West Snowmass Trail is a 11.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Snowmass, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible from May 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).NOTE:You will pass the East Snowmass Trailhead on the left. Continue past it to the end of the road. Hike 1-1/4 mile along the Maroon-Snowmass Trail to the junction with the West Snowmass Trail (About a 1/4 mile past the gate across the trail.).
Planned on doing the 4 Loop Pass but due to Moose activity we had to change to this trail at the last minute. New plans were to hike West Snowmass Trail to the Snowmass Lake / Buckskin turnoff and come over Buckskin pass and out Maroon Lake where we parked our vehicle. After 2 days of hiking, we were encourage to turn back by a couple older/experienced hikers because the trail was still closed due to the moose and we would likely be forced to turn around by rangers and not allowed to exit at Maroon Lake where our vehicle was waiting. The decision was hard but seemed like the only option. This was our very first hiking voyage in our lifetime and we are 50yrs old. Decided not to make any big mistakes and turned back on the same trail we came in on.
The rain was horrible every afternoon. We were forced into our tents by 6pm every night and layed on the hard-cold ground for 12hrs. We should have taken a large tarp to put over our campsite.
Additionally, our packs were 50+ lbs each. I will easily cut that back to 30lbs on my next hike.
The trail was beautiful but I didn't expect the first 3 miles to be going through gates and walking in cow poop. The poop was thick in places and it got all over my hiking poles and lower pant legs.
The brush overgrowth in areas was 10-12 ft tall and after the evening rain, it would get you soaked as you walked through it the next morning.
Overall..... a beautiful area for my first hike. Definately more difficult than I ever expected but worth it.
Looking forward to going back. Less pack weight and earlier in the season to avoid moose and the heavy rain period. More experience will be helpful as well.
Hiked as a Capitol-Snowmass loop. Was really hoping there would be a bridge as I came down Snowmass and was watching all the snowmelt surge. There is no bridge across Snowmass Creek. There are cows in the wilderness area, but they are not as bad on the Snowmass side as the Capitol side. It is the cowboy trails that will get you lost on the Snowmass side. I followed solid trail to a makeshift barn, then had to find the real trail which did not quite connect. The Capitol side is a choose-your-own adventure due to the cattle trails. The cows do not seem to go over 11500, which means you can actually see Columbines up there. The scenery is alright, but I had just come off some rather good views.