McNamara Hut from Upper Hunter Creek Skier Drop-Off Limited Parking

Total Mileage


Trailhead Elevation


Cumulative Elevation Gain



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Route Description

This route follows old, well-defined logging roads and is well marked with blue diamonds. From the Skier Drop-Off, begin a climbing traverse west to within sight of a sturdy fence and private home. Staying about 100 feet E from the fence, begin climbing N again and you will intersect a clearly visible snow-covered road at about 8,720 feet. Follow the road as it takes a 1 1/3 mile climbing traverse to Lower Van Horn Park at Lenado Gulch. Take care not to turn left into Lenado Gulch. Just continue on an easterly tack across Lower Van Horn Park, then climb NE through another aspen forest into Van Horn Park—a classic alpine “open space.”

Read your map with care and ski up the north side of Van Horn Park to Lower Van Horn Saddle (really just a low-angled shelf) at 9,760 feet. Continue along the north side of the park to Upper Van Horn Park, then Upper Van Horn Saddle, a more definitive saddle at 9,925 feet, just E of point 10,097. From Upper Van Horn Saddle, ski easterly up a well-marked, narrow road-cut through the forest. This road gradually climbs 2 miles to the McNamara Hut. Generally, this trail is easy to follow. If you happen to catch it unbroken, use your compass and altimeter, and take care to not drop N down into the dense timber and steep terrain of the Woody Creek drainage. You’ll usually smell wood smoke before you see the hut, as it is hidden by trees until you are within a few hundred feet.

Locations of Observed or Reported Avalanche Activity: No avalanche activity has been reported along this suggested route.

Trailhead Directions

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.