The Crested Butte Wildflower Festival kicks off Friday and runs to July 17. Now entering its 36th year, the festival features 152 events facilitated by 41 instructors, tour guides and volunteers — it’s a pretty big deal.

The festival is dedicated to the conservation and appreciation of the roughly 1,500 species of wildflowers that call the valley home. Given Crested Butte’s status as “The Wildflower Capital of Colorado,” the celebration’s placement is only fitting.

Visitors can sign up for a plethora of hikes and workshops, ranging from “Butterflies of Kebler Pass & Lake Irwin” to “Wildflower Painting & Prosecco.” Event leaders offer geologic, botanic, culinary and artistic expertise to incoming attendees.

Olivia Murphy-Welconish, assistant director, reflects via email on the importance of the festival, citing its ability to local and visiting communities together:

“It serves as a catalyst for sparking curiosity, joy and childlike wonder.”

Sign Up For Free: Denver Gazette Outdoors

Success! Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

Even more importantly, she says, “(it) invokes a deep sense of connectedness to nature, inspiring an understanding for the necessity of preservation efforts.”

Murphy-Welconish further vouches for the irreplaceability of in-person wildflower appreciation — “No matter how many pictures you see, videos you watch, or books you read, nothing can compare.”

The nonprofit asks for wildflower connoisseurs, at home or in the Crested Butte valley to practice “Leave No Trace” principles while enjoying the flora and fauna. Particularly, avoid picking flowers, “so that they can continue to support our pollinators and in turn, our pollinators can continue to spread their seeds for years to come.”