Friends' 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.

From the Aspen side the most frequently used route starts from the Ashcroft trailhead (9,500’). Parking for hut users is in the lower lot on the East side of the road. The first 5 miles of this route share the route to Tagert and Green Wilson Huts. From Ashcroft this route follows the Castle creek road South and passes the Pine Creek Cookhouse after 1 1/2 miles. From here on the 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. From here the route follows the Pearl Pass road up the Castle Creek Valley. About 1/2 mile before the Tagert and Green Wilson Huts the route passes the Mace cabin on the right, negotiates steep switchbacks and the runout of an ava-lanche path before reaching the Tagert and Green Wilson on the East side of Castle Creek. The route then passes the Tagert and Green Wilson (11,300) and climbs South West up a road cut and leaves tree line. From here it climbs South East to Mace Saddle (located between peak 12,528’ and 13,312’) and then traverses South East through the Pearl Basin and climbs to Pearl Pass (12,705’). From here the route descends South East to the Friends’ Hut located in a stand of trees at (11,450’). Note: This route is continually exposed to serious backcountry avalanche terrain and challenging above tree line travel that can present extreme navigational challenges and exposure. Note: The route to the Friends’ Hut from Ashcroft travels through the Ashcroft Ski Touring nordic center. AST 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.

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.


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.