Oh Be Joyful- Crested Butte
Location: Crested Butte, which is about 4.5 hours outside of Denver. We drove to the trailhead in our Honda Civic, so it's definietly do-able in a Sudan. However, it's a dirt trail leading up to the campground (the trailhead is out of the campground), and it is pretty bumpy, so be warned. The actual trailhead is on the other side of a river. Most of the cars at the campground were able to just drive through the river (i.e. jeeps, trucks, etc), but obviously a civic wasn't going to make that. We took off our shoes and waded through the river (it was fairly shallow- about knee deep for me).
Elevation/distance: You start at almost 10,000 feet elevation, and end at 11,663, so your elevation climb is almost 2,000 feet. The trail is a "there and back" as opposed to a loop, so the entire mileage from start to finish is a little over 10 miles.
Description: Cal and I were in awe of this trail. We still say it's in the top three hikes we've done in Colorado. We were originally going to climb to the top of the Butte, but we ran into some hikers while we were scouting out trails who ranted and raved about Oh Be Joyful. They said that every single local they had spoken with highly recommended the trail. Since Cal and I were there for the weekend, we decided to get up early the next morning and do the entire trail. It did NOT disappoint. The hike covers rivers, lakes, meadows, woods, and sky-scraper mountains. It honestly feels like you are dropped into the Sound of Music set. Most of your climb is going to be at the end. For the first 80% of the hike, you aren't climbing really at all. The last hour is gets more intense- this is where a lot of your elevation gain is going to be. It's worth it, though, and ends at a stunning lake tucked away in an array of mountains. The hike is SO secluded too. We saw maybe 4-5 other hikers the entire 10 miles. I am not a fan of overly saturated hikes, so I loved that part. It was truly a hike that you can press "reset" on and just enjoy nature completely unplugged.
Who I would recommend it to: Anyone who is visiting Crested Butte. You don't have to complete the entire hike- it is beautiful the entire time, so you can make it as long or as short as you prefer. I would recommend going the whole way if you feel up for it and have enough time. The hardest part of the hike is the length, but the hike itself is not difficult at all until the end when you climb to the length. The trail is NOT well marked, however, so do your research! Cal spent about an hour reading online and screen-shotted a bunch of maps and we still had to ask for directions from another hiker we ran into. Since a lot of the trail is through meadows, it can be easy to get turned around. You'll be fine if you do your research- just don't go into it blindly. :)