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Buttermilk Bowls Loop

Difficult
 4.0 (14) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A climb up Buttermilk Mt. that descends back to Tiehack via Buttermilk Bowls and Government Trail.


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Map Key

8.8

Miles

14.1

KM

60%

Singletrack

10,090' 3,075 m

High

8,020' 2,445 m

Low

2,147' 655 m

Up

2,144' 653 m

Down

9%

Avg Grade (5°)

41%

Max Grade (22°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Portions of this loop, west of the ski area boundary, are closed May 15 - June 20 for elk calving season.
The Sugar Bowls trail as well as the Government Trail are now closed until June 27 for elk calving instead of June 20. All the trail signs have been changed to the 27th.

Overview

This loop actually looks like a figure eight on the map as the dirt road climb up Buttermilk Mountain ski area, crosses over the Government Trail singletrack descent. The big steady climb is rewarded with excellent views of the Maroon Creek valley, Pyramid Peak, and top notch singletrack descending. The early portion of singletrack descending is rutted and challenging, providing a sense of overall adventure to the ride.

Description

From the base of the Tiehack side of Buttermilk Mountain ski area, climb the summer work road upwards to the right. After a quarter mile, make a left at the fork in the road, this is the Oregon Trail. It may appear that the fork is just singletrack, but you'll very soon see that it's actually an old doubletrack road that climbs at a gentle rate, traversing from Tiehack side of the mountain to the main Buttermilk side of the mountain. As the road again dwindles back to singletrack, the Oregon Trail abruptly ends when it meets the Buttermilk Mountain summer work road. Make a left on the road, and begin climbing the mountain in earnest.

The road is steep at times as it winds its way up towards the Cliffhouse Restaurant. Big views of the Roaring Fork Valley are behind you most of the time if remember to look back. It's worth taking a break once you reach the Cliffhouse restaurant to enjoy views of the glacial carved, U-shaped Maroon Creek valley leading up to the 14er Pyramid Peak.

Continue steeply up the work road just beyond the Cliffhouse for another half mile to reach the very top of the West Buttermilk ski lift. From here, find the Buttermilk Bowls trail that leads even further up to the ridge where the adventure riding is the reward. Follow this trail to the hike a bike descent, and then the fall line trail section that finally intersects with the Government Trail. Make a right on Government Trail, where both super sweet and super challenging sections await, including the Rock Garden and The Root. Before long you'll be back where you started.

This ride can easily be ridden from downtown Aspen without having to drive to the Tiehack parking lot. See other Rides and Trails in the system to put together your own route.

Contacts

Shared By:

Mike Pritchard with improvements by Alena Gauba

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 14 votes

#7

in Aspen

#1778

Overall
  4.0 from 14 votes
5 Star
21%
4 Star
57%
3 Star
21%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#7

in Aspen

#260

in Colorado

#1,778

Overall
25 Views Last Month
4,708 Since Jul 19, 2013
Difficult

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Photos

Power of Four Race - Morning on the sublime Government Trail
Jun 26, 2015 near Aspen, CO
Riding through a giant aspen forest... in Aspen!
Jul 23, 2016 near Aspen, CO
Power of Four Trail!
Apr 10, 2015 near Aspen, CO
Comin' round the mountain when they come...
Apr 10, 2015 near Aspen, CO
Descending some of Power of 4's best trail!
Apr 10, 2015 near Aspen, CO
Taking a water break at the top of the climb. Absolutely incredible views after a hardy ride up.
Sep 17, 2019 near Aspen, CO

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Check-Ins

Oct 22, 2020
Natalie Squillante
Aug 3, 2019
Dan Andersen
Jul 10, 2019
David Puchkoff
Med-difficult ascent. Hard first downhill. 1-3ft Rock ledges on steep grade. Hiked that section. Good until rocky traverse nice to end tight corners 9.2mi — 2h 41m
Jul 1, 2019
Joshua Seymour
riding perfect
Aug 5, 2018
Devon Petersen
Jun 9, 2017
Brian Thomas
Sep 8, 2013
Dave Munroe
lots of fun - though a long road climb