West Snowmass Trail #2187
ElevationAscent: 3,321' 1,012 m
Descent: -2,093' -638 m
High: 11,910' 3,630 m
Low: 8,589' 2,618 m
GradeAvg Grade: 19% (11°)
Max Grade: 48% (26°)
Popular runs nearby
Audi Power of Four 10K
6.5 mi 10.4 km • Point to Point • 406 ft Ascent 123.67 m Ascent
16.0 mi 25.8 km • Out and Back • 5,337 ft Ascent 1626.58 m Ascent
Capital Lake, Avalanche Creek, Hell's Roaring Pass Loop
24.6 mi 39.6 km • Loop • 6,491 ft Ascent 1978.41 m Ascent
Aspen to Crested Butte via West Maroon Pass
34.4 mi 55.4 km • Point to Point • 5,221 ft Ascent 1591.5 m Ascent
Avalanche Creek Trail
21.3 mi 34.4 km • Loop • 3,834 ft Ascent 1168.72 m Ascent
Cathedral Lake Trail
5.5 mi 8.8 km • Out and Back • 2,098 ft Ascent 639.41 m Ascent
Navigate on-trail with our free app
“A strenuous route that treats the committed runner to exceptional views of the beautiful Elk Range.”— John Shuttlesworth
Features Birding · Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Also see the trail website
for updated information and restrictions prior to heading into the wilderness area.
Shortly after starting the trail, you'll cross Snowmass Creek, which depending on time of year will likely be quite the experience if you have never forded a river. Immediately after crossing the river, you'll pass through a large aspen spotted meadow, which is private property so stick to the trail. Shortly after leaving the meadow, you'll go through a gate that takes you back onto public land (be sure and close the gate).
You then immediately begin your climb into the basin as you travel through dense aspen forests. Along this section there are a few nice camping spots, but you'll definitely need to keep your eyes open as this trail is less traveled than its neighbors and doesn't have many pre-existing campsites.
The trail continues up the fall lines of the surrounding mountains eventually taking you to the foot of the Haystack Pass. Here is where it is easy to lose the trail, so keep your eye on the pass as you enter an alpine meadow that merges into a large scree/boulder. On the top side of the scree field, you'll pick up the trail again near the saddle of the pass.
As you crest the pass, you are treated to wonderful views of the surrounding Elk Range. The trail continues down a fairly steep incline for about 1.5 miles with plenty of rocks (so mind your footing) and through some nice meadows spotted with groves of evergreens, until you reach the junction with the Capitol Creek Trail (#1961).
Run this trail?
We need help with the following missing trail information:
Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow runners know what's here.
Land Manager: White River National Forest - Maroon Bells
Feb 19, 2020: Forest Service seeks comments on Yellowjacket Project