“A tour of Snowmass ski area singletrack that continues to Aspen via the classic Government Trail.”
— Mike Pritchard on Jun 30, 2013
RestrictionsSignificant portions of this suggested ride are closed May 15 - June 20 for elk calving season.
OverviewThis suggested ride is shown as a one way route that starts near Snowmass ski area and ends near Aspen at the base of Buttermilk ski area (Tiehack side). This allows for a car shuttle to be used between start & finish, but the route could easily be turned into a large loop by riding the Owl Creek paved bike path (or throw in some Sky Mountain Park singletrack for a true epic!)
Highlights of this featured ride include many miles of singletrack, beautiful aspen groves, dark timber forests, open meadows (ski runs in some cases), hundreds of columbine and other wildflowers, big mountain views, and technical rocky and root tangled sections that offer a serious challenge even to expert riders.
DescriptionStarting at the small dirt parking lot on Owl Creek Rd., jump onto the adjacent Owl Creek bike path for 50 yards to find the start of the Tom Blake trail. Note that Tom Blake trail is interrupted but then continues after a brief paved uphill on Faraway Road. Tom Blake trail eventually pops out onto Hidden Lane (paved). Make a right and descend Wood Rd. for a quarter mile, then make a left where the final short singletrack segment leads you to Fanny Hill ski slope and the Snowmass Village Mall.
At this point, continue steeply straight uphill on the Fanny Hill dirt 4wd work road. After a quarter mile, the road curves around a ski area facility building and flattens out. If you see signs for Village Bound trail on your left, your on the right route, but continue onwards until you meet up with the Sleigh Ride Trail. Sleigh Ride Trail will lead you via an easy wide path to Divide Rd. where, just about across the road you'll find the start of the Ditch Trail.
While enjoying views of Snowmass' trademark peak, Mount Daly, follow the blue but easy Ditch Trail until you see the sign for Connector trail, where you'll make a left and start climbing Snowmass ski area in earnest. Note that Connector trail coincides with a dirt 4wd work road for a short distance; watch for signage that will keep you on track. Connector trail switchbacks up the mountain until it meets up with West Government Trail, where you'll make another left.
A short while later, make a right and continue climbing on the Village Bound trail until it ends on a dirt work road. This is Sam's Knob work road. Keep climbing for a half mile until you see the Ullerhof Restaurant towards the left, a short distance from a fork in the road. Make a left at the fork in the road, and find the beginning of the Cross Mountain trail.
Cross Mountain begins with a crossing of a large trestle bridge, but quickly becomes challenging singletrack that traverses and rolls up and down across the mid mountain slopes. Cross Mountain eventually terminates where you should make a right onto the West Government Trail (that you rode for a brief time earlier on the route). West. Gov't. trail ends at the dirt Elk Camp Work Road. Descend to the left on this road for a couple hundred yards and find the trailhead start of the Government Trail proper. Take a breath, eat a snack, and make your way to the end of the Government Trail where you might have stashed a car earlier in the day at the Buttermilk ski area, Tiehack parking area!
Study the many trails on Snowmass ski area and you can come up with many variations to shorten or lengthen this shuttle ride, or make it a big loop ride that doesn't require a car shuttle. Check out the many individual trail descriptions for ratings, and more trail information.
ContactsLand Manager: USFS - White River National Forest Office
Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association
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