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 weather or darkness has added challenges. These frequently used routes have been developed 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.
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 approximately 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.
Travel Highway 82 upvalley from Glenwood Springs or downvalley from Aspen to a large roundabout approximately 1 mile outside of Aspen. Follow the obvious signs for Castle Creek Road and Ashcroft. Follow Castle Creek Road approximately 11 miles to the dead end winter closure at Ashcroft. You will see signs for Express Creek road on your left just before the public parking area but proceed past these to the public parking area. The ski touring center will be on your right and the public parking area is on your left. To access Express Creek you need to cross the meadow immediately east of the parking area to a bridge just northeast of the parking area and the obvious sign for Express Creek Road.
The overnight parking area for the Braun and Friends’ Huts at the Ashcroft Trailhead is located on the east side of Castle Creek Road. Please do not park in the Toklat parking lot, which is located on the west side of Castle Creek Road. Your car may be towed. Do not leave valuables in your car at the trailhead. Unfortunately, cars have been broken into and vandalized in the past. Please park head in, in the designated areas. At times the parking area may be roped off for plowing. Note: There are NO public toilet facilities at the Toklat Gallery; however, there is a public Forest Service toilet in the parking lot for the ghost town of Ashcroft, just south of the overnight parking area.