Betty Bear from Road 505 Trailhead/Standard Winter Route

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Route Description

Each spring, the Bureau of Reclamation plows roads in the Upper Fryingpan River Drainage to facilitate work on the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project water diversion facilities prior to spring snowmelt. Plowing occurs annually during the months of March or April, depending upon snowpack and work requirements. Hut users accessing Betty Bear via the Road 505 trailhead during this time may be affected. The suggested parking for this route is at the designated Road 505 trailhead, regardless of plowing status. For detailed information, including an up-to-date plowing schedule, please contact the U.S. Forest Service Sopris Ranger District at 970-963-2266.

Park at the Road 505 Trailhead on the Fryingpan Road. Ski Road 505 as it gradually climbs southeast along the side of the Fryingpan drainage for 3 1/2 miles to the road’s high point at the obvious concrete structure of the Granite Adit (9,990 feet). Enjoy the superb view of Mount Massive looming on the northeast side of the upper drainage. Continue on level road (with a few slight ups and downs) another mile to cross over Lily Pad Creek. This creek is inconspicuous as it has little flow and passes under the road through a culvert. The stub of the culvert is visible if you look over the downhill side of the road. Another good way to identify Lily Pad Creek is by paying attention to the two rock “gates” you pass through on Road 505. These “gates” are places where road-blasting left remnants of rock outcrops on the downhill side of the road. Lily Pad Creek is located about 100 feet past the second rock “gate.”

Ski the road past Lily Pad Creek for several hundred feet. At this point the trail to Betty Bear Hut leaves the road and climbs northeast up the side of the valley. With a lack of natural landmarks and your altimeter of little use because of the level road, this intersection of road and trail is a place where the blue diamond trail markers (and possibly GPS use) are essential. Using climbing skins, climb the marked trail as it makes several switchbacks up the valleyside, then parallels and gradually nears Lily Pad Creek. After the steep switchbacks, the marked trail leaves the Lily Pad Creek drainage by heading south for 4/10ths of a mile up through timber and clearings to Betty Bear Hut (11,100 feet). The hut sits at the edge of timber overlooking a southwest-facing clearing. Keep your eye on your altimeter and GPS. It is essential to not drop too low. (By no means try to make it down to the road from below the hut as the terrain is quite steep and rough.)

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

Trailhead Directions

Road 505 is a dirt spur off the paved Fryingpan Road. It was built for maintenance on the Fryingpan/Arkansas water diversion project. In winter it remains snow-covered and is shared by skiers and snowmobilers.

From the 4-way stop sign in Basalt at Two Rivers Road and the Fryingpan River Road, follow the Fryingpan River Road approximately 32 miles to an obvious parking area on the right. A sign at the parking area says Fryingpan Lakes.