Harry Gates from Sylvan Lake Trailhead

Total Mileage


Trailhead Elevation


Cumulative Elevation Gain


Cumulative Elevation Loss



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Route Description

Avalanche activity has been reported along this route. Please see the route description for locations of reported avalanche activity.

Begin at the Sylvan Lake Trailhead. From your parking at snow closure, ski up the distinct snow-covered West Brush Creek road-cut for a mile around the north and east sides of the lake, then up into the Brush Creek valley for 4 1/4 miles to Crooked Creek Pass. Use your altimeter to identify the switchbacks at 9,220 feet and 9,260 feet, then the turn at 9,450 feet. From here be certain to stay on the road as it climbs S then SE around a timbered ridge dividing Spine Creek from Brush Creek, and then continues paralleling Brush Creek to Crooked Creek Pass (10,005 feet). Crooked Creek Pass is fairly obvious, but an altimeter check is always a good idea.

From Crooked Creek Pass ski the road 1 mile SE to Crooked Creek Park. Ski into Crooked Creek Park (you may get a few turns here), then follow the Crooked Creek drainage (stay on the road if in doubt) to the obvious dam, buildings, and flat expanse of Crooked Creek Reservoir. Ski the road on the dam along the west side of the reservoir, then about 3/4 of a mile down the Little Lime Creek drainage (still on the road) to Lime Park and a well-signed, obvious road junction (9,280 feet). Now you will be standing at the north edge of Lime Park, a vast clearing that can make for confusing navigation on the best of days. The way to handle Lime Park is to look for the road-cuts and signs at road junctions, but continue to heed your compass and altimeter. GPS recommended here as well. Ski the road SE across Lime Park to its intersection with the Woods Lake Road, then downhill S to cross Lime Creek at 9,190 feet. Next, take care to identify and follow the Burnt Mountain Road as it climbs into the timber after crossing Lime Creek.

Ski up the Burnt Mountain Road 1/2 mile to a large clearing at the base of Slim Jim Gulch (9,440 feet). Ski the road S across the clearing, then nip through the trees (still on the road) for another 1/4 mile to a smaller clearing at 9,566 feet. Turn left (NE) off the road here and climb several hundred yards NE up a knoll to the Harry Gates Hut. The hut is visible from about halfway up the knoll.

Locations of Observed or Reported Avalanche Activity: Avalanche activity has been reported along this suggested route at locations indicated below. Elevations indicate approximate elevation where the slides crossed the trail, not the starting zones.

  • At Crooked Creek Reservoir, small bank on skier’s right (9,400′). D1-2.

Avalanche size/destructive force is scaled according to the American Avalanche Association as follows:

  • D1 – Relatively harmless to people
  • D2 – Could bury or injure a person
  • D3 – Could bury a car, damage a truck, destroy a wood frame house, or break a few trees
  • D4 – Could destroy a railroad car, large truck, several buildings, or a substantial amount of forest
  • D5 – Could gouge the landscape, largest snow avalanches known


Trailhead Directions

From the Eagle exit (#147) on I-70 drive south .2 miles to the roundabout. Drive 1.0 mile west on Hwy 6 until the roundabout and exit on Sylvan Lake Road. Travel 1.6 miles and take a right on Brush Creek Road (aka Eagle County Road #307). Travel 8.7 miles to a “Y” intersection. Take the right fork (West Brush Creek Road) and drive 4.6 miles to Sylvan Lake. Sylvan Lake is a small state park where you’ll find good car camping, small cabins for rent, and bathrooms.