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

Quick Facts

Castle Creek Road

Beginning Elevation: 8,000 Feet (2493.8 Meters) Maroon Creek Road
Elevation Gain: 1,780 Feet (554.9 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 9,780 Feet (3048.6 Meters) Ashcroft Ghost Town
Length, One-way: 12 Miles (20.0 Kilometers)

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Star Mountain and fall colors are visible from Castle Creek Road about Ashcroft.
Copyright: Marshall Hall - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Star Mountain and fall colors are visible from Castle Creek Road about Ashcroft.
This drive is one of the most enjoyable drives in the Aspen area. The paved road follows Castle Creek 13 miles up the valley. The historic mining town of Ashcroft is located eleven miles up the road. This drive is particularly scenic in the fall.

Most of the Castle Creek Valley is privately owned but some stretches are available to fish. The stretch of water above the first bridge is fishable and a small parking area is available immediately after the bridge on the right (west). The stretch of water above the Pine Creek Cookhouse is also public and available for fishing.

Many other recreation opportunities are accessible from Castle Creek Road. Backpacking, primitive camping, fishing, hiking and walking, mountain biking, motorcycle riding, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are a few of the activities in which visitors to this area can participate. Castle Creek Road is a good starting point for skiers to reach the Markley, Lindley, Taggert, and Green-Wilson Huts.

Directions from Aspen: Drive 1/2 mile west of Aspen on Highway 82 to the roundabout where you turn onto Castle Creek Road.

Seasonal Information:
Best Fall Colors: Mid-September through Late September (NOTE: Spectacular Fall colors. Season varies from year to year.) . Normal Summer Season: April through November (NOTE: Access for all 2WD cars. Maintained by county crews year round.) . Normal Winter Season: December through March (NOTE: Recommended for 4WD only. Maintained by county crews up to Aschcroft townsite. Proper snow tires a must.) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Open to ashcroft during winter. Updated: 2002-12-23 14:42:00.0

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Difficulty: Easy
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Incredible Drive from Aspen to the Upper Castle Creek Valley. Spring green abounds and wildflowers are beginning to bloom. Hiking trails in the Upper Valley are clearing of most snow and a treat to hike. Spectacular views of Star Peak. Highly recommended trip, nice isolated activities near Pearl Pass.

Difficulty: Easy
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Beautiful time of year to visit Ashcroft. The valley is very lush this year because of the wet spring. Wildflowers at their peak.

Difficulty: Easy
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Beautiful time of year to visit the Ghost Town. Interpretive signs very informative. Be prepared to pay the $3 entrance fee--it is not longer a donation. It goes to a worthy cause, however.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Cross-country Skiing Public access is open to Castle Creek Road, but both sides of the road are private lands. The Castle Creek serves as the access road for Ashcroft Ski Touring Center.
ICON Fishing
ICON Hiking & Walking Conundrum Creek, American Lake, Cathedral Lake, Castle Peak Trails
ICON Road Biking Castle Creek Road
ICON Scenic Driving Castle Creek Road
ICON Snowmobiling Snowmobilers can gain access to many roads unmaintained during the winter months from Castle Creek Road. The following are good snowmobiling routes from Castle Creek Road: Montezuma Basin, Express Creek, Midnight Mine and Little Annie Roads. Please beware of avalanche possibilities and snowpack conditions.

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.

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.

More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

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


Local Lodging

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

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