Length: 6.5 miles one-way (10.4 km)
Trail Use: Heavy
Beginning Elevation: 9,400 feet (2865 m)
Ending Elevation: 11,600 feet (3536 m)
USGS Map(s): Capitol Peak
PERMIT INFORMATION: In order to provide quality recreation experiences and to protect the wilderness lands the Forest Service must gather data regarding visitor use and travel patterns. Each party overnighting in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is required to self-register at the Trailhead and to carry a copy of the registration with them during their visit. There is no fee charged and no limit to the number of permits issued.
DAY/BACKPACKING OVERVIEW: A good backpacking hike with access to the Avalanche Creek Trail, West Snowmass Trail, Capitol Peak, and Mt. Daly. This area is popular with horseback riders, hikers, and climbers. There are also grazing allotments, so don't be surprised to see cattle on the trail. Expect to see a large number of climbers on the weekends.
ACCESS: Drive 14 miles west of Aspen on Highway 82 to Old Snowmass and turn left onto Snowmass Creek Road next to the Conoco gass station. Continue 2 miles to the "T" intersection. Take the right turn and continue 5 miles until the pavement ends. Follow the dirt road about 3 miles to the trailhead. The last mile is on a 4WD road. If you don't have 4WD, park in the BLM meadow on the right approximately 2 1/4 miles below the trailhead. The road does continue past the Capitol Lake Trailhead and climbs very steeply to the Hell Roaring Trailhead. The road is slick when wet.
NARRATIVE: The trail descends steeply, losing 600 feet in elevation in the first 1/2 mile. The trail crosses Capitol Creek and bears to the right, paralleling the creek most of the way up the drainage. A sign marks the West Snowmass Trail on the left at about 4 miles. At the 6 mile point the trail switchbacks to a double log crossing. In another 1/2 mile, the trail crosses the stream again. In the fir stands on the right, 1/3 mile from this crossing, are the last campfire sites. Stove sites can be found on the knolls to the right about 50 yards before the Mt. Daly Trail. Camping is not allowed in the meadows or within 200 feet of Capitol Lake. Continue on the trail to Capitol Lake. To reach the pass and Avalanche Creek Trail, follow the trail along the west side of the lake.
ETHICS/REGULATIONS: The Capitol Creek Trail is within the Maroon Bell-Snowmass Wilderness, please educate yourself about Wilderness Ethics and the following rules:
* DOGS MUST BE LEASHED out of consideration for both other people and wildlife.
* Limit group sizes to 10 people and 15 stock/pack animals.
* SANITATION - bury human waste 100 feet from water and 6 inches in the soil.
* Lightweight campstoves are recommended and required above the timberline.
PACK IT IN—PACK IT OUT!! LEAVE NO TRACE!!
Alerts & Notices
Aspen Ranger District
806 W. Hallam
Aspen, CO 81611
White River National Forest
900 Grand Ave.
Glenwood Springs CO 81601