You'll find incredible scenery and wildlife. There is free camping, trails and perfectly dark skies for astrophotography.

At a literally breathtaking 11,250 feet, Paradise Divide offers seclusion and scenery that can't be beat. Just fifteen miles outside of the world renowned ski resort Crested Butte, this area boasts wildflowers, wildlife, stunning peaks, and opportunities to watch amazing sunrises and sunsets paint the sky.

The drive up to Paradise includes multiple other recreation areas available for public use. You'll pass the mysterious turquoise waters of Emerald Lake, a local gem that offers fishing and kayaking. Many single track mountain trails trace the landscape and are easily accessible from the road, as well. When you arrive at the top of the divide, you'll be surrounded by reddish mountain faces, a small lake, as well as an alpine valley filled with vegetation and mountain animals like marmots and an occasional deer. Make sure you plan your timing to make it up before sunset hour; this is something you won't want to miss! Miles of panoramic landscape are easily viewed from the top of the divide and allow for multiple different angles for interesting and gorgeous photography. There are multiple dispersed camping sites which include fire pits and an area to park. Not many people visit the area, so it's safe to bet that you'll have very few, if any, neighbors when you're camping.

After the sun sets, the stars will cover the sky. The area is extremely dark which allows for astrophotography. The Milky Way is clearly visible as well as hundreds of constellations.

The morning light in the area allows for especially beautiful photography opportunities. Golden light washes through the basin and illuminates the many peaks in the area. Other daytime activities in the area include birding, hiking, trail running, biking, and simply enjoying the abundance of nature.

Potential adventure is everywhere at Paradise Divide. From valleys to lakes to mountains, this place truly is a little slice of heaven.

Pack List

  • Car with 4 wheel drive and high clearance (recommended, but not necessary)
  • Tent or hammock
  • Sleeping bag
  • Camera
  • Any equipment for hiking or fishing if desired
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Activities Chillin, Camping, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Hike Gothic Mountain

The Gothic mountain trailhead starts at 9600' about 10 miles outside Crested Butte, Colorado. A four wheel or all wheel drive vehicle is recommended to make it to the trail head.

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Hike and Swim at Devil's Punchbowl

Drive north of Crested Butte to Schofield Pass until you come to the sticker-covered sign. Unless you have an ATV, park the car and descend along the infamous and deadly Schofield Pass Road.

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Hike to Frigid Air Pass

About 15 miles away from the ski resort town of Crested Butte lies the West Maroon Pass trailhead.

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