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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Aspen Ranger District > Castle Creek Area

Quick Facts

Castle Creek Area





Satellite and Topo Map




General Description

The Castle Creek Valley lies to the south of Aspen between Aspen Mountain and Aspen Highlands ski areas. At the head of the valley lies the fourteen thousand foot tall Castle Peak. The ghost town of Ashcroft and the Ashcroft Cross-Country Ski Area are located below the peak. Cathedral and American lakes are located nearby. The lower end of the valley is dominated by views of Hayden Peak. Conundrum Creek is located to the west of Hayden.

Directions from Aspen: Castle Creek Road - Drive 1/2 mile west of the Aspen Ranger District on Highway 82 to the round-a-bout and take the Castle Creek exit. Pass Aspen Valley Hospital and continue on Castle Creek Road. Castle Creek Road provides access to Midnight Mine, Little Annie Basin, Express Creek/Taylor Pass, Pearl Pass and Montezuma Basin Roads.



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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Paragliding Aspen Ski Area
Yes
ICON Tent Camping primitive camping available on American, Cathedral and Conundrum Trails.
Yes
ICON Cross-country Skiing Ashcroft Ski Touring, Richmond Hill Road, Castle Creek Road, Express Creek Road
Yes
ICON Cold Water Fishing Cathedral and American Lakes
Yes
ICON Four-Wheel Driving Montezuma Basin, Express Creek, Taylor Pass Divide, Midnight Mine and Little Annie Roads.
Yes
ICON Hiking & Walking Cathedral, Castle Peak, American Lake and Conundrum Trails.
Yes
ICON Horseback Riding Montezuma Basin, Express Creek, Taylor Pass Divide, Midnight Mine, Pearl Pass and Little Annie Roads - motorized vehicles are also permitted.
Yes
ICON Mushroom Identification Cathedral, Castle Peak, American Lake and Conundrum Trails.
Yes
ICON Wildflower Identification Cathedral, Castle Peak, American Lake and Conundrum Trails.
Yes
ICON Resort Lodging Castle Creek Road - Elk Mountain House
Yes
ICON Mountain Biking Montezuma Basin, Express Creek, Taylor Pass Divide, Midnight Mine, Pearl Pass and Little Annie Roads.
Yes
ICON ATV Riding Montezuma Basin, Express Creek, Taylor Pass Divide, Midnight Mine, Pearl Pass and Little Annie Roads.
Yes
ICON Motorcycle Riding Montezuma Basin, Express Creek, Taylor Pass Divide, Midnight Mine, Pearl Pass and Little Annie Roads.
Yes
ICON Recreation Areas Castle Creek Area
Yes
ICON Road Biking Castle Creek Road
Yes
ICON Scenic Driving Castle Creek Road
Yes
ICON Backcountry Skiing Castle Creek, Richmond Hill and Express Creek Roads to hut system
Yes
ICON Snowmobiling Montezuma Basin, Express Creek, Taylor Pass Divide, Midnight Mine and Little Annie Roads.
Yes
ICON Attending Talks & Programs Ashcroft Ghost Town
Yes



Related Activities
American Lake Trail - This trail can be either strenuous day hike, or a short backpack. It leads to American Lake.

Ashcroft Historic Townsite - Ashcroft is a ghost town about 13 miles from Aspen on Castle Creek Road. A National Historic site, built in the 1880's, Ashcroft was the site of an mining camp with a population of over 2,000 people.

Ashcroft Ski Touring Center - Located 12 miles above Aspen in the spectacular Castle Creek Valley, Ashcroft offers 35 kilometers of groomed terrain for all levels of Nordic skiers.

Aspen Mountain - Aspen Mountain rises imposingly out of the heart of downtown Aspen to 11,212 feet. For over fifty years, skiers have looked to the steep slopes above town for some of the most challenging skiing in the world.

Castle Peak - Castle Peak, at 14,265 feet, is the highest peak in the Elk Range. It is located 12 miles south of Aspen at the end of the Castle Creek Valley

Cathedral Lake to Electric Pass Trail - This is a difficult day hike and strenuous backpack trip. It is recommended to plan an overnight visit.

Cathedral Lake Trail - Cathedral Lake Trail is a difficult day hike and strenuous backpack trip. Cathedral Lake is very scenic with fair fishing.

Conundrum Creek Trail - Although the trail is moderate in terrain, it is a long day hike or 2 day backpacking trip. The trail generally parallels Conundrum Creek up the valley, following an old jeep trail which then turns into a trail.

Express Creek Road to Taylor Pass Road - This is a popular high-altitude jeep route beginning at Express Creek Road. Because of the altitude snow is often present well into mid-July.

Little Annie Road - This road is fairly well maintained, but used heavily by 4 WD's, especially on weekends. This is a very scenic ride with great views of the Mount Hayden and the Castle Creek Valley.

Midnight Mine Four-Wheel Drive Road - This is a fairly well maintained dirt road with several steep sections. It is not used by four-wheel drives as much as Little Annie or Summer Roads.

Montezuma Basin Four-Wheel Drive Road - There rugged jeep road provides access to Crested Butte via Pearl Pass, several Braun system huts and the starting point for climbing Castle Peak.

Taylor Pass Road - This road climbs from the Taylor River Valley, over Taylor Pass, to the Castle Creek Valley, near Ashcroft. This road can be very rough at times, check at District Office before using.



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