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UPDATESWhat we've been doing
- Recapping Another Year of Work on Holy Cross
– November 24, 2014
The iconic “cross” that is etched on its face made Mount of the Holy Cross a historic mountain. Although the cross is not as prominent … Read More
- Damage Control on Bierstadt
– November 14, 2014
If you have ever decided to hike Mount Bierstadt on a summer weekend, you’ve seen it: hundreds of eager hikers marching up the trail in … Read More
- Successes and Lessons Learned on El Diente
– November 5, 2014
Our work on El Diente this year was a big undertaking for CFI. The project was led by two of our most talented and experienced … Read More
- Now Steena, you promised you wouldn’t get lost again…
– October 20, 2014
Mission: Collect Wilderness permits and check out potential hunter camps along Martin trail, hike out to West Grouse Mountain trailhead. This is the story about … Read More
- Elevation:14,130 feet (29th Highest)
- Maps:USGS Quad: Capitol Peak
Trails Illustrated® – TOPO Map # 128
Click here to purchase Trails Illustrated® maps for this route.
- Contact:US Forest Service, Aspen Ranger District (970) 925-3445
Capitol Lake Route—use of this route will help to reduce impacts to this Fourteener’s fragile alpine environment. For more detailed route information including pictures, maps, and elevation profiles, click here.
Route Information and Additional Resources
The trailhead is approximately ten miles south, then west of Snowmass, CO. From Snowmass (CO 82) take the paved road south up Snowmass Creek Road for 1.8 miles to a ‘T’ junction (left is Snowmass Creek, right is Capitol Creek). Go right (west) on Capitol Creek for 8.3 miles to the trailhead. The final two miles of the road to the trailhead are quite rough and require four wheel drive and high clearance.
The trailhead is clearly marked and parking is available. The route follows the Capitol Lake Trail then heads east to the Daly-Capitol saddle. The Forest Service clearly marked the route up the saddle with cairns. Stay on the trail ascending and descending the saddle. From the saddle the route runs around and then back to the K2 sub peak of Capitol. The final approach is over the ‘knife-edge’ and follows the East Ridge. The route includes significant exposure and dangerous loose rock.
The above information does not replace the need to consult additional maps and Colorado Fourteener Guidebooks for more detailed route descriptions. We suggest checking multiple resources before departing on any hike. Keep in mind that not all guidebooks list this Recommended Rout eand that each guidebook’s description or route name may vary slightly.
Peak Specific Environmental and Safety Concerns
Fires are not advised, especially above timberline. Use a camp stove to cook food. No fires are allowed within 1/2 mile of Capitol Lake.
This is one of the most difficult and demanding Fourteeners. Make sure you have plenty of knowledge and experience before attempting this climb.