This challenging, groomed Nordic trail, which runs from Aspen to Snowmass along the south side of the Owl Creek and Roaring Fork valleys, provides a great workout and incredible views of Independence Pass and Snowmass.
This challenging, groomed Nordic trail, which runs from Aspen to Snowmass along the south side of the Owl Creek and Roaring Fork valleys, provides a great workout and incredible views of Independence Pass and Snowmass. Owl Creek offers some of the best views of the entire Aspen Snowmass Nordic Trail system. The length of the trail and a few strenuous hills and exciting descents requires that Owl Creek be designated as expert, but most of the route features rolling, gentle terrain through aspen groves and open meadows.
What Makes It Great
Renowned for being one of Aspen’s most scenic Nordic trails, Owl Creek trail provides skiers with gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains, and the opportunity for a longer excursion. The views of Independence Pass to the east and Snowmass and Mt. Daly to the west are truly excellent.
It’s possible to ski the 9.3 miles (15 km) from Aspen Cross Country Center to Snowmass Cross Country Center or vise versa via Owl Creek and take public transportation back to your original starting point. Talk with one of the nordic center employees about how to best do this.
The most popular route along Owl Creek starts at West Buttermilk Road and ends at the Snowmass Cross Country Center. Another well-traveled route takes cross-country skiers along the West Buttermilk Road to the Sinclair Divide and back.
Experienced skiers can ski from the base of Tiehack up along the right side of the alpine trail to the Oregon Trail towards and across Main Buttermilk. Follow the green disks. It’s important for Nordic skiers to be aware of their surroundings and downhill skiers when crossing the ski area. It’s also possible to start from the Aspen Cross Country Center thanks to the new Tiehack Bridge.
Who is Going to Love It
Advanced to expert Nordic skiers will love the length of the trail and the challenging uphill jaunts, and intermediates looking to challenge themselves and improve their ascending and descending skills will also appreciate Owl Creek Trail.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
To start at West Buttermilk drive through the Main Buttermilk parking lot from Highway 82 to West Buttermilk Road at the far right corner of the lot. The Owl Creek Trail crosses 1.4 miles up the road, by a small parking area on the right. Park at the parking area and sign for the Owl Creek Trail with a map of the trails. Park here and head west down the first big hill on the trail. Be careful as this trail crosses private roads in several places. All road crossings are marked, but be sure there is snow coverage across the road before you ski across it!
Attention: No dogs are allowed on the Owl Creek Trail as it crosses several pieces of private property. The trail also crosses the Buttermilk Ski Area on the Aspen side of the trail so be aware of the rules and regulations for skiing on the area itself.
For more details on all the cross country skiing in Aspen and Snowmass contact the Aspen Cross Country Center, 970-925-2145 or Snowmass Cross Country Center 970-923-5700. These centers have maps, equipment rentals, retail shops, ski schools for lessons and tours and passionate employees who love to ski.