“The western, seldom ridden portion of the popular Government Trail.”
— Mike Pritchard
This trail provides a very challenging traverse across the middle of Snowmass Mountain ski area. Given the many other trail options on the mountain, this route is used less often than its much more popular eastern continuation - Government Trail
- that connects Snowmass to Buttermilk & Aspen.
The far western end of the trail connects to the Ditch Trail
. Starting at this end provides a serious uphill with several technical switchbacks (this is actually a hike-a-bike for most mere mortals). Coming downhill on this portion is fun and fast, but you'll be on the brakes continuously. The trail is a shallow rut at this end, but it's relatively smooth, just some technical roots along the way.
Once on the middle section, you'll have options to connect with Village Bound
, Connector trail
, and Cross Mountain trails. There has been some recent work on the trail to improve its quality and sustainability, but you'll still encounter steep technical sections, each much shorter than the western portion. As with other trails on the mountain, this one traverses in and out of the forested sections between the ski trail meadows.
The far eastern portion is used very often to connect the lower eastern end of the Cross Mountain trail to Government Trail
proper (where you'll find a kiosk and map of the area). Connect the two trails by descending 50 yards on the Elk Camp Work Rd.