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Government Trail



10.5 mile 16.8 kilometer point to point
88% Runnable


Ascent: 2,193' 669 m
Descent: -1,146' -349 m
High: 9,624' 2,933 m
Low: 8,062' 2,457 m


Avg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 28% (16°)


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Trail shared by Tom Robson

This classic trail is a must for any serious runner. Enjoy during fall colors for best experience.

Tom Robson

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Government Trail is closed for elk calving from May 15 - June 20. Additionally, the trail is outside the Wilderness, but borders private property.

Runner Notes

Most of this trail is quite mellow and amazing. The final western portion, however, is brutally steep.

This awesome trail is a significant portion of the Audi Power of Four 50k and 2015 Audi Power of Four 25k.


This trail provides an awesome singletrack experience from the Tiehack side of Buttermilk Ski area near Aspen to western flanks of Snowmass Ski area. This trail is a well-known classic that's often considered in two parts - Government Trail, and West Government Trail.

From its inception at Tiehack, the trail crosses Maroon Creek via a pedestrian bridge and turns left onto a residential street. It then leaves the road and begins a steep ascent with switchbacks until reaching Buttermilk Ski area. The trail alternates between aspen groves and ski runs (signs are present to guide you across the runs). Beyond the ski area, the trail climbs slowly through rolling terrain, passing through aspen, lodgepole pine, and flowered meadows where wildlife can often be seen. The trail ends at the Snowmass Ski area.

The far western end of the trail connects to Ditch Trail. Starting at this end provides a serious uphill with several incredibly tough switchbacks. If heading down on this portion, prepare for a knee pounder...

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Oct 8, 2016
K.O. Campbell
Sep 26, 2015
Gus Delaporte
Golden Leaf half

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 5 votes


in Aspen


  4.8 from 5 votes
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in Colorado


11 Views Last Month
2,153 Since Apr 8, 2015



Runners, crushing it along Government Trail.
Apr 3, 2015 near Snowmas…, CO
Sunrise in the Rockies!
Apr 3, 2015 near Snowmas…, CO
Nearing the final push on Government Trail.
Apr 3, 2015 near Snowmas…, CO
Powering through Owl Creek.
Apr 3, 2015 near Snowmas…, CO
Hundreds of thriving columbine flowers at the bottom of the Buttermilk Bowls trail
Apr 3, 2015 near Snowmas…, CO
The meadow just after the Anaerobic Nightmare trail connection
Apr 3, 2015 near Snowmas…, CO


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