For those who are aware of the natural splendor of Crested Butte, you may already have your booking for this year’s installment of the annual Wildflower Festival. If you don’t yet, here is your chance to be a part of something extraordinary. This non-profit Festival began in 1986, when some locals decided that the surrounding area and its wildflowers were worth appreciating. Now fifteen years later, this Festival has grown into a week-long celebration, this year held July 11-17, with over 200 classes offered by eighty instructors, tour guides and volunteers.
With an elevation of 12,168 feet, this famous butte (a conspicuously isolated hill, with steep sides and a flat top) is amidst the Elk Mountains, and has long been known for being a recreational hub in Central Colorado. Popular activities include skiing, rock climbing, mountaineering, mountain biking, hunting and fishing. With so many things to see and do, it would make for a great visit anytime, but it’s especially nice during the wildflower season. Not only has Spring sprung, but Summer is now in session, and the ice is meltin’ – the perfect storm for some of Mother Nature’s most splendid color palletes to thrive. These extra added colors which speckle this landscape truly makes for some eye-catching and picturesque views. So, let’s do this…let’s hike…
Whether you are a novice, or a pro, there are trails of all levels to explore and capture the scenery. Guides will lead you to the most popular outlooks, where you can appreciate the wildflowers in their natural habitats. If you aren’t physically up to, or unable to, participate in the hiking, there are van tours, and for the more adventurous bunch, they even offer 4x4 off road tours.
If you happen to be more of the studious type, and would like to learn about these unique wildflowers while embarking into the wild, the Wildflower festival serves as the perfect classroom to learn all about the region’s botany, and all of its wonderful gifts. The Festival has class hikes available to learn as you go, ranging from simple names and identification of flora and fauna, to searching and understanding edible plants for medicinal purposes.
And what would a Wildflower Festival in Colorado be without art classes? These hands-on workshops allow guests the opportunity to create their own unique beautiful mementos to take home and share with family and friends. Build a clay vase, fire it in the kiln, then paint it and fill it with some wild flowers. Learn the ancient therapeutic techniques of Japanese ink painting, and bring your easel along for some plein air (open air) painting. There’s even a rock painting class, where guests learn to paint in acrylic and clear coat their rocks to be used as decorative garden ornaments.
And once you’ve had a chance to stimulate your senses, what better way to let it all sink in and process than a relaxing and meditative yoga session? The Wildflower Festival has got you covered on this front as well. Both kids and adults can experience yoga and the wildflowers in one setting. Imagine yourself in a downward facing dog, crane, or half-moon pose, all while soaking in the beautiful naturally painted surroundings of Crested Butte.
With a population of about 2,000, this quaint little town really welcomes visitors to this annual event with wide smiles and open arms. Make sure to book your classes early, as they do sell out. You can find everything you need to attend at www.CrestedButteWildflowerFestival.com. So get back to nature, and enjoy the butte-eful gifts right here in our own backyard.