MTB Project Logo

One of Aspen's oldest trails, this classic is a must for any serious rider. Enjoy during fall colors for best experience

Your Rating: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add To-Do · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key






9,375' 2,857 m


8,061' 2,457 m


422' 129 m


1,711' 522 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (11°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Not Allowed

Features Views

The portion of this trail that is west of the Buttermilk ski area boundary is closed May 15 - June 27 for elk calving season. (Note: this is one week longer than in the past as of 2020 due to a revised WRNF closure order.)


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 the base of Tiehack or the main base area parking at Buttermilk Mountain Ski Area (which conveniently has a great BBQ joint inside the Inn at Aspen Hotel).

(Some signage exists at the eastern end that has the trail continue from Tiehack Rd. very steeply down to 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).


Shared By:

Mike Pritchard

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 34 votes


  4.4 from 34 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Trail Rankings


in Colorado


5 Views Last Month
20,231 Since Jul 23, 2013
Difficult Difficult



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
beautiful singletrack through aspen groves
Aug 5, 2013 near Snowmas…, CO


Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Jul 14, 2022
Wil Sarchet
Nov 1, 2021
Lalo Arevalo
Oct 22, 2020
Natalie Squillante
Sep 5, 2020
Rachel Bowler
Jun 30, 2020
Eric Harrill
End of day Gov ride to Aspen to finish Snowmass Mega loop. 6.6mi
Sep 2, 2019
Margot Ellis
Aug 22, 2019
Eamon McLaughlin
Mar 19, 2019
Jason Levy

Join the Community

Create your FREE account today!
Already have an account? Login to close this notice.

Get Started