CRESTED BUTTE was our destination. Since it was a four-hour drive from Denver and with heavy rain in the forecast, my travel buddies and I had a choice to make. We weren’t sure how much longer the renowned wildflowers would be peaking, but we definitely wanted to see why this quaint town nestled in the Elk Mountains was given its nickname. We arrived to a downpour in the dead of night, not truly knowing what to expect from that weekend. The morning after we woke to green mountains, an infinite array of wildflowers, and some of the greatest views in Colorado. No doubt we had made the right decision for our destination.


The gray morning light wakes us up after the rainy night. We’re still wondering what the scenery would look like outside and we finally unzip the tent. Here, my friend MK relaxes in a nearby field to drink in the view.


Recommended by friends -- and being one of the most beloved wildflower spots in Crested Butte, Trail No. 403 is the name of the game. This popular mountain bike route leads you through fields brimming with wildflowers and changing views of the Elk Mountains. With an eye on the clouds above us, we zip up rain jackets and start our walk.


The higher we ascend, the more flowers seem to pop up around us. Even with Crested Butte’s fame, there is no way we could have expected the boundless variety of hues painting the hills before us. Here, Alaina makes her way along the damp and colorful trail.


We arrive to a stunning overlook. From here you can appreciate all the surrounding valleys and forest-blanketed hills. The mountains glowed a vivid green from the recent rains, and our trail seems to fall away as we near a cliff.


With a downpour greeting us, the weather forecast caused a subtle hesitation for the weekends’ fortune. However, after hiking along No. 403 for a few miles, any doubt slipped from our minds. The vibrant flower colors were only enhanced by the stormy skies looming overhead.


Almost upon arrival, it was easy to see what this town is renowned for. Home to the Wildflower Festival every year, Crested Butte offers its visitors an abundance of workshops and events ranging from bird watching, to Jeep tours and photography walks.


We set up camp for the night at Gothic Campground in the pouring rain. As always though, the rain slowed, the clouds parted, and we walked out from the cover of the camp to this view.


Although the night was filled with spouts of thunderous rain, a hint of warm wakes me as the daybreak touches our tent. I unzip the tent to wet surroundings, but gladly find that clouds are clearing from the sky. As I walk along the puddle-dappled road, a veil of light covers the valley floor and illuminates the colors around me.


We often joke that the folly of hiking is our inability to truly see the beauty around us and not trip while moving. However, wildflower season calls for a sense of minute observation and carefully seeing what you may have easily passed before. While we hike along the Rustlers Gulch Trail, the tiny flowers around us keep reminding us to slow down and truly see.


Although humans often fear them, bees are often overlooked in how important they are to our ecosystem. Bees pollinate almost every veggie we eat but also foraging crops for livestock and wild animals. Without pollinators like bees, staple food sources would decrease as well.


The Rustlers Gulch trail leads us over creeks, pine forests, and along a valley floor rich with life. Aspen sunflowers line the path and appear to beam back at us against their stunning green and blue backdrop.


We begin the way back, allowing the surrounding fields to resonate in all our senses. It was a weekend of unyielding uncertainty and indescribable beauty, and maybe that combination was key to our unforgettable Crested Butte wildflower experience.