5 Day Summer Hike and Mountain Bike Car Camping Adventure



Description:

This active trip combines the adventure of hiking and biking in Aspen with forays into nearby Crested Butte for an unforgettable week of active fun in one of Colorado's most beautiful areas. While this trip offers a combination of outdoors activities, staying indoors one or two night may be a nice option to clean up-- though the camping in this area is gorgeous. It's your call--either way you're going to have a blast!

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Author: James Dziezynski


Day 1 - Aspen


Day 1: Hiking the Maroon Bells Wilderness (Note: It is suggested to pick up local guide books and maps for some of the hikes and biking available for this itinerary. Here are some excellent biking guide book options: Mountain Biking Crested Butte by Bob D’Antonio and Mountain Biking Aspen also by Bob D’Antonio. For great hiking books, try: Aspen/Snowmass Hiking Trails by Warren Ohlrich, Best Summit Hikes in Colorado by James Dziezynski and Hiking Colorado’s Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness by Eric Molvar). This itinerary is geared towards active and adventurous people with a good fitness level. For your first full day in Aspen, get an early start! Your first day of hiking visits the beautiful Maroon Bell wilderness. How challenging you make the day is up to you—a peaceful walk to Maroon Lake all the way to climbing either of Maroon Bells impressive summits (or one of the nearby peaks). Keep in mind if you’re going for the summits, you’ll need a very early start—preferably pre-dawn—because the terrain is rugged and the mileage is long (anywhere between 10-15 miles round trip at altitude). Depending on your aspirations for the day (scramble to summits or simply meander along Maroon Creek into the valley a bit) you'll want to base your start time accordingly. An early start is recommended for two reasons: you want to beat the thunderstorms that roll in the early afternoon and the road up to the trailhead is only accessible by bus from mid-June through September from 8:30 AM -5 PM. If you want to drive your own car, you'll need to get there before they close the road. No matter what your goals, you'll need to eat a hearty breakfast and Poppycock's in Aspen is a great place to fuel up. You will need to take the shuttle bus after 8:30 from Ruby Park in Aspen; contact the Roaring Fork Transit Agency at 925-8484 for more information (shuttles run regularly all day long during the main tourist season). When you are done, head for the Silver Queen campground right in town in Aspen. It’s a good idea to make reservations, especially during the summer season ($13 per night). The sites are well maintained and there are facilities here. If you want to eat in town instead of chowing down on camping fare, Aspen has the full gamut of restaurants in nearly every culinary style for every budget. Hikers tend to migrate towards hearty meals at establishments without dress codes—such as Boogie’s Diner or Woody Creek Tavern—but the choice is yours. Nileguide has a full list of dining options if you’re feeling in the mood for other cuisine.


1

Difficult Campground and Group Site

expert pick

Location:

5 miles southeast on Highway 82, past Mile Marker 45, 81-611 POL
Roaring Fork River, Aspen Ranger District
Aspen, CO 81611

Contact:

tel: +1 970 927 0532 (Information) / +1 877 444 6777 (Reservations)


2

Maroon Lake Scenic Trail

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expert pick

Location:

806 W. Hallam
Aspen, CO 81611

Contact:

tel: 970-925-3445


3

Maroon Creek Trail

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Location:

806 West Hallam Street
Aspen, CO 81611

Contact:

tel: +1 970 925 3445
fax: +1 970 925 5277


4

Silver Queen Campground

Location:

Maroon Creek Road
(5 miles southwest of Aspen)
Aspen, CO 81611

Contact:

tel: +1 970 925 3445 (Aspen Ranger District- US Forest Service)
fax: +1 970 925 5277


Day 2 - Woody Creek, Aspen


Day 2: Bike Government Trail and camp along Schofield Pass in Crested Butte/Aspen Day 2 finds you hitting the mountain bike circuit and the famous East Government Trail. This 13 mile adventure has all types of terrain and passes through beautiful stands of Aspen trees. It’s a challenging trail; if you’re looking for something more moderate there are some good 4x4 roads and singletrack options available. The local bike shops are helpful in helping pick out a good trail. Aspen Velo is a great place to get ride ideas or rent a bike if you need to (http://www.aspenvelo.com/). After the ride, pack up your gear and take a drive over to Crested Butte. There are two options: Kebler Pass south of Aspen for all vehicle types and Schofield Pass which is more direct but requires a high clearance 4x4 vehicle. Kebler Pass is a well maintained dirt road that runs about 30 miles and ends in the town of Crested Butte. From there, you’ll want to follow main street up to Schofield Pass. On the Crested Butte side, the pass is a well-maintained dirt road passable by all vehicles (with a few bumps here and there). 4x4s can begin Schofield Pass in Aspen and drive up and over the summit of the pass. On the Crested Butte side above the town of Gothic, there are dozens of free car camping pull outs to set up camp for the night (though they tend to be a little crowded on the weekends). There are also side roads from the top of the pass that offer even more camping (some rugged cars can make it to these areas but your car make bottom out in a few spots). If you have a car, I’d suggest finding a nice campsite above the town of Gothic on the Crested Butte side of Schofield Pass.


1

Woody Creek Tavern

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expert pick

Location:

2858 Woody Creek Plaza
Woody Creek, CO 81656

Contact:

tel: 970 923 4585


2

Smuggler Mountain Road

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Location:

806 West Hallam Street
(Forest Service Office)
Aspen, CO 81611

Contact:

tel: +1 970 925 3445
fax: +1 970 925 5277


3

Boogie's Diner

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expert pick

Location:

534 East Cooper Avenue
At Hunter
Aspen, CO 81611

Contact:

tel: 1 970 925 6610


4

Government Trail

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Location:

806 West Hallam Street
(Forest Service Office)
Aspen, CO 81611

Contact:

tel: +1 970 925 3445
fax: +1 970 925 5277


Day 4 - Aspen


Day 4 Bike the fabled 401 trail. Wake up and get an early start—it’s time to bike one of best mountain trails out there! The 401 starts at the summit of Schofield Pass; it’s best to just ride your bike up from camp to the start since you’ll be making a huge loop. The marked trail starts with some ambitious climbing at over 10,000 feet and opens up to beautiful alpine meadows. At the apex of the ride, begin a long and exciting singletrack descent (or which nearly all is rideable by most bikers, minus very short sections were you may want to dismount for safety) that brings you down along the north side of Schofield Pass. You’ll have several options if you want to shorten the ride with exits back to Schofield Pass in several spots. Return to camp after this amazing ride and get ready to head back to Aspen (either via Kebler Pass for cars or up and over Schofield Pass for high clearance vehicles). Returning via Kebler Pass gives you the advantage of driving through Crested Butte one more time for food, fuel, snacks, etc. but either way will get you back to Aspen. If you’re getting tired of washing up in rivers, there’s lodging of all degrees to be found in Aspen. From the humble Comfort Inn to the extravagant Hotel Aspen, the choice is yours but remember Aspen can get very pricey for lodging and dining! There’s also the option of camping in town at Silver Queen or Difficult Campgrounds—or you can go just up the road a bit to the Lost Man Campground (also $13 per night) up Independence Pass to get away from the crowds.


1

Hotel Aspen

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expert pick

Location:

110 West Main Street
Aspen, CO 81611

Contact:

tel: +1 800 527 7369(Toll Free)


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