Avalanche Creek #1959


Bear canisters are required for all backpackers in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.
• Advance reservation permits are required for overnight stays in the Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness Overnight Permit Zones.

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The Avalanche Creek area is popular with horseback riders, hikers and backpackers. It's a good backpacking hike with access to the Hell Roaring Trail, East Creek Trail, West Fork Trail and Capitol Lake. The trail begins from the parking lot and ascends through aspen reaching the intersection with the Hell Roaring Trail in 2 1/2 miles. Keep straight, the trail will cross Hell Roaring Creek and then descend toward Avalanche Creek. At the 5 mile point it crosses a meadow called Duley Park. The trail continues through aspen and reaches an intersection with the East Creek Trail about 7 miles from thestart. Keep straight, the trail ascends, steeply in parts, to the intersection with Capitol Creek Trail at about 10 1/4 miles. Bear right to Avalanche Lake.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: 10/30/2019: Avalanche Creek Bridge is OUT
  • Bridge Name: Avalanche/ Silver Creek
  • Trail #: 1959.1
  • Mile Post: 2.6
  • Feature Crossed: Hell Roaring Creek
  • Cause of Bridge Closure: Extremely high flows of June 30 – July 1 2019 resulted in the loss of the bridge which was carried downstream and not located.  Given the nature of the stream (Hell Roaring Creek), the structure is assumed to be destroyed and irretrievable. The existing bridge had enough hydraulic clearance that the failure was probably due to substantial debris carried by the stream, possibly deposited earlier in the winter by avalanche(s) upstream. Plans on replacing the bridge are underway.
Permit Info: A permit is required for overnight stays in Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Overnight Permit Zones. This permit must be acquired in advance at recreation.gov. 
For all other overnight trips to the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, registration is required at the trailhead.  
Usage: Heavy

Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness regulations protect this special place:

  • Overnight permit required for overnight stays within the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Overnight Permit Zones.
  • Food, trash and any scented items must be stored in an IGBC approved bear resistant containerHuman food habituated bears are a threat to human safety. Visitors without approved bear resistant containers will be ticketed and required to leave. 
  • You must have a plan for human waste. Human waste bags (WAG) bags are highly recommended and are available free of charge at the Conundrum Creek and Snowmass Lake trailheads. WAG bags must be packed out. Learn more about how to use a WAG bag. If a WAG bag is not used, visitors are required to deposit solid human waste in holes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet (70 paces) from water, camp and trails.
  • Group size is limited to 10 with no more than 15 stock animals in one group. Large groups multiply impacts to the wilderness and disrupt the solitude of others.
  • Dogs are prohibited in the Conundrum Creek Valley from Silver Dollar Pond to Triangle Pass, including the hot springs.  Everywhere else, dogs must be leashed.
  • Campfires are prohibited at all designated sites at Conundrum Hot Springs, Capitol Lake, Crater Lake and above 10,800 feet including Snowmass Lake. Campfires consume wood, accumulate trash, kill fragile alpine vegetation, sterilize the soil and scar the land. Lightweight camp stoves are recommended.
  • Campers must camp in designated sites at Conundrum Hot Springs, Copper Lake, Crater Lake, Geneva Lake, Capitol Lake and Thomas Lakes.  Everywhere else campers should set up more than 100 feet from lakes, streams and trails and use previously impacted campsites.  Camp out of sight of others and away from fragile areas.
  • As with all designated Wilderness, motorized and mechanized equipment is prohibited including bicycles, motorbikes, chainsaws, ATVs, carts, drones, hang gliders and paragliders. This equipment is prohibited to provide visitors with a primitive recreational experience and to preserve outstanding opportunities for solitude.
Closest Towns: Carbondale
Water: Filter and treat all water
Restroom: No restrooms in Wilderness; see Restrictions
Information Center: Aspen-Sopris Ranger Station: 
620 Main Street
Carbondale, CO 81623

General Information

Directions: Drive south 12 1/2 miles on Highway 133 from Carbondale. Turn left at the sign for Avalanche Creek and follow the road for 2 1/2 miles past Avalanche Campground to the parking area at the southeast end of the campground.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


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  Area/Length : 
11 miles one-way (17.7 km)

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
7,310 feet (2228 m) - 10,695 feet (3260 m)