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The Short Version: If you and your significant other are looking for a bit of R&R in nature, the Gunnison Valley has you covered. Couples are flocking to this majestic destination in droves to experience the mountainous wonders of Colorado. No matter the season, there’s an array of activities for every level of outdoorsy and artsy. Visitors enjoy hiking, whitewater rafting, skiing, and simply taking in the state’s untouched wilds. But the Gunnison Valley offers more than beautiful wilderness. Culture also abounds here — from live music at an artisanal rum distillery to one-of-a-kind epicurean experiences. With the snow-tipped Rockies as a backdrop, a romantic retreat at the Gunnison Valley is sure to help you forge deeper bonds with your partner.
Stress has long been known to have negative impacts on health. However, researchers are now discovering it can also create strains on our relationships. In fact, those who experience above-average stress levels feel less comfortable with their partners, according to one study. These individuals are also more unsure about their relationships than their less-stressed counterparts.
Luckily, there’s an easy solution to the problem. Taking a stroll in the woods can lower blood pressure and stress levels. And, if you take your partner along for the hike, you’ll strengthen your bond by spending quality time together without the distractions of the everyday hustle and bustle.
This is why couples have been flocking to the Gunnison Valley to de-stress and reinforce their bonds with nature and each other. The Rocky Mountain destination delivers some of the US’ most majestic and awe-inspiring backdrops for fun and romance.
At the Gunnison Valley, you can connect with your sweetie in the expansive Colorado wilderness and enjoy a range of seasonal outdoor activities, including hiking, rafting, skiing, and horseback riding. With an array of lodging options — from resort-style accommodations to mountain cabin retreats — and cultural offerings, such as art festivals and world-class cuisine, the mountain towns of Gunnison and Crested Butte have everything a couple needs to take a break from the world and rekindle their love.
Unique among the mountain valleys in Colorado and the Rockies, the Gunnison Valley has retained its small and intimate feel. The area consists of four small mountain towns with the lowest points resting above 7,700 feet. On the flip side, the town of Mt. Crested Butte sits at over 9,000 feet, while the mountain itself is over 12,000 feet.
Once described as a “surf town in the mountains,” Crested Butte is one of those places you can escape to for a relaxing vacation or long weekend. You’ll be greeted like an old friend as you stroll down the town’s main street, Elk Avenue.
While it’s a small town, you’ll have a wide array of shopping, art galleries, and restaurants that may make you think you’re somewhere bigger.
Gunnison has also grown into a recreational mecca. With long and mild summers, it’s the perfect locale for mountain bikers, fishers, boaters, hunters, and all manner of travelers. Gunnison and Crested Butte’s winters are filled with skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, ice skating and more, as guests enjoy Colorado’s famous snowy powder.
While there’s a genuine chill vibe in the Gunnison Valley, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. There are activities for everyone, from the wilderness adventurer to artsy yogi, to enjoy.
If you and your partner are looking to enjoy nature, there are unlimited opportunities to do so. Summer, winter, or the seasons in between, the Gunnison Valley offers a wide scope of outdoor activities. In the winter months, head to Crested Butte, the official Colorado capital of Nordic skiing. With over 60 kilometers of trails in the upper Gunnison Valley, in addition to trails in the Hartman Rocks and further into the valley, it’s the perfect place for this pristine skiing.
If you’re coming for the warmer season, the Gunnison Valley has some of the most exciting rafting in North America. If you’ve ever wanted to experience the exhilaration of navigating waterfalls, come for the Crested Butte Quadruple Crown Class IV and V. But, if 50-foot falls aren’t for you, there are plenty of tamer boating trips where you can experience nature at a more relaxing pace.
During downtime, visitors can pop by the Pioneer Museum to see an antique car exhibit. Couples also enjoy the area’s historic walking tours and visiting the many museums. Check the Vacation Guide and mix in with the locals to absorb the rich cultural scene of the area.
The local community’s self-described beer geeks, organic fiends, and wine connoisseurs have created a unique foodie-friendly environment for visitors to enjoy. Whether you are a sucker for white-glove service or love some greasy-spoon grub, Gunnison and Crested Butte have something that will delight your palate.
If you’re looking for the best local chicken-fried steak, head over to The Gunnisack-Cowboy Bistro Restaurant and Bar. They cook up their vittles from scratch and are said to have mouthwatering desserts as well. For the more refined epicurean taste, The Ice Bar at Uley’s Cabin is sure to wow your paramour with its snowcat-drawn open sleigh to this charming cabin in the woods for a memorable and romantic five-course dinner.
If you’re looking for artisan-made spirits, look no further than female-owned and run Montanya Distillers, a must-visit for rum enthusiasts. Their Platino won best white rum at the World RumAwards in 2015. This rum bar in Crested Butte offers 22 different rum cocktails, tours, free tastings, live music, and outdoor seating.
Breweries, cafes, and restaurants with lots of outdoor seating add to the culinary scene in Gunnison and Crested Butte. You definitely won’t go hungry (or thirsty) while visiting this quaint area’s thriving food scene.
When it comes to making a get-away or date memorable, it’s the unique details that often play into the larger picture. The Gunnison Valley has no shortage of date ideas that will have you talking about your magical time in Colorado for years to come.
In the winter months, head to the area to enjoy distinctive events that combine a love of skiing with exceptional nosh. Snowshoe or Nordic ski out to a secluded Yurt for a five-course meal at the Magic Meadows Yurt Dinner Experience. This experience runs a few times per week throughout the winter months.
If you’re looking for a more secluded date night with a pastoral feel, a ghost town certainly fits the bill. Head out to Gothic, Colorado, a ghost town that houses only four people in the winter. Reserve the Maroon Hut for the night and put your backcountry skills to the test by making your own food and using the modern outhouse. The only way in or out of town is snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, or fat biking, so be ready for a truly rustic experience and more stars in the clear night sky than you can count.
When you need a getaway to de-stress, reconnect, or just to enjoy some private time with your partner, the Gunnison Valley has everything necessary to create an unforgettable romantic adventure.