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.
Tagert and Green Wilson Huts are 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. From the trailhead this route follows the Castle Creek Road South and passes the Pine Creek Cookhouse after 1 1/2 miles. Past the Cookhouse this route is continually exposed to serious backcountry avalanche terrain. The route can either continue to follow the Castle Creek Road or, it can take the Hunley nordic trail on the Eastern side of the valley to the fork of the Cooper Basin and Pearl Pass Roads where the two routes merge. From here the route follows the Pearl Pass road up the Castle Creek Valley. About 1/2 mile before the hut the route passes the Mace cabin on the right and negotiates steep switchbacks before reaching the huts on the East side of Castle Creek. Note: the route to the Tagert and Green Wilson travels through the Ashcroft Ski Touring nordic center. AST kindly allows hut users to use the Hunley nordic trail if they wish to travel on the East side of the Valley. Please do not use any of the other nordic trails. 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.
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.