Lower Loop Recreation Area

How to recreate on, care for, and enjoy our lands

The Lower Loop is a local and visitor favorite, starting right from town and going all the way out to Gunsight Bridge. From the bridge, you can connect to the Oh-Be-Joyful Campground via the Coal Train Trail, the Slate River Road, and much more. Alternatively, the Lower Loop Trails are a great way to finish up a Lupine Trail bike ride right back to town. This beautiful recreational area also includes the iconic Peanut Lake, groomed Nordic trails in the winter, and the Land Trust’s summertime StoryWalk™ and Letterboxing programs.

Responsible Trail Use

  • Plan your trip at less popular times to avoid overcrowded trailheads and trailsTo minimize parking traffic, walk or bike to the trailhead whenever possible, and if the parking areas look full, consider going somewhere else that day.
  • If you drive, park at the first lot along Peanut Lake Rd and reserve the second lot for those with wheelchairs or strollersDo not park along the road or block right-of-ways or driveways; there is private property along Peanut Lake Rd
  • Be mindful and respectful of other users on the trailsKnow who has the right-of-way, and do not cut switchbacks; when allowing others to pass, step off to the side and wait (do not walk along the side) and watch where you step to avoid trampling wildflowers and other plants
  • Go before you goThere are no restroom facilities at trailheads; public restrooms are available at the 4-Way parking lot or at the old Town Hall at 2nd and Elk Avenue
  • Use designated trails onlyObey signage and don't trespass
  • Do not fish or swim in Peanut LakeMining waste at the bottom on the lake makes Peanut Lake unsafe for swimming or fishing
  • Leave no trace, pack it in, pack it outPick up after yourself and leave the trailheads and trails better than you found them
  • Recreate safely and responsiblyBring plenty of water, food, and layers, and check the weather before you leave
  • Share the love - educate others who aren't following best practices

Peanut Lake

Peanut Lake is one of the first things you’ll notice as you head out from town along the Lower Loop. It’s beauty and wildlife are iconic in the warmer months, but remember not to recreate or allow dogs to swim in the lake! A large mining operation surrounded the lake in the 1800’s and wasn’t cleaned up until over 100 years later. Despite all the work that went into making this area accessible, safe, and beautiful, mining waste in the form of heavy metals still lies at the bottom of Peanut Lake, making it unsafe for swimming or fishing. Additionally, only a thin, man-made land barrier, maintained by the Land Trust, separates the contaminated Lake and the Slate River. If the land barrier were to break or overflow, contamination and flooding is likely and the lake itself could be drained, diminishing this critical habitat and natural amenity. 

Please recreate responsibly around Peanut Lake and ensure our community can enjoy this local feature safely for years to come.

Winter Use

The Lower Loop area is maintained by the Crested Butte Nordic Center in the winter months. You can ski or snowshoe to the Magic Meadows Yurt, out to Gunsight Pass, and around Peanut Lake right from Town. Please remember that our neighbors have private property bordering the Lower Loop area in the winter just like in the summer, and respect private property while recreating nearby. Dogs are allowed on some Nordic trails in the winter and must have a Nordic pass just like their two-legged friends. Click below to learn more about the CB Nordic Center, winter use on Land Trust property, and to view winter maps of the area. 

Additional Information

Storywalk™ & Letterboxing

Stroll along the Lower Loop widepath and enjoy a new story each season or travel further afield to find all of our letterboxes hidden in town and along the trail system. Click below to learn more and get outside!

Lower Loop Area Conservation

Since the early days when Land Trust staff reopened the Lower Loop to the public straight through to today, we’ve worked tirelessly to conserve the recreational and scenic values of the Lower Loop area for over 30 years. 

Thank You for Recreating Responsibly!

Click below to learn special rules and best practices on each Land Trust owned and managed property

Protect What You Love

As pressures on the Gunnison Valley increase, you can be part of the solution.
Leave a legacy of open space protection by donating to the Crested Butte Land Trust today,
and ensure that you and generations to come will continue to enjoy our unique quality of life.


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