Our Trail of the Week feature is made possible through a partnership with Trail Run Project.
This trail is a major part of this weekend’s Audi Power of Four 50K, which doubles as the U.S. Ultra Skyrunning Championships in 2015.
Most of this trail is quite mellow and amazing. The final western portion, however, is brutally steep.
This trail provides an awesome singletrack experience from the Tiehack side of Buttermilk Ski area near Aspen to western flanks of Snowmass Ski area. This trail is a well-known classic that’s often considered in two parts—Government Trail, and West Government Trail.
From its inception at Tiehack, the trail crosses Maroon Creek via a pedestrian bridge and turns left onto a residential street. It then leaves the road and begins a steep ascent with switchbacks until reaching Buttermilk Ski area. The trail alternates between aspen groves and ski runs (signs are present to guide you across the runs). Beyond the ski area, the trail climbs slowly through rolling terrain, passing through aspen, lodgepole pine, and flowered meadows where wildlife can often be seen. The trail ends at the Snowmass Ski area.
The far western end of the trail connects to Ditch Trail. Starting at this end provides a serious uphill with several incredibly tough switchbacks. If heading down on this portion, prepare for a knee pounder.
Runnable: 88 percent
Average Grade: 6 percent
Max Grade: 28 percent
Total Ascent: 2,193
Total Descent: -1,146
Highest Elevation: 9,624 feet
For a closer look, check out the interactive map, data, photos and virtual run simulator courtesy of Trail Run Project: