The Goodwin-Greene Hut

The Goodwin-Greene Hut
The Goodwin-Greene Hut skiers and Gold Hill
Goodwin-Greene Hut, Gold Hill to left.

One of the most difficult to find huts, especially in a storm, the Goodwin-Greene Hut is also one of the most inspiring sites of any of the huts in the Elk Range. It is tucked away in the fold of a high, broad basin at the head of Difficult Creek beneath the escarpment of Gold Hill, which rises to the west and defines the end of Richmond Ridge.

Named in honor of two regional mountaineers, Peter Goodwin and Carl Greene, the Goodwin-Greene is often fully buried in deep snow by the time spring ski trips are popular at this remote setting. Once there, skiers have a vast, high expanse of alpine zone skiing with views into Taylor Park to the south, east to the peaks looking over Independence Pass, and north to the distant Flattops.

This hut is a long slog from the Aspen Mountain Sundeck on a one-day approach, so an overnight at Barnard Hut is often taken to break up the trip. Access from Ashcroft is also a big commitment that involves crossing avalanche chutes on Express Creek, then following posts marking the trail over windswept Richmond Ridge.

Once tucked in at the warm, concealed hut, the sun dazzles and storms rattle, and you can feel like an Arctic explorer on a distant continent.

Layout and capacity: All Braun huts have propane burners for cooking, photovoltaic lighting, mattresses and pillows, eating and cooking utensils, toilet paper, matches, and cleaning supplies. Hut users melt snow for water. Goodwin-Greene hut is a one-level structure that sleeps 10 (3 doubles, 4 singles). NO DOGS!

Hut Location:This high altitude hut is located near timberline at 11,680' near the head of the Difficult Creek drainage about 12 miles south of the Aspen Mountain Ski Area, in central Colorado. [locator map]

Snowmobiles: Snowmobiles are not allowed near the Braun Huts. Since 1963 the Braun Huts have been operated as a backcountry ski hut system. Many of the routes to the huts pass through avalanche prone terrain, loose unpacked snow, steep sidehills, and areas restricted to snowmobiles. More information about snowmobiles is available HERE and on the "Winter Trails & Info" tab below. PLEASE DO NOT RELY ON A SNOWMOBILE TO GET YOURSELF OR YOUR EQUIPMENT TO A HUT.

Warning: The Alfred A. Braun Huts and Friends Hut are located in areas of known avalanche terrain with recurring avalanche cycles. Routes are not marked or maintained.

  • More Info
  • Winter Trails & Info


Dates Open: Winter: Thanksgiving through the end of May

Owned By: Alfred A. Braun Hut System Oven: Woodburning Sauna: No

The Goodwin-Greene Hut is most commonly accessed by taking the Express Creek Road from Ashcroft to Taylor Pass and then roughly following the Richmond Ridge Road to the hut. This route is a beautiful ski up the Express Creek Valley and through the high alpine terrain at the end of Richmond Ridge but can be quite challenging. The ski up Express Creek Road crosses under many large avalanche paths and the last few miles over Richmond Ridge is all above treeline and offers few landmarks. During severe weather and whiteout conditions route finding can be next to impossible.

The other common route into the Goodwin-Greene Hut is from the Barnard Hut. While this route doesn't have the same avalanche hazards as skiing in from Ashcroft, the route finding can be just as challenging.

The Alfred Braun Hut System was designed to be a back-country SKI system. As such the Alfred Braun Hut System strongly discourages the use of snowmobiles for access to the huts. The hut system was created for non-motorized travel. As such, snowmobile use can often detract from this unique experience. Our huts are located on U.S. Forest Service land, and each hut has unique travel management restrictions as governed by Forest Service Travel Management Plans. Around the immediate environs of each Alfred Braun Hut is a USFS developed recreation site envelope with snowmobile restrictions. Access to and from each hut is managed within the Developed Recreation Site Boundary. Snowmobiles should not drive to the front door of any hut. There are no snowmobile play areas within the Developed Recreation Site boundaries. Snowmobiles are not allowed in Wilderness Areas, or on private land without permission. In the winter of 2010-2011, the fines for snowmobiling in the Wilderness Areas were $550 per snowmobile. You must know where you are if you expect to remain legal and safe. PLEASE DO NOT RELY ON A SNOWMOBILE TO GET YOURSELF OR YOUR EQUIPMENT TO A HUT.

Snowmobile Restrictions: This hut sits on a "cherry-stemmed" road surrounded by the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area. It is further protected by a developed hut site envelope, which begins at the saddle the road crosses above the hut, a 1/4 mile south of the hut. With the Wilderness Boundary and the terrain surrounding the hut, snowmobile travel from the ridge down to the hut is not possible without incursion into the Wilderness. [boundary map]

Winter Trail Access

  • Trailhead: Ashcroft/Express Creek Elevation: 9,498' Route: Express Creek Road to Taylor Pass then Richmond Ridge Road Total Mileage: 6.6
  • Trailhead: Barnard Hut Elevation: 11,480' Route: Richmond Ridge Road Total Mileage: 3

Winter Route Description

A note on Braun and Friends Route Descriptions: These descriptions are overviews and general in nature and intended for trip planning purposes. They generally describe the frequently used routes from the trailhead and not such routes between the huts, which may or may not overlap these routes. These descriptions are no replacement for the use of proper mountain navigation tools and skills, such as maps, GPS devices, compasses and the like. Navigation in poor weath-er or darkness has added challenges. These frequently used routes have been devel-oped over the years by users. Given the mountainous terrain and severe avalanche hazard, all such routes are subject to objective hazards that cannot be avoided. The route selections to access the huts are generally limited by terrain. There can be user choices within such routes that may reduce but not eliminate such hazards.

Most Frequent Route Description:

  • Distance: 6.25mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2860ft
  • The Goodwin Green is most frequently accessed from the Ashcroft trailhead (9,500’). Parking for hut users is in the lower lot on the East side of the Road. The most frequented route to the Goodwin Greene climbs up Express Creek past the Markley Hut and continues up the Express Creek Valley. At approxi-mately 11,500’ near where the summer road switchbacks South to Taylor Pass this route continues North East gradually climbing out of Express Creek and continuing North East to Gold Hill saddle between Gold Hill 12,361’ and point 12,096’ From here it is a short ski down to the hut which is located at 11,700’ in the highest stand of trees at the top of Difficult Creek. This route is continually exposed to serious backcountry avalanche terrain and involves difficult above tree-line travel that can present extreme navigational challenges and exposure especially in poor weather and darkness. Routes to and between the huts are not marked or maintained.
Interior of Goodwin-Greene