Beginning at the Upper Hunter Creek Trailhead (aka skier drop-off), travel upvalley along Hunter Creek until you arrive at the TMTA bridge. Cross the bridge to the south side of Hunter Creek and travel downvalley until you arrive at a clearing at 8,600 feet. Then, travel SE up a well-marked trail that eventually climbs westerly up the mountainside. Beware of mine shafts in this area. You’ll intersect the Smuggler Mountain Warren Lakes Road at 9,200 feet. Follow the road for a long 2 1/2 mile wander through forest to an elongated open area (10,600 feet). Turn left off the road here and continue southeast for 1/2 mile up onto a small timbered ridge.
Locations of Observed or Reported Avalanche Activity: No avalanche activity has been reported along this suggested route.
To reach the Upper Hunter Creek Skier Drop-Off, start in the town of Aspen. Follow Main Street to Mill Street (the stoplight near the center of town, next to the Hotel Jerome). Turn N on Mill and drive a short distance down a hill, then across a bridge over the Roaring Fork River (.25 miles). Bear left after the bridge and follow the Red Mountain Road 1 mile to its second switchback. Just before the switchback, turn right and downhill on the Hunter Creek Road. Drive approximately .3 miles on Hunter Creek Road, and take note of the Hunter Creek Trailhead entrance on your left (if entering this trailhead parking, take a hard left on an unpaved driveway that leads up past a water tank 300 feet to a parking area). To continue on to the upper drop-off, travel NE through the stone pillars and follow Red Mountain Road for approximately 6/10 mile to a 3-way intersection. Take a very hard right turn, and continue E 1/10th of a mile through two sharp switchbacks. You are now on private property. Please respect the homeowners, and do not enter the private, marked driveways, and do not cross the bridge.
This location is intended primarily as a skier drop-off area. Be prepared to drop your gear here and return your car to the Hunter Creek Parking area. There are a total of four (4) parking spaces in the skier drop-off area. Two are designated parking spots for 10th Mountain Division Hut users. One is for senior citizens and the last is for handicap parking. The parking spots are on a first-come first-served basis. If you are using it for overnight parking you must leave a copy of your confirmation sheet on the dashboard of your car showing the designated night(s) you will be at the hut. Your car may be ticketed or towed if you a) do not leave proof of hut use or b) are illegitimately parked in the senior or handicapped parking spot. Four-wheel drive is recommended.