-loving playfellow under a cloak of historic charm.

Dirt-loving

Mount Crested Butte trails map

Crested Butte’s roads didn’t get paved until 1983, about three years after its first Fat Tire Bike Week, now called the Crested Butte Bike Week.

This celebration of tires on trails is the longest running mountain bike festival, which makes it just one of the many hallmarks setting Crested Butte apart from other mountain towns. This year Crested Butte Bike Week will take place from June 21st to 24th.

Playfellow

During Crested Butte’s townie criterium event last year on the morning of the UPCC’s arrival in town, contestants rode part of each lap through the Talk of the Town Bar – yes, entering through the back door, cruising past the bar, and exiting to a roaring crowd outside of the front door.

What a way to play above the dirt: the Crested Butte Zip Line Tour takes guests along five zip lines and a series of suspension bridges.

Historic charmer

Crested Butte became a Registered National Historic District in 1972 and is Colorado’s eighth largest historic district. Stroll down Elk Avenue through the historic district in the middle of town and admire original buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Until recently the largest elk antlers ever measured, these antlers from an elk a Crested Butte resident took down in 1899 in the Dark Canyon of Anthracite Creek west of Crested Butte hang on a wall at the Chamber of Commerce Visitor’s Center in downtown Crested Butte when not on loan or tour. The owners shipped the antlers to the Boone and Crocket Club in New York for measurement in 1960 to establish world record status.

Along the road from Mount Crested Butte to the town of Gothic (photo by Mary Topping)

The former mining town of Gothic lies about five miles north of Mount Crested Butte, at 9,500 feet elevation among blue lupine on Gothic Road. More than 1,000 people lived in Gothic until it became deserted by 1893 when silver mining had played out. The town is home to the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. An easy hike to Judd Falls begins at a trailhead just past Gothic.

See also:

USA Pro Cycling Challenge host city, Durango: facts and fables

USA Pro Cycling Challenge host city, Telluride: facts and fables

USA Pro Cycling Challenge host city, Montrose: facts and fables

USA Pro Cycling Challenge host city, Gunnison: facts and fables

USA Pro Cycling Challenge host city, Aspen: facts and fables

USA Pro Cycling Challenge host city, Beaver Creek: facts and fables

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