Passenger or 4WD Vehicle - 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 is slick when wet.
Satellite and Topo Map
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
Snow-covered Capitol Peak rises 14,130' out of the valley
From the trailhead the trail descends steeply, losing 600 feet in elevation the first 1/2 mile. The trail then 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 only sites can be found on the knolls to the right about 500 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.
Directions from Aspen: Drive 14 miles west on Highway 82 to Old Snowmass and turn left. Continue 2 miles to the "T" intersection. Take the right turn 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.
June through September
(NOTE: Snow may obstruct the trail at high elevations through July.)
Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Winter Conditions. Beware of avalanche danger and hypothermia. Updated: 2002-12-23 14:35:00.0
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Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl Recommend to a Friend: Highly Report: A well marked trail which afford stunning views at very turn. Often you would pop out of the trees, turn to look over your shoulder and be rewared by a long open valley or jagged peaks with elk clings to them. The mountain flowers were in full bloom, adding brilliant reds and oranges, bright blues and soft pinks to the meadows around the lake.
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl Recommend to a Friend: Highly Report: The views were stunning. Sometimes you would pop out of the trees, turn to look over your shoulder and be rewarded with views of long open valleys or jagged peaks with elk clinging to them. It is a well marked trail and well worth the effort.
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl Recommend to a Friend: Highly Report: This summer (1999) a large mudslide occurred just before the lake. A portion of the trail has been obliterated, but this area quickly dried up and is not much of an obstacle for hikers, though possibly for horses. Watch for cows along the way!
Camping is not allowed in the meadows surrounding or within 200 feet of Capitol Lake.
Hiking & Walking
Capitol Creek Trail
Capitol Creek Trail
Capitol Creek Trail (Avalanche Creek Access) - This trail starts 9 miles up Avalanche Creek trail and ends at the pass. The trail starts in conifers then opens up into alpine areas with wildflowers and fantastic views of Avalanche Creek.