Bill Hammons: Writing and Running in Boulder, Colorado


Snowmass Mountain, Colorado

Snowmass Mountain's Elevation: 14,092 Feet

Snowmass Mountain's Rank Among Colorado's Fourteeners in Terms of Elevation: #31

Snowmass Mountain is located in the Elk Mountains

Snowmass Mountain requires a scramble

Best months for climbing Snowmass Mountain are June through September

Click here for a Mapquest map of Snowmass Mountain

Snowmass Mountain, with an elevation of 14,092 feet, is the 31st highest peak in the state of Colorado. This beautiful, isolated and prominent mountain rises west of equally beautiful Snowmass Lake (which is often the site of base camps). The eastern flank sports a large permanent snowfield which descends to a snow-filled basin above the lake. Snowmass is considered the second-easiest Fourteener in the Elk Mountains to climb (after Castle Peak), though this doesn't mean very much: all routes to the top are still Class 3 climbs, dangerous and deadly. Snowmass Mountain should not be confused with nearby Snowmass Peak, nor the Snowmass ski area.

The shortest trail to Snowmass Mountain's base (Snowmass Creek) is eight miles long. To reach the Snowmass Creek trailhead, drive 15 miles south from Aspen along CO 82 to Old Snowmass, and turn south onto the Snowmass Creek Road. Drive 1.6 miles to a "T" intersection and take a left for another 8.7 miles to another "T" intersection. Turn right and continue almost a mile to parking at the Snowmass Falls Ranch. Walk through a pedestrian gate and hike 3/4 of a mile to the obvious trail which rises left.

Once on the trail, head the eight miles to Snowmass Lake. Make camp, and make sure you're certain of Snowmass's identity (not confusing it, for example, with neighboring Hagerman Peak). To ascend, round the lake on its south side before bearing north as you cross the snow-filled bowl beyond. Once you're in the bowl, climb for a point just left of the summit and follow the ridge a short ways to the top.

Sources:,,, Dawson's Guide to Colorado's Fourteeners, Volume I: The Northern Peaks

This page last updated 8/15/06

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