10th (Tenth) Mountain Division Huts and Summit Huts Online Guidebook
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Fryingpan Drainage Trailheads
Spring Creek, Montgomery Flats, Burnt Mtn. Road, Norrie, Granite Lakes, Elk Wallow Campground, Road 505, Hagerman Pass Road

Fryingpan Drainage trailheads are located on or near the Fryingpan Road in central Colorado. To reach the Fryingpan Road, drive Colorado State Highway 82 to Basalt from Aspen or Glenwood Springs. Drive east through Basalt on Midland Avenue (the main street), which soon becomes the Fryingpan Road (county road 104). Mileages in the descriptions below are measured from the Alpine Bank on Midland Avenue.

Spring Creek Trailhead
Elevation: 8,440 feet
HUTSKI.COM FREE TOPO MAP: Burnt Mountain
GPS: 355 339 E, 45 58 670 N
HUT ACCESSED: Harry Gates

Follow the Fryingpan Road 25.2 miles from Basalt to the well-signed Eagle/Thomasville Road (#400) on the left (N). Turn off the Fryingpan Road onto the Eagle Road and follow it 2.7 miles to the plow turnaround at the Spring Creek Fish Hatchery. Parking here can be tricky, as you must allow for the plow and autos to turn around. The best way to do this is to park well to the side of the road a short distance back down the road from the turnaround. If in doubt about parking, drop gear and people off and park near the Fryingpan Road. The Eagle Road is well maintained, but think twice about driving with 2-wheel drive if you get there before the county plow.

In the summer you can continue with 2-wheel on a scenic drive to Eagle. One caveat: do not attempt this road when it is wet -- even with a 4-wheel drive vehicle. With just a little rain or snow-melt it becomes slicker than axle grease. A tow truck this far away from Basalt costs a small fortune. If you do get stuck, now you know why backcountry folks have those bulky winches gracing their front bumper -- they're not just for show.

Montgomery Flats Trailhead
ELEVATION: 8,250 feet
HUTSKI.COM FREE TOPO MAP: Burnt Mountain
GPS: 355 280 E, 43 58 955 N
HUT ACCESSED: Harry Gates

Drive Colorado HWY 82 to the town of Basalt. From the 4-way stop sign in Basalt (Two Rivers Rd & Frying Pan River Rd), follow the Fryingpan Road 25.9 miles to a marked driveway on the north (left) side of the road (street number 26501). Head up the driveway a short distance and park in a snowplowed area with signs designating it for for hut users. Do not block the driveway.

From parking, foot travel the driveway 0.1 mile NE, where you will find the designated 10th Mountain trail marked with blue plastic diamonds. Take care to stay on the marked trail, otherwise you'll be trespassing on private property and land owners in Western Colorado have been known to shoot trespassers on sight.

Burnt Mountain Road Trailhead
8,830 feet
HUTSKI.COM FREE TOPO MAP: Burnt Mountain
GPS: 360 253 E, 43 56 220 N
HUT ACCESSED: Harry Gates

Drive Colorado HWY 82 to the town of Basalt. From the 4-way stop sign in Basalt (Two Rivers Road and Frying Pan River Road), follow the Fryingpan Road 26.3 miles to a Y fork. A sign here indicates that the left fork goes to Elk Wallow Campground. Yep, take the left fork (North Fork Road, #501) and drive 2.5 miles to where the well-signed Burnt Mountain Road (#506) turns off to the left (N).

Consider other parking as space here is limited, see Montgomery Flats Trailhead (above) for alternate 10th Mountain Huts parking.

During summer, Burnt Mountain Road is suitable for high-clearance 2-wheel-drive and parking is plentiful.

Norrie Trailhead
Elevation: 8,460 feet
HUTSKI.COM FREE TOPO MAPS: Norrie, Burnt Mountain
GPS: 357 190 E, 43 54 788 N (turnoff from Fryingpan Road)
HUT ACCESSED: Margy's Hut

Norrie trailhead is short on parking space, so most people park at the Montgomery Flats Trailhead and either walk, or car shuttle to the Norrie Trailhead. From Basalt drive Fryingpan Road 26.4 miles to the Biglow Fork, take the right fork (paved), and continue up the main Fryingpan Road 1.1 miles to a right turn off the main road. This turn is marked by a Norrie Colony sign and a Forest Service road sign for Road #504, and is also known as the South Fork Road. Park at the snowplow turnaround and take care not to block any driveways.

[field checked by HutSki, 2007]

 

Granite Lakes Trailhead
Elevation: 8,760 feet
HUTSKI.COM FREE TOPO MAP: Granite
GPS: 361 524 E, 43 51 072 N
HUT ACCESSED: Betty Bear

The Granite Lakes Trailhead is located at the privately owned Fryingpan River Ranch. Be aware that the name of this ranch may change. To reach the Granite Lakes Trailhead from Basalt, drive the Fryingpan Road 26.5 miles to the Biglow Fork. Take the right fork and continue up the main paved Fryingpan Road 5 miles to a well-signed right turnoff. Probable signs here may indicate Fryingpan River Ranch and Nast Lake/Granite Lakes Trailhead. After the turnoff, a winding dirt road leads 1.1 miles to obvious ranch buildings. This road has several steep switchbacks, so 4-wheel drive is recommended during snow season. Granite Lakes Trailhead is to the left just before the ranch buildings. For the trail to Twin Meadows and Margy's Hut: Follow a marked trail around Nast Lake.

Elk Wallow Campground and Cunningham Creek Road
Elevation: 8,827 feet
MAP: Not on HutSki.com topos at this time, see USGS Nast topo map or use mapping software
GPS: 360 874 E, 43 56 206 N
HUT ACCESSED: Harry Gates

Drive the above description for the Burnt Mountain Road Trailhead. Do not stop or turn at Burnt Mountain Road. Instead continue upvalley .4 miles to Elk Wallow Campground. To reach Cunningham Creek Road, continue 1.3 miles past Elk Wallow to a Y fork. The well-signed Cunningham Creek Road takes the right (south) tine of the fork.

[field checked by HutSki, 2007]

Road 505
ELEVATION: 9,120 feet (winter road closure)
HUTSKI.COM FREE TOPO MAP: Betty Bear Hut
GPS: 363 105 E, 43 51 005 N
HUT ACCESSED: Betty Bear

Forest Service Road #505 is a spur off the Fryingpan Road. It's closed in winter and shared by skiers and snowmobilers, though on rare occasions it is plowed in winter for water system work. Early in spring (usually mid-May) the road is plowed 5.8 miles into the Upper Fryingpan drainage, after which it is gated on occasion, but is usually open. To reach Road 505 drive the Fryingpan Road from Basalt 26.6 miles to the Biglow Fork. Take the right fork and continue 5.8 miles. Here Road 505 takes an obvious right turn off the main paved road. Signs at the turn may indicate "Road 505" and "Fryingpan Lakes." In winter park in the widened part of the main road near snow closure, usually near the beginning of Road 505. If the road is plowed, you may drive to where the Betty Bear Hut trail heads uphill, but you must park in such a way as to not block the road for larger vehicles. This may be difficult if the road is recently plowed. If you're driving the road to access skiing farther up the valley, parking at the snowplow turn is obvious, and still must be done with care.

Hagerman Pass Road Trailhead
Elevation: 9,200 feet (winter road closure)
HUTSKI.COM FREE TOPO MAP: Granite
GPS: 363 154 E, 43 51 108 N
HUT ACCESSED: Skinner

Hagerman Pass Road Trailhead is simply the plow turnaround on the Hagerman Pass Road, which is the continuation of the Fryingpan Road. The exact location of the turnaround varies from year to year. In the spring the road is plowed and opened in late May, when it then connects with Leadville. Though an unimproved dirt road, the Hagerman Pass Road is navigable with high clearance 2-wheel drive during summer, and is considered one of Colorado's scenic backroads drives. From the 4-way stop sign in Basalt at Two Rivers Road and the Frying Pan River Road, follow the Fryingpan Road about 32.5 miles to snow closure at a large bend just past the Road 505 trailhead (see above).

A bit of local history:

Near the Montgomery Flats Trailhead you'll see an obvious guest ranch on the southerly side of the Fryingpan Road. The ranch has a history. Sometime before the opening of the Colorado Midland railroad in 1893, a log building was constructed on the south bank of the Frying Pan River to serve as a ticket office. It was named "Muckawanago," a Ute Indian word meaning "where the bear walks," and the name of a nearby creek. A foot bridge was also built across the river to the tracks. Muckawanago Station is now the barn and hay storage for the ranch, which for years was known as the Diamond J Gust Ranch, though changes in ownership have resulted in other names being used.

In 1927, wrangler Delbert Bowles and his new bride Thelma purchased 27 acres including the Muckawango ticket office from his employer, the Biglow family. With the help of Delbert's brother Clarence, they build a comfortable log cabin, Longbranch. Diamond Reverse J brand was registered as their cattle herd grew and small guest cabins were added every several years.

The ranch was purchased in 1945 by Bruce and Alice Riley and became known as Riley's Diamond J Ranch. Cabins were rented. Gradually, guests became more important than cows. More cabins were added and the unique lodge was built in 1949, using conifers cut from the surrounding forest.

An Aspen group, Jim Ward, Morris Masey, Stacy Standley, and Philip (Mick) Mahoney purchased the ranch in 1979. They worked on winterizing the water system, improving electrical service and construction of a sauna and hot tub. Part of their motivation was to link in as lodging with the then nascent 10th Mountain Division Hut System.

Presently, Diamond J Ranch is back to being called by it's original name, and is operated as a guest ranch by a group of investors. If you're looking for accomodations while using huts and ski routes in the area, Check out their website.

 
 
 
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Please note: The information in this website is based on the experience and research of the site owners and their sources, may not be accurate due to human error or source errors, and might not be perceived as accurate by other persons. Therefore, extreme care should be taken when following any of the backcountry skiing 10th Mountain Huts, Summit Huts and Braun Huts routes described in this website. This website is not intended to be instructional but rather is a guide for backcountry users who already have the requisite training, experience, and knowledge for the activities they choose. An advanced level of expertise and physical conditioning is necessary for even the "easiest" of the routes and activities described herein. Proper clothing and equipment is essential. Failure to have the necessary knowledge, equipment, and conditioning will subject you to physical danger, injury, or death. Some backcountry skiing routes for 10th Mountain Huts, Summit Huts and Braun Huts have changed and others will change; avalanche hazards may have expanded or new hazards may have formed since this website's publication.

Mission statement: The mission of HutSki.com is to provide backcountry skiers and other Colorado hut users with a complete set of high quality free topo maps, plentiful how-to information, and brief route descriptions that include alternate routes as well as standard trails.