We’re off to the Gunnison-Crested Butte region of Colorado for a great summer line up of events in Travel Freak’s Wild Wednesday Column. From the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival to the Gunnison River Festival; it’s going to be a wild and wet summer in Colorado!

Now that winter has broken its icy grip on Colorado a colorful blanket of wildflower blooms are spreading across the Gunnison-Crested Butte region. It is here you’ll find a summer filled with festivals for wine, photographers and art lovers as well as kayaking and river trips and the Annual Crested Butte Wildflower Festival that kicks off in early July.

Photographing The Beauty Of Gunnison-Crested Butte, Colorado


(image via Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association)

One of the highlights of the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival is the opportunity to get an insider’s glimpse of places that most people never get to see on unique hikes with area landowners, who are opening their gates to take you on private tours of their land to view the thriving wildflowers. During the festival you’ll have many chances to capture exceptional photos of the colorful wildflowers and surrounding nature.

In fact, there will be numerous classes for anyone who wants to learn more about shooting flowers up close and capturing great shots of the landscapes. These classes are held by local professional photographers, who know the best places to shoot exciting photos. Photograph Tours held during the festival include Wondrous Wildflowers, Bird Photography, a 4 x 4 Backcountry Photo Tour and others.

I captured the grandeur of the Colorado mountains on one of our trips, and soon discovered one particular mountain region caught my eye, which was evident when reviewing our photos; I had shot the same scene in the spring with colorful wildflowers, and later covered in snow, unintentionally. One of the tips I’ve learned that comes in handy on our iPhone is holding down the shutter button to take multiple shots. By capturing numerous shots you have a better chance of getting at least one great photo. This technique can offer surprising results such as it did for us passing by a local deer farm. At first I was disappointed that I didn’t catch any shots of deer when I reviewed my photos, then I discovered one lonely deer standing by the fence. If not for taking continuous photos I would have missed her.

Explore Your Creative Side In Colorado

Artists never know what will inspire them until a spark of creative ignites their imagination. This is the case when traveling through Colorado, where I’ve sketched a bright field of sunflowers, and several mountain scenes. Whether you’re an experienced artist or just beginning there will be many opportunities to join classes that will help you unlock your creative spirit. Embrace the Gunnison-Crested Butte beauty while field sketching, learn tips on botanical illustrations and capture your trip through drawing in a journal.

Learn the art of Japanese ink painting, which I used to create an ink drawing of a horse, create wildflower prayer flags, and  join Cocktails and Clay, in which you learn to create majolica-style tiles, or join the Canvas and Cabernet tours. You can also expand your creative horizon by learning to press garden flowers and herbs to make botanical candles, bookmarks and gift tags on the Gifts from the Gardens Tour. You’ll also learn to use dried herbs to make tea blends and lip balms, oils and salves during this event.

Sample Nature’s Edible Delights

Those who enjoy gardening can dig deeper into nature, and learn to cook up some unexpected edible delights by joining the Botanical Indulgence Tour. This progressive tasting tour visits three of Crested Butte’s food and drink establishments that embrace fresh botanical’s to make creative concoctions.

The Evening Light outdoors in the beautiful Washington Gulch area, and Wildflower Happy Hour are a chance to mingle with festival-goers and instructors while enjoying rum cocktails at Montanya Distillers, or join the Terrific Tapas and Luscious Libations tour. Another option is the Chef’s Pantry tour that is great for Foodies who want to learn how to use the herbs from the garden or farmers’ market to create a variety of culinary delights.

Wet, Wild, And Wine Events To Enjoy


(image via Matt Burt)

Maybe you’re not into photographing or sketching wildflowers. No problem, there over 200 events and activities to join in the region this summer. Those interested in a ride on the wet and wild side can go with the flow in June during the Gunnison River Festival. The Gunnison-Crested Butte region is popular for its outstanding rafting and kayaking that range from scenic Class I to fast-paced whitewater Class IV on the Gunnison and Taylor Rivers. Whether you just want a leisurely paddle or want to go to the extreme along the raging rapids; you’ll find options for every skill level to join during the Gunnison River Festival.

During the festival you can also join Nautilus Sailing for instructions and certification on Blue Mesa Reservoir that Colorado’s largest body of water, and part of Curecanti National Recreation Area. Sit back and soak in the beauty of the Gunnison River on a Morrow Point Boat Tour. This 1-1/2 hour journey strolls past waterfalls, stunning spires and the dramatic cliffs of Black Canyon of the Gunnison. You’ll not only enjoy the scenery, you’ll learn more about the history of the area with your guide, who is National Park Ranger. The Gunnison River Festival runs from June 19 – 22, and tickets can be ordered by visiting their website or calling (970) 210-1777.

If you’re in the mood for wine sampling you’ll find plenty of choices at the Crested Butte Wine and Food Festival. Other events include the Crested Butte Music Festival, Crested Butte Plein Air Invitational, and Gunnison Cattlemen’s Days, so you’ll find more than enough to enjoy this summer on your visit to Gunnison-Crested Butte. Enjoy!

Learn More About All The Festivities In The Gunnison-Crested Butte Region


(image via Tom Runcie)

This is just a sampling of the events to experience throughout the summer and into the fall season in Colorado. The Crested Butte Wildflower Festival runs from July 7– 13, and there will be additional events through September. To explore all the events and schedules visit download a wildflower guides, and bloom locator brochure call(970) 349-2571 or visit their website.

To explore area events, attractions, recreation and plan your trip visit the Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association.

Wild Wednesday Facts:

  • Colorado State Legislature designated Crested Butte as the “Wildflower Capital of Colorado” in 1990.
  • Have a headache? Buy some lavender oil and dab it on a tissue then inhale the scent. It helps relieve headaches, is calming, and great for a restful nights sleep.
  • Gunnison County is part of the West Elk Loop and Silver Thread Scenic and Historic Byways.
  • Did you know that the Crested Butte region is home to the Crystal Mill, located in the old mining town of Crystal?
  • Those visiting Colorado who are age 21 or older and want to try marijuana should use good judgment, and be cautious when trying edible treats, which when overused can cause sickness and other severe effects. If you plan to light up, find out where it can be done privately; public toking is prohibited. Remember, moderation is key to enjoying new experiences.

Will you join the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival?


With a passion for travel and creativity, Journalist and Photographer, Melody Schubert let’s her imagination guide her as she explores the world. For her, everyday is an opportunity to embrace something new, and explore intriguing and overlooked destinations that express the heart of a region, and share these discoveries with readers of Travel Freak. She is also Editorial Executive for USA Travel Magazine - http://www.usatravelmagazine.com/ where she shares more of travel interests.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here