The Cheapest Way (With Others)
- Denver is a hub for Southwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines, so you can usually get an inexpensive nonstop flight.
- Use the Slack channel to find others to share your car rental.
- Rent a car from Denver. If you’re a Costco member, their car rental service is exceptional.
The Cheapest Way (On Your Own)
Fly to Denver airport on a discount airline like Southwest. Denver is a Southwest hub, so you can usually get a nonstop flight. Arrive with enough time to get to the bus. Before buying your airline ticket, make sure the return timing for the bus works.
From baggage claim, follow the signs to the transit center. The signs will take you down escalators. At the bottom of the escalators, there are machines to purchase a one way $10.50 ticket which will take you to Union station. You can skip the line by downloading the app from the light rail site.
Take the Light Rail from Denver Airport to Union Station ($10.50). This is the A Line Commuter Train. NOTE: Remain at Union Station – the Gunnison bus departs from a lower level from where the light rail lets off. You don’t need to leave Union Station.
Take the Bus from Union Station to Gunnison ($37). This is a very comfortable bus with power outlets and WiFi (good enough for email but not for streaming). It’s a good idea to buy your ticket online, to guarantee a spot.
Get off at the Econo Lodge in Gunnison. This is also where you’ll depart for your return trip.
Travel the rest of the way to Crested Butte via Alpine Express (you’ll need to make a reservation ahead of time). They’ll take you right to where you’re staying in Crested Butte. The cost is $37.53 one way per adult or $68.38 roundtrip for most addresses. From the Alpine Express home page, click on “Reservations.” Put “Econo Lodge Gunnison” in the space labeled “From Location” and it will produce the detailed address. If the site gives you any problems, just email them: firstname.lastname@example.org or call them: tel:970-728-6000.
For your return trip, reverse the order of the above. Note that if you buy a round-trip ticket from Alpine Express the total cost is a bit cheaper.
When returning, try to arrange it so your light rail train arrives at the airport at least 90 minutes before your flight leaves. This way, you can check your baggage at a special desk at the light rail station.
Flying into Gunnison
- This is often the fastest, and most expensive, option.
- Because of weather, the Gunnison flight can be unreliable.
- Alpine Express takes you from the Gunnison airport to Crested Butte.
- Airline tips
- Montrose airport (about an hour further away than Gunnison) can sometimes be more reliable than Gunnison. Southwest Airlines and United now serve Montrose. There are services to bring you from Montrose to Crested Butte, or you can rent a car.