Vance's Cabin from Ski Cooper Trailhead/Standard Winter Route

Total Mileage


Trailhead Elevation


Cumulative Elevation Gain


Cumulative Elevation Loss



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Route Description

From the Ski Cooper parking lot, find the start of the snow-covered road that leaves from the northeast corner of the lot. Follow the road northeast along a water ditch that traverses into Piney Gulch. At 3/4 mile from the ski parking lot the gulch splits (10,520 feet). Continue up the left fork of the gulch for 1/4 mile to a large clearing (10,660 feet).

Climb northwest up through the clearing to the north end of the saddle at 10,963. At the saddle use your map and compass to identify the slopes of Taylor Hill. Climb east for a short distance, then swing back north and make a long 1/2-mile traverse along the west face of Taylor Hill. At 11,160 feet, just to the east of the hut, you enter an open area. Turn left here and descend 1/4 mile to Vance’s Cabin. Some structures around the cabin are visible from several hundred yards.

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

Trailhead Directions

To reach the Ski Cooper Trailhead from the north (I-70), drive I-70 5 miles W from Vail Resorts or 55 miles E from Glenwood Springs to the Minturn exit (Exit 171). Follow Hwy 24 for approximately 22.5 miles to the well-signed Tennessee Pass and the obvious road to Ski Cooper. To reach this trailhead from the south (Leadville), follow Hwy 24 north 8.9 miles from the junction of Hwy 24 and 91 (at the north end of Leadville) to Tennessee Pass.

Travel 1/3 mile from the highway to the Ski Cooper Trailhead parking area.

Note: You may encounter Ski Cooper snowmobiles and/or snowcats on the first 3/4 mile of the suggested routes to Vance’s and Sangree’s. Please expect and respect all users.


Ski Cooper Trailhead parking for Vance’s and Sangree’s is on the right side after you go through an entrance gate. Notes: 1. If you’re headed for Vance’s Cabin, there is NO parking at Forest Service Road #731.