• Activities:

    Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    4 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    2000 Feet

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Forest
Groups
Scenic

Hike up Buttermilk mountain and camp at one of the best hidden gems in the Aspen area. Enjoy epic views of the iconic Pyramid Peak, Maroon Creek Valley, and the rest of the Elk Mountain Range while perched high upon a cliff at a perfectly situated campsite.

Park at the Buttermilk Ski Area parking lot and begin your hike up the mountain at the bottom of the Summit Express chair lift. Follow the 4x4 dirt road the entire way up Buttermilk. There are other small hiking trails that you can follow too, and with the entire mountain being a ski area, it's simple enough to follow any of the ski runs uphill in the summer. However, if you want to keep it simple, stay on the 4x4 dirt road that the maintenance vehicles use and it will take you all the way to the top of the Summit Express chair lift. This part should take you 60-90 minutes depending on your fitness level.

Once at the the top of Summit Express chair lift, find another 4x4 dirt road heading uphill to the West that will take you to the top of West Buttermilk Express chairlift. This part is about a 20 minute hike.

From the top of West Buttermilk Express chair lift, you'll find a hiking trail to the South behind the warming hut. Continue along this trail as it traverses uphill through aspen groves until it comes to an end at the camping site about 10-15 minutes later. It's tough to miss with there being a bench, fire-pit, and a cool looking dead tree perched at the edge of the cliff overlooking Maroon Creek Valley. Wake up for sunrise and watch the mystical Pyramid peak radiate in alpenglow!

Campsite coordinates: 39.1758857, -106.8833701

Pack List

  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Food
  • Hiking Shoes
  • Flashlight
  • Water
  • Matches
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Mike Fennell Explorer

Professional Travel and Nature Photographer

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