Snowmass History: Government Trail, 1910

Aspen Historical Society
A photo of aspen trees without leaves lining the Government Trail circa 1940.
Aspen Historical Society/courtesy photo

The 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 they opened two new trails, 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 Ski Area.

“The trail over the hill is 5,350 feet long and has been graded a distance of 3,000 feet, the grade being from 2-½ 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 more than 110-year-old trail is part of an intricate trail system connecting Snowmass Village to Aspen and part of the route for races including the Golden Leaf Half Marathon and formerly part of the Power of Four Mountain Bike race.