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Camping: Colorado > White River National Forest > Aspen Ranger District

Quick Facts

Difficult Creek Trail

Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1,340 Feet (417.7 Meters)
High Point: 9,500 Feet (2895.6 Meters)
Length: 2.4 Miles (3.9 Kilometers)
Pets: Yes - Leash required
Recommended Season: Summer to Fall
Trail Number: 2196
Usage: Moderate
Vehicle Accessibility: Passenger Vehicle

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

This is an enjoyable day hike through a variety of forest environments. It's a convenient hike for campers at Difficult Campground. The trail leads through oak and ponderosa pine to the Roaring Fork River where it crosses a bridge and begins a gradual ascent. After a broad sagebrush flat, the trail reaches Difficult Creek about 1/2 mile from the trailhead. The trail continues through a pine and fir forest crossing a side stream, then entering a rocky area and starting a steep ascent. At about 2-1/2 miles, 4 old cabins can be seen, the maintained trail ends here. The unmaintained trail is covered with boulders and fallen trees. Beyond this point the wilderness is classified as pristine. Users are expected to use orienteering and map reading skills.

Directions from Aspen: Drive 5 miles southeast of the Aspen Ranger District Office on Hwy. 82 and turn right into Difficult Campground. Travel 0.6 mile and park in the picnic area on the right. The trailhead is in the left corner of the lot.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Memorial Day Weekend through September (NOTE: Trail may be impassible at high elevations due to snow Early in the season.) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Winter Conditions. Beware of avalanche danger and hypothermia. Updated: 2002-12-23 14:36:00.0

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Filed By: Brian Anderson (Prescott Valley, AZ)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: So like, I was trippin the whole time. Trees spoke, the earth shook, etc.
Conditions: The sound the sun made when it shined through the trees was nasty.
Water Availability: Beer.

Filed By: EL (Denver, CO)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Trail goes through woods for majority of length but does contain some nice views of the valley. An easy hike with some moderate inclines that could be a good prelude to a short 14er.
Conditions: Drought year...so every part was dry. Even several runoff washouts were dry.
Water Availability: Bring at least 2 quarts...trip can be longer than you think. If you have a filter there are several water sources along the way.

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Great winter snowshoe hike. Lots of people snowshoe here so the trail stays well-packed and is easy to follow as a result. Must park at entrance as the campground is not plowed in the winter.

Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: Flooding has now subsided and trail is accessible and dry. The Trailbook.

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Not Recommended
Report: Unable to access bridge across the Roaring Fork River because of localized flooding.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Cross-country Skiing Difficult Trail
ICON Hiking & Walking Difficult Creek Trail
ICON Snowshoeing Difficult Trail

Related Activities
Difficult Campground - Difficult Campground is located five miles southeast of Aspen on Highway 82. It has 47 sites with limited spurs to accommodate trailers up to 40'.

More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

Aspen Ranger District, 806 W. Hallam , Aspen, CO, 81611, Phone: 970-925-3445

Links to other sites:
Forest Conservancy - Current Information from Local Volunteers: Closings and Conditions

Forest Conservancy - Current Information from Local Volunteers: Closings and Conditions


Local Lodging

Stay at the Aspen Square Hotel
Stay at the Aspen Square Hotel

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