Snowmass Lake

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Trail Stats & Info

RT length 16 miles
Elevation gain 2,612 feet
Difficulty moderate (due to length)
Lowest elevation 8,442 feet
Highest elevation 11,054 feet
Trail type out & back
Trails Illustrated Map™ # 128
Restrooms @ TH? no
hike to snowmass lake
Snowmass Lake

Directions

From Glenwood Springs, take Hwy 82 south towards Aspen for 27 miles. After passing Basalt, take a right onto Snowmass Creek Rd (CO 11). In about 1.7 miles, take a left at the T interesection to continue onto Snowmass Creek Rd. In about 7 miles from Hwy 82, the road becomes a dirt road. 10.7 miles from Hwy 82, turn left and drive over the creek. Then at the T intersection, turn right and follow this road to the end at the parking lot. The trailhead is at the far left of the parking lot.

From Aspen, take Hwy 82 west out of Aspen and turn left onto Brush Creek Rd (CO 10) through Snowmass Village. After 6 miles, Brush Creek Rd. becomes CO 11 or Snowmass Creek Rd. Follow the road till the end to the parking lot.


Photos

Description

We decided to hike Snowmass Mountain by hiking to Snowmass Lake first and setting up a base camp there for 2 nights. So, ultimately this was a 2 night backpacking trip, with a hike up to the mountain on day 2. During this time of year, the aspen trees were in full color and it was absolutely gorgeous. The first 2/3 of trail to the lake weaved through groves of Aspens. You couldn’t help stop to look up and just stare at the leaves or look at vast patches of yellow at the mountains ahead. The first half of the trail is a very gradual climb with many areas that are flat. You will have to pass 3 gates along the trail as this area is private land. The trail descends for a short distance to a trail junction. From here take a left to continue on Maroon-Snowmass trail. The trail to the right is West Snowmass trail.

Fall Colors

Fall Colors

This section is fairly flat as well, but rocky. At mile 6, there is large log jam in the creek and you will need to maneuver over the logs to cross the creek and continue on the trail on the other side. As it was Fall, the water level was pretty low, so it was easy crossing the log jam. I imagine in the spring or early summer the water level will be much high, so be prepared to get your feet wet. From here to the lake, the trail is a little bit steeper and has several switchbacks. Just before the lake, you will reach another trail junction. Continue straight to hike to Snowmass Lake. At the junction, there are some group campsites to the left and this area campfires are allowed, unless posted otherwise. Beyond this junction towards the lake or 1/4 mi radius from the lake, campfires are not allowed. There are several campsites near the lake, but no camping is allowed right next to the lake. From the lake, you can see the towering Snowmass Peak, Hagermann Peak, and Snowmass Mountain on the southwest side of the lake. The view is breathtaking and even more so if the water is calm and you can catch the reflection of the peaks on the lake. From here, you can camp at the lake or continue on to either Buckskin Pass or Trailrider Pass. If you hike to Buckskin Pass, the trail will ultimately end up at Maroon Lake. For our trip, our eyes were set on Snowmass Mountain.

On day 2, we hiked up to the summit of Snowmass Mountain, which you can view the trail post labeled “Snowmass Mountain” if you’re interested in hiking that 14er. So, to fast forward onto day 3, we packed up our campsite and hiked back down to the same trail we came up back to the parking lot/trailhead. Boy, did we have super sore muscles and joints, but it was all worth it to cross off another 14er off the list and see the colorful aspens!

Comments or Questions?

About Jake & Mar

Jake and Maria have spent a good chunk of their time hiking and exploring all that the Colorado wilderness has to offer. Their ambition is to seek out all the hidden treasures of the Rocky Mountains from pristine alpine lakes, to tall dense Aspen forests, to high mountain summits. They both bring their own unique talents and abilities to Findhikingtrails.com, whether it's the organizational skills and consistent ambition to take on new terrain, or the desire to creatively record and document the experience. They are truly passionate about their site and the outdoors. "We thank you for visiting Findhikingtrails.com and wish you safe and fun adventures!"