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Smuggler Road is used heavily by mountain bikes, runners and hikers. Smuggler Road to the overlook deck about 1-1/2 miles up provides a good workout with great views of Aspen, which makes it very popular. The section of trail through Hunter Creek is not as heavily used, but is popular with hikers, mountain bikers, and in the winter, cross country skiers.

Smuggler Road is a fairly well maintained 4 WD road and immediately begins a steep ascent. The switchbacks get longer and in about 1-1/2 miles the road curves behind Smuggler Mountain. There is a short steep path on the right, leading to a platform which is good for viewing Aspen. To continue to Hunter Creek, take the left just after the platform. (Continuing straight will take you to Warren Lakes). There are several side roads, please stay on the main route. The road has some moderate up and down hills. At about the 2 mile mark, there is a gate, go around the gate and continue up the hill. At about the 3-1/2 mile mark there is an old bridge, from here there are several options: 1)You can cross the bridge and turn left, following the trail along the west side of the river and cross back over the Tenth Mountain Bridge. 2)Turn left (don't cross the bridge) and follow the single track on the east side of the river. 3)Cross the bridge, turn left and follow the river along the west side and continue right along the fence line to access Van Horn Park, Sunnyside Trail or Lenado. 4)Cross the bridge, turn left follow the trail along the west side of the river and turn right onto the single track Hunter Creek Trail which leads to the Sunnyside Trail, Van Horn Park, and Lenado. These directions are for options (1) and (2), which converge above the Tenth Mountain Bridge. The single track continues through the meadow and descends steeply through the trees and crosses Benedict Bridge. Keep straight, the trail soon reaches the paved road of Hunter Creek. Take a left and follow Hunter Creek Road to the intersection of Red Mountain Road. Take another left and follow Red Mountain Road back to Aspen.

Directions: From Aspen, Travelling east on Main Street in Aspen, turn left (north) onto Mill Street. Travel 1/4 mile and turn right after the bridge onto Gibson. Follow Gibson 1/8 mile to a "Y" intersection and bear left onto South Avenue. Shortly, turn right onto Park Circle and follow for 1/8 mile to the Smuggler Mountain Road on the left. There is parking on the right.

Elevation: 7,900 feet

Ending Elevation: 7,900 feet

Usage: Very Heavy

Difficulty: Moderate

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White River National Forest, Colorado

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

Review by Wildernet Copyright © 2010 all rights reserved.