Friends' Hut from East Brush Creek 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.

The route from Crested Butte to the Friends’ Hut follows the long and gradual drainage of East Brush Creek in its entirety. Although it doesn’t involve the crossing of any alpine passes it is not devoid of avalanche danger and demands excellent navigational skills as well as a good fitness level to cover its considerable length. The Brush Creek trailhead is situated at about four miles from Crested Butte just after the old buildings of Cold Spring Ranch (you must park at the established parking lot and not at the Ranch). Between the first (West Brush Creek) and second (Middle Brush Creek) creek crossings lies a short but steep canyon that can present serious avalanche danger. It is possible to bypass it by following the road above the canyon but this alternate route is not devoid of danger either. After the second crossing the route follows the road through beautiful stands of aspen on the north side of the valley and underneath some red rock formations, then, a little after the intersection with Block and Tackle Trail the route moves to the south side to avoid the steep chutes of Timbered Hill. It then winds through dark timber which at times can be difficult to navigate. The hut is situated in a protected stand of spruce, almost at tree line (11,450′). Routes to and between the huts are not marked or maintained.

Trailhead Directions

From Crested Butte drive 2 miles SE on Highway 135. Turn left at a well signed intersection with Brush Creek Road. Drive Brush Creek Road approximately 3 miles to the snow closure and parking area at Cold Spring Ranch.