East Snowmass Creek Overlook Trail is a 5.4 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Snowmass, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from June until September.
Directions from Aspen: Drive 6 miles west of Aspen on Highway 82 and turn left onto Brush Creek Road. Continue on Brush Creek Road 5.3 miles and turn right onto Divide Road. Divide Road turns into a gravel road and passes Krabloonik Restaurant & Kennels, then descends steeply to the valley bottom where the road forks. Take the left fork, the trailhead will be just beyond the wooden bridge, on the left side of the road (The Maroon-Snowmass Trail is at the end of the gravel road).
Awesome trail. Especially demanding if you are not acclimated to the altitude. We encountered very few hikers on the three day trip to Willow Lake and back. Do it. A number of wonderful trails in this wilderness area.
I have done this trail many times. This review is composed of several of these hikes. This trail is fairly steep, with many pitches. The TH is very close, and is one of my favorites. The beginning is just past a wooden bridge to the left. Going past the sign and NPS map you soon start a fairly steep pitch for about a mile with a few switchbacks. A forest of conifers, with patches of Aspen, dominate undergrowth, which includes service berries (when ripe, look and taste like blueberries)raspberries, poisonous red and white moonberries as well as Queeen Anne's lace.
At the end of one of the switchbacks there is a watefall spectacular during spring runoff. When you reach a White River National Forest sign the trail levels out for another mile or so. After crossing a couple of glades and meadows there is an intersection where the Ditch trail ends (this goes to Snowmass village where the Base village is located and connects to the Government Trail)and a sign for the trail indicates a hard right hand turn. The trail generally follows the drainage from Willow Divide, 4320 ft above the TH. After going through more forested areas, there are the first views worth noting.
There are usually very few people on this trail and the vastness is inescapable. The trail goes through alpine grassy meadows and then goes once more into a conifer forest. Once through the forest there is more open area populated by a profusion of wildflowers of every color in late spring. A showy array of blue, purple, white, yellow, pink and red, short and tall, offer nature's finest perfumed boquet to be had. If you love flowers, this is a must!
After more switchbacks with a grade that varies from fairly steep to moderate, and meandering across seasonal washes the trail begins to arc to the left after a while. When leaving the treeline and getting to the steepest part, you can see Willow Divide. Whe reaching the divide you can see Willow lake far below and where the trail continues to the right to meet with the Willow Lake trail with a spur going to Willow Lake to the left or continuing to the Maroon Snowmass Trail and Snowmass Lake. The Maroon Snowmass Trail will go back to the same road the East Snowmass TH is on making the potential for an exceptionally brutal one day loop. If you want to enjoy moments of beauty, this loop should be done over a 2 day period.