Opa's Taylor Hut from Ashcroft Trailhead

Total Mileage


Trailhead Elevation


Route Description

Warning: The Alfred A. Braun Huts and Friends' Hut are located in areas of serious avalanche terrain with recurring avalanche cycles. Routes to and between the huts are not marked or maintained.

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.

Opa’s Taylor Hut 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 hut climbs up Express Creek past the Markley Hut. At approximately 11,300’ this route heads south up Little Italian Basin. The route climbs to Little Italian Pass at 12,200’ (just south of point 12,246’). A South East contouring descent leads to Flat Pass 11,860’ from which it continues East along a gentle treed ridge for a 1/2 mile to the Opa’s Taylor Hut (11,800’). 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. Note: Little Italian Basin, Little Italian Pass, and Flat Pass are NOT labeled on USGS maps. They are labeled on the Braun Huts Map available from 10th Mountain’s Store. Routes to and between the huts are not marked or maintained.

Trailhead Directions

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.