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Backpacking: Colorado > White River National Forest > Aspen Ranger District

Quick Facts

West Snowmass Trail

Average Time: 6 Hours
Beginning Elevation: 8,600 Feet (2680.8 Meters)
Difficulty: Most Difficult
Elevation Gain: 1,500 Feet (457.2 Meters) Capital Creek Trail to Pass
Elevation Gain, Round Trip: 4,500 Feet (1371.6 Meters) To Capital Creek Trail and Back
Ending Elevation: 10,100 Feet (3078.5 Meters) Junction with Capital Creek Trail
High Point: 11,600 Feet (3535.7 Meters) Unnamed Pass near Haystack Mountain
Length, One-Way: 7 Miles
Recommended Season: Summer to Fall
Trail Number: 2187
Usage: Moderate
USGS Maps: Capitol Peak

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Low-impact camping techniques help to keep our wilderness areas pristine
Copyright: - US Forest Service
Low-impact camping techniques help to keep our wilderness areas pristine
This trail connects the Maroon-Snowmass and Capitol Creek Trails. It climbs steeply for 4-1/2 miles to the top of the ridge (passing through the low spot between Mount Daly and Haystack Mountain) separating Snowmass and Capitol Valleys, before plunging another 2-1/2 miles to Capitol Creek. The view from the top is magnificent, several 14,000'+ peaks are visible, and wildlife is abundant. You must be in good shape to hike this trail with a backpack. The trail leaves the Maroon-Snowmass Trail, crosses Snowmass Creek (cold & swift), and climbs through stands of aspen for 1-1/2 miles. At higher elevations the trail journeys through stands of Spruce-fir and flower-filled meadows, passing below Mt. Daly, and finally above the timberline where deer and elk are often seen. From the pass, the trail descends very quickly as it carries you through undisturbed meadows and forests where few people visit.

Directions from Aspen: Drive 6 miles west of Aspen on Highway 82 and turn left onto Brush Creek Road. Continue on Brush Creek Road 5.3 miles and turn right onto Divide Road. Divide Road turns into a gravel road and passes Krabloonik Restaurant & Kennels, then descends steeply to the valley bottom where the road forks. Take the left fork, the trailhead will be just beyond the wooden bridge, on the left side of the road (The Maroon-Snowmass Trail is at the end of the gravel road).NOTE:You will pass the East Snowmass Trailhead on the left. Continue past it to the end of the road. Hike 1-1/4 mile along the Maroon-Snowmass Trail to the junction with the West Snowmass Trail (About a 1/4 mile past the gate across the trail.).

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: May through September (NOTE: Snow may obstruct the trail at high elevations. Be careful at stream crossings in the Early Summer months as the currents may be swift.) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Winter Conditions. Beware of avalanche danger and hypothermia. Updated: 2002-12-23 14:39:00.0

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking
ICON Hiking & Walking West Snowmass Trail
ICON Horseback Riding West Snowmass Trail

More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

Aspen Ranger District, 806 W. Hallam , Aspen, CO, 81611, Phone: 970-925-3445

Links to other sites:
Forest Conservancy - Current Information from Local Volunteers: Closings and Conditions


Local Lodging

Stay at the Aspen Square Hotel
Stay at the Aspen Square Hotel

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