From the South Camp Hale Trailhead, ski NE across the flats of Camp Hale, look for a snow bridge that might exist to cross the Eagle River, and intersect the road at the base of the mountain. Turn right (SE) and ski the snow-covered road 1/4 mile to the well-signed intersection with the Ranch Creek Road. If you haven’t put on skins yet, put them on here. Take a left (N) on the Ranch Creek Road and follow a distinct road-cut that climbs Ranch Creek 2 miles to 10,700 feet. Here you’ll break into a clearing with several beautiful old cabins. Climb NE through the clearing and re-enter the timber at about 10,900 feet. Follow the trail up several switchbacks. Strong skiers will certainly want to cut some of these switchbacks. If you do so, take care to relocate the suggested route.
At 11,220 feet the trail takes an important right turn (E), then climbs 1/4 mile (around 2 more switchbacks) to a large open area on the ridge. Follow the ridge E for 1/2 mile to the ridge top at 11,716 feet. As you are skiing along the flat, sparsely timbered ridge top, you’ll see the stove pipes of the hut and a tall lightning mast down to your right. In poor visibility take care not to overshoot the hut. Your altimeter can help prevent this, since the main goal is the high point of the ridge. Ski a few hundred feet E along the ridge top, then double back W to the hut.
Locations of Observed or Reported Avalanche Activity: No avalanche activity has been reported along this suggested route.
Drive I-70 5 miles W from Vail Resort or 55 miles E from Glenwood Springs and turn off at the Minturn Exit (Exit 171) onto Highway 24. Travel south on Hwy 24 approximately 15 miles and look for a distinct parking area to your left with a sign reading “Resolution Road.” This is the Pando Trailhead. You won’t find a bridge over the river, but it might be worth looking for a snow bridge. Such bridges are more likely in mid winter. Your other option to ski 1/2 mile south to a vehicle bridge and then ski back up to McCallister Gulch.
To reach the Camp Hale Trailhead, continue from the Pando Trailhead 1.5 miles S on Highway 24 to mile marker 160. Look to your left for two stone gate posts and a plaque. Again, parking is straightforward and there is a great year-round permanent bridge at this trailhead.
For the South Camp Hale Trailhead, continue S on Highway 24 for .7 miles past the Camp Hale Trailhead. Look to your left for another distinct parking area. Again, you won’t find a bridge over the river, but due to the distance this trailhead can save you, it might be worth looking for a snow bridge. Such bridges are more likely in mid winter. Boggy ground exists in this area as well, and needs a thick mid-winter snowpack for coverage.
To reach these trailheads from the south (Leadville) drive highway 24 over Tennessee Pass to Camp Hale. The South Camp Hale Trailhead is 5.1 miles north of Tennessee Pass on Highway 24. Use the connection mileages above to find the other two trailheads.