Crested Butte and Three Lakes Trail

Gunnison, CO

We left Ridgway on September 13th and drove about 90 miles east to Gunnison, CO.  The drive took us through the town of Montrose (5,800′), where we will be staying next week, and across US 50.  After crossing over the Cerro Summit (8,000′) and the Blue Mesa Summit (8,850′) the highway parallels the Blue Mesa Reservoir, the largest body of water in Colorado.

We easily found our home for the week at Palisades RV Park on the west side of the town and were escorted to our site.  Once set up we drove into town to check out the visitor center.  Upon our return to the park we hit a snag in our plans for the next couple of days.

One day previous to leaving Boulder City, soon after having the oil changed, we detected the smell of gasoline in the garage.  John checked under the hood and the floor but couldn’t see anything leaking.  When no smell was detected the next day we decided it must have come from a passing vehicle and forgot about it.  But recently the faint smell has re-occurred.  Again, nothing appeared to be leaking.  But this time the smell was quite strong.  John again raised the hood (the bonnet to our English friends) and could see fuel leaking from the fuel line right in the center of the (hot) engine.  Not a good thing!  Of course it was approaching 4:30 on a Friday afternoon.  We found a nearby repair shop that had good ratings and was open on Saturday so John immediately headed there (1.5 miles away), fire extinguisher in hand, to check the place out and see what they could do.  Owner Robert of Robert’s Auto Repair looked at the Jeep and immediately called to order parts.  The parts would not be delivered until Tuesday so, since it was too dangerous to drive the Jeep, we spent Saturday walking around Gunnison and watching football, then rented a car for Sunday and Monday.

The leaking fuel line

On Sunday we drove our rental car north about 25 miles to the ski resort town of Crested Butte (pop. 1,600 – elev. 8,900′).  This old mining town is a mixture of hippie/artsy types and the rich (most of whom reside in the nearby ski area of Mt. Crested Butte).  We went into Crested Butte to visit the weekly farmer’s market.

The farmer’s market was pretty good for such a small community.  As is typical, there were also many arts and crafts displays plus some sort of a strange festival going on with participants wearing weird costumes.

Festival participants weaving headgear from vines (???)

Foot massage near the food vendors, hmmm . . .

Festival participants coming out of a small park

The main street of Crested Butte is very colorful

Friends Joe and Gay stayed a month in nearby Gunnison a couple years ago and we relied on their blog for many of our explorations in this area (good-times-rollin).   One of the hikes they did was the Three Lakes Loop.  Since it was a trail easily reached with our rented sedan, we decided to hike it.  To get to the trailhead we drove about 17 miles out Kebler Pass Road, a well-maintained dirt road, and turned south at the sign for the Lost Lake Campground.  After two or three miles, just before the campground, we found the large parking area for the trailhead.

The trailhead

The first of two easy water crossings

The trail took us up along the first of the three lakes, Lost Lake Slough.  The sky was cloudy during our hike, so we were disappointed in the views, and photos.  To see them on a sunny day check out Gay’s photos from their visit (see earlier link).

Lost Lake Slough

After passing the first lake the trail continued up the hillside.

Rocky trail heading up the slope

At a “T” junction we turned left for a short hike to the second lake.

Dollar Lake

Lost Lake Slough in the distance

Returning back to the main trail we past a nice waterfall near the trail.

The elusive “Butt” tree in the wild!

After passing the waterfall the trail continued down the hillside to the third and final lake, Lost Lake.

Lost Lake

It was a short hike from Lost Lake back to the campground and parking area.  We enjoyed this hike but were disappointed with our photos due to the cloudy skies, especially when we looked at Gay’s beautiful photos taken on a sunny day!

We didn’t see any wildlife on either the hike or the drive but we were stopped by the flock of sheep in the photo below,


We wondered who was in charge of this group, but we soon drove by the boss who quickly forced them off the road and into the trees.

The Boss

We have one more day until the Jeep is repaired so our next adventure will definitely not involve any rough terrain.  Chevy Impalas don’t have much clearance!

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10 Responses to Crested Butte and Three Lakes Trail

  1. Jeff Pierce says:

    Looks like a nice hike, but agree it Gay and Joe’s pictures show it off in a better light. On the road issues are never fun, but at least it was the Jeep and not the RV. It looks like an easy fix, once the parts can be located. Glad to see it did not slow you down.

  2. The three lakes trail sure looked different without the aspens that we saw when we hiked there. We don’t like car or RV issues it puts a damper on our travels. But glad that you were in a place that has a repair shop. I don’t why things happen on a Friday or on a holiday!
    I have tried reflexology and it feels so good afterward, better than a massage since you don’t have to disrobe.

  3. You know, we had all kinds of issues in Montrose when we visited last year. Car triples, bug invasions, heat waves. I’m starting to think it’s the town’s fault. 😂 Hope it gets resolved quickly.

    I agree that sunny days and blue skies definitely make all the difference when it comes to photography, but even on a cloudy day, those views ain’t bad!!!

  4. Sue says:

    I agree with Laura, those views are gorgeous – sunny or cloudy day! I see you caught the rare red breasted rock scrambler puking behind a tree. I’m sure he was embarrassed, too bad you didn’t just walk on by and let him be…… Car problems are the worst on weekends! Glad you found another method of transportation, even if it wasn’t up the Jeep standards.

  5. The Butt Tree! What a crack up.

  6. Laurel says:

    Uh-oh. Such a bummer about your Jeep problem, but glad it didn’t catch on fire! And no, an Impala is definitely not a high clearance vehicle, LOL!!
    That looked like a great hike (even without blue skies). I know what you mean about being disappointed, though, because I always want my photos to do justice to a beautiful hike, and it’s hard when the sun won’t cooperate. You captured plenty of colorful characters at that farmers’ market, though! 🙂

  7. Joe Taylor says:

    I agree with Lisa…The Butt Tree! Too funny! I think your pictures do a fine job of showing off the lakes! So sorry you had Jeep troubles, but so happy you were able to find a reliable place to get it fixed!

  8. Jodee Gravel says:

    Glad you were somewhere the Jeep could be repaired and you could get a rental car! I think I could handle the elevation in Montrose so have the RV park on the list for next summer. Looks like a bit of Renaissance Faire at the market. The lakes are beautiful but that trail looks brutal.

  9. Steve & Dianne Colibaba says:

    Good thing you caught that gas leak. Looks like a great place to hike…even on a cloudy day.
    Safe travels!

  10. That’s a scary jeep issue! Glad you guys made the best of it and rented a car!

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