History: Trail building
Special to the Sun
Government Trail was often referred to as the Brush Creek trail and is noted so in the many trail maps from the 1970s, but its history goes back even further. The 1910 Aspen Democrat-Times announced in August that two new trails had opened, including a section of trail that connected the “old wood road at the Holmstrum ranch after crossing the Midland track” (now Highway 82) to the “trail at the White ranch at the head of Owl creek” (Whites Lake area). This is the area of trail from Owl Creek to Tiehack across what is today Buttermilk Mountain.
“The trail over the hill is 5,350 feet long and has been graded a distance of 3,000 feet, the grade being from 2½ to 3 feet wide. The trail has been cleared of timber and brush so that animals with packs can pass over without tearing their packs.”
The trail then continued from Whites Lake to the east fork of Brush Creek. Now this 100-plus-year-old trail is part of an intricate trail system that connects Snowmass Village to Aspen and is part of a few summer races including the Golden Leaf half-marathon and the Power of Four mountain-bike race.
Editor’s note: This page is a partnership between the Snowmass Sun and the Aspen Historical Society with
two primary goals in mind: to improve the knowledge of Snowmass history in the region and to collect historical photographs of the Snowmass region for the society. If you have pieces of history to donate, please send them to
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The Aspen Camp of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has received a $5,000 grant from the Rocky Mountain Health Foundation that will help the Old Snowmass camp offer a winter retreat for adults who are deaf or hard of hearing.