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One of the fastest growing winter sports, uphill skiing, also called alpine touring or skinning, gained massive popularity during the pandemic when everyone headed outdoors for cold-weather recreation. Locals and visitors have embraced the pastime, and Aspen Snowmass is a rare resort that allows uphilling on all four mountains during winter months.
Read our Guide to Uphilling for information on how to get started, where to find your gear, and what to wear.
Don't forget your uphill pass! All hikers and skinners must carry an uphill pass with them when accessing any of the four Aspen Snowmass mountains. Download the Aspen Snowmass app to check uphilling routes, which are sometimes closed for mountain maintenance or safety.
For those who prefer to get their cardio fix with less equipment, winter hiking options abound! Climb "Aspen's treadmill" on the sundrenched Smuggler Mountain Road, or hike up Buttermilk ski area and ride the lift down.
WHERE TO UPHILL & HIKE IN ASPEN
BUTTERMILK | Uphilling & Hiking
While Buttermilk is known as the beginners' mountain and is substantially less steep than Aspen Mountain and Highlands, skinning or hiking up is still quite a challenge! We recommend the Main Buttermilk Route for its ease of access by the RFTA free skiers' shuttle. Plus, hikers can walk up and ride the lift down. (Stabilizers and poles are recommended!)
Main Buttermilk Route: Buttermilk base to Columbine to Midway to Ridge Trail to Cliffhouse Restaurant. 1,842 feet of elevation gain. See additional detail here >>
Join the Friday Morning Uphill Breakfast Club. This weekly event takes place between February and April. There is no official start time, but skinners congregate at the Tiehack and Main Buttermilk base areas and make their way up to The Cliffhouse for breakfast, served from 8:45 a.m. – 10 a.m.
SMUGGLER MOUNTAIN ROAD | Hiking only
Access this hiking trail via the free RFTA Hunter Creek shuttle. Put on your stabilizers and hike up the well-trodden trail that features views of downtown Aspen and the surrounding mountains the entire way. When you reach the observation deck, snap a photo and head back down.
Smuggler Hike: 2.9 miles round trip, 807 feet of elevation gain.