This trail provides an awesome singletrack experience from the eastern flanks of Snowmass Ski Area to the Tiehack side of Buttermilk Ski Area near Aspen. Note that this trail is the well known favorite classic that's much more often ridden in comparison to most of its western continuation, the West Government Trail
. The trail is typically ridden from Snowmass to Buttermilk/Aspen, but it can be ridden in the other direction (more climbing, but still a fun ride), which is often known as Reverse Government. Deep aspen groves, lush meadows, scenic overlooks and technical, rocky sections of trail demand your full attention and effort throughout the ride.
Accessing the Government Trail's western typical starting point can be done from the top of the Powerline
trail, from the Parking area towards the west on the Elk Camp Work Rd., or from the top of Sequel
trail or top of Anaerobic Nightmare
trail. Further towards the East, the trail crosses over the Buttermilk Mountain Work Rd. Take the time to fully charge yourself for the Government as the technical rocky sections and multiple stream crossings demand your full attention and effort. While the trail is most often descending west to east, it's often flat or rolling, with at least one notable climb mid-way through.
The trail offers a full range of trail character and challenges. Most notable is the rock garden just before entering the slopes of Buttermilk ski area. A bit further on, after you descend down through the open ski slope meadows and aspen groves, you'll come to The Root. Skilled, fearless riders will take the shorter inside line and a good 4' roll off a series of root ledges. The more cautious can circumvent the tree around its perimeter and continue down the steep switchbacks below. The Government Trail will finally spit you out onto the paved Tiehack road where you can continue on other paths and trails to Aspen, or you can find your way to nearby parking lots at base of Tiehack or the main base area parking Buttermilk Mountain Ski Area.
(Some signage exists at the eastern end that has the trail continue from Tiehack Rd. very steeply down to the Maroon Creek, and back up to the Aspen Recreation Center, but this is seldom ridden in recent years, and is considered more of a hiking trail. This trail was the access down to the Maroon Creek trail before the Tiehack Bridge was constructed.)