Lake Irwin Campground – Crested Butte – Wildflowers & Waterfalls

Lake Irwin Campground – Crested Butte – Wildflowers & Waterfalls


Hiking trails through meadows of
wildflowers, several waterfalls, fishing, camping, & non-motorized water sports
are some of the reasons why Lake Irwin should be on your Colorado bucket list. Our first stay at Lake Irwin in July of
2014 inspired the creation of this YouTube
channel. In today’s video, we share memories from that first visit to Lake
Irwin as well as recently recovered video from the summer of 2018 when we made
one of several return trips to the area For 10 days every July the town of
Crested Butte hosts its annual wild flower festival. The festival includes a
wide variety of workshops, hikes, and tours for all ages and skill levels. Wildflower season isn’t just for the ten
days of the festival. You can enjoy the flowers for the majority of the summer.
One of our favorite spots for wildflower viewing is less than ten miles west of
Crested Butte in the area around Lake Irwin. Lake Irwin is a high alpine lake
just above 10,000 feet on the eastern slope of the Ruby Range
in Gunnison County. The Lake Irwin campground entrance can be found near
the west end of the 65-acre lake. Let’s go check it out. This portion of the
video was recorded with our old camera prior to upgrading so please forgive the
shakiness. Site 2 is a large pull through site. Most sites on the right side have
some sort of view of the lake up through site number 10. For 2020
the nightly camping fee is $20 per night. Site number 4 has a great view of
Lake Irwin. This campground typically opens in early
June and closes in mid to late September. Being over 10,000 feet means the night’s
can get pretty chilly even in the summer. Site number six is another site with an
amazing view of the lake. Max RV length is 35 feet with some
sites that are much smaller. Site number 8 is another pull-thru. There is no cell service with Verizon or
AT&T. Site 10 has a little bit of a lake view. The Scarp Ridge Trail is a highly
recommended hike when staying at Lake Irwin. There is also hiking trail right
before site 11. During our first stay at Lake Irwin the
campsites with the lake view were all occupied so we set up camp near the edge
of a small pond at site number 12. The breathtaking view of the Grand Dike, Ruby
Peak and Mt Owen made us quickly forget about missing out on a view of Lake
Irwin. After setting up camp we watched deer move down from higher elevations
to the pond and past our campsite as we cooked dinner. It looked like the
beginning of a perfect evening. After dinner, we baked pies in the
campfire and began to notice low clouds moving in. We could hear the wind
howling across the Ruby Range while it was still calm at the campsite. 30
seconds later the wind would reach us. The weather repeated the cycle for the
next 15 minutes. It would get calm, then we would hear the howling wind, followed
by another strong gust of wind in camp. We headed for the tent as darkness
arrived and rain began to fall. Leaking tent seams
combined with four hours of thunder, lightning, wind, and rain had us
reconsidering our decision to camp here. Finally, the rain stopped and we were
able to sleep. In the morning the Sun came out rewarding us with these amazing views.
Let’s continue our tour of the campground. Site 16 has a great view of the lake Here’s site 20 which is another pull-thru
site There had been plenty of dispersed
camping in the area but in 2020 the Forest Service will be closing off a
number of the dispersed campsites near Crested Butte due to over usage and
damage to the vegetation. Sites 29 and 30 on the right have a road
behind them and are probably be least desirable campsites in this campground. Here’s another look at campsite 2 the
pull-thru site and sight number one, as we exit the campground. To check out the waterfalls exit right
and you’ll come to parking on both sides of the road. Colors of wildflowers vary from year
to year depending on rainfall. When we visited in 2018 it had been a very dry
spring with little snowfall. There were many fire restrictions in place. So
the colors weren’t as brilliant as normal. Eventually, the trail will lead you
straight to this spot overlooking the a bigger set of waterfalls. From this point, a path leads
upstream to a smaller waterfall. The slope on the section of trail
between the two waterfalls can be difficult if you have trouble with
stairs. From the smaller waterfall, there’s a path that leads uphill to a small parking area big enough for three
or four cars right next to the spillway. We decided to head back down past the
main waterfall and check out more wildflowers. There are more great stops coming up
after we hike back out of here. I’d like to take a moment and give a
special thank you to our supporters on Patreon:
Jerry P and James T your contributions help make videos like these possible. Kepler Pass home of one of the largest
Aspen groves in the United States and possibly in the world is less than five
miles away from Lake Irwin and it’s a top destination for those seeking the
changing colors of fall. It is also worth a visit in the summertime. Another of our favorite fall destinations
is a short drive away at Ohio Pass. Another favorite spot for checking out
wildflowers around Crested Butte as well as the fall colors is the ghost town of
Gothic, which is home of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. Gothic is
a short drive north of Crested Butte and past the ski resort in mount Crested
Butte. Once out of mount Crested Butte there
are several pull-offs overlooking the East River. Gothic Mountain makes a great backdrop for
wildflower or fall photos. So there you have it. That’s our tour of
Lake Irwin and some of the areas around Crested Butte. We hope this video has been
useful in planning your next camping adventure. We look forward to your
comments on this video. Let us know what you think or if you have any questions
about the Crested Butte area. Thanks for watching! Have a blessed day!

7 thoughts on “Lake Irwin Campground – Crested Butte – Wildflowers & Waterfalls”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *