Capitol Creek Trailhead


Range: Elk Mountains
Coordinates: 39.23422, -107.07952
14ers: Capitol Peak
Elevation: 9,450'
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Road Difficulty

Easy 4WD, good clearance recommended. 3   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Rough 2WD to the horse-trailer parking spot, approx. 2 miles before the trailhead. Easy 4WD dirt to the TH. In spring and early summer, the road can get slippery on a steep hill. 4WD and good clearance is recommended in early summer.

Driving Directions

From Glenwood Springs, drive about 26 miles southeast on Colorado 82 and turn right on Snowmass Creek Road (this is not Snowmass Village). From the intersection of CO 82, it's 9.9 miles to the trailhead and the remainder of these directions assume you reset your trip-odometer at the intersection. Drive 1.7 miles to a junction and turn right on Capitol Creek road. Continue to 6.4 miles where the road turns to dirt. There's horse-trailer parking in this area and it's a good place to park if you have a low-clearance vehicle or the upper road is muddy. Continue up the rugged, narrow (and sometimes slick) road to reach the trailhead at approximately 9.9 miles.

Winter Access


More Info

Parking: Parking for about 20 vehicles.
Camping: There are a few places to set up a tent near the trailhead. Most people pack in to Capitol Lake to camp.
Restrooms? No
Fees? No
Trailhead added by BillMiddlebrook
Status Updates 
Posted By: Cide
Info: Trailhead can hold at least a couple dozen cars and on my trip it was filled completely. There is a tougher road above trailhead and another parking lot that had one vehicle in it. Someone mentioned a jeep or toyota rolled over going to that lot the other day.

Area property owners were surveying the parking lot when I got back to my vehicle. They state the parking area is used as a bathroom and they often find toilet paper in the surrounding area. There are wag bags but they state some people that ultimately use them...seal them and throw them back by the bin that holds the fresh ones. They state they are actively seeking Pitkin County help in permitting this peak.

So changes may occur at some point.
Posted By: TheSpaceForce
Info: 7/22 up, 7/23 down: 2WD with slightly-better-that-complete-amateur momentum management can get up this TH, no problem, on a dry road. We even saw a few sedans, but a few spots would probably be tricky with low clearance.
Posted By: Skimo95
Info: TH still stands at the trailer/winter parking
Posted By: alpinenut
Info: Very good conditions. Definitely Subaruable. We saw a VW golf up there!! There are steep spots so non off-road tires would have a hard time in rainy conditions.
Posted By: TakeMeToYourSummit
Info: Just a heads up to the 14er community - I spoke with the home owner at the 0.7 mile mark from the TH Sunday. Due to parked cars crowding the road (for a good chunk of the year) & the issues related (not being able to pass cars, cars going off the road, etc) he is working with the county to make it illegal to park anywhere up there between the Hay Park TH & the Capitol Creek TH (1.7ish miles between). Please factor this in when heading off to this TH to save yourself a potential ticket. The upper road to the TH has a couple of snow patches that will need 2 or 3 weeks to be gone completely. For what it’s worth Jimmy’s (11,845’) skied great. The trail was mainly snow free until the first meadow (that’s where our line went up).
Posted By: RevAtom
Info: Trail open until .7miles from the TH. Open to private drive.
Posted By: CaptCO
Info: Humpdy humps are brief, but annoying. When dry any RWD truck/SUV Crossover can make it to this TH. If you don’t care about your car, a camry probably could make it with some type 2 fun
Posted By: Gandalf69
Info: Dry road to th. Trees fell down after windy night, one hit our car. Use caution, park by small trees maybe?
Posted By: Coloradokid_
Info: 95% free of snow, a couple patches on the road with some deep ruts. A few more days of melting and 2wd cars should be able to make it all the way up.
Posted By: LetsGoMets
Info: 2WD accessible to the upper TH. Steep in places, but as long as its not wet, you are good.
Posted By: Ptglhs
Info: It’s more about the driver than the vehicle in my opinion. A 2 wheel drive low clearance car can make this Trailhead, if you’re careful about going at an angle of some of the berms. A Ford Fiesta made it with no damage.
Posted By: Chicago Transplant
Info: Road has been graded since the last time I was here (2015), and is generally a smooth dirt road with some large water diversion berms. Those and the steepness could challenge lower clearance or 2WD vehicles. Note that parking and turnaround space above the Hay Park trailhead is very limited.

Note that the creek ford to connect the Ditch Trail and Capitol Creek Trail is running about knee deep and must be waded across (no rocks or logs). If you don’t want to ford the creek, the Capitol Creek Trail has a bridge but requires 400+ feet of elevation loss/gain at the trailhead to get down there and back up.

Climbed Haystack (12er), so no trail information beyond about 10,000’, but to that point there is no snow, just some muddy patches.
Posted By: Wentzl
Info: Clear and Dry to the trailhead.
Posted By: Misi197
Info: Completely dry and easy navigating for any vehicle with decent clearance. There was even a Toyota Corolla parked up there in addition to the usual collection of Subarus and Toyotas. Several good pull offs should you come across another vehicle. You can certainly see how even the slightest of rain could turn the road into a slippery endeavor. For now though...easy access.
Posted By: hberry
Info: Road is dry and in decent shape to the trailhead. Saw a Nissan Versa at the TH, I’m sure it bottomed out a few times on the way up.
Posted By: thurs
Info: You should actually be able to drive a 2WD vehicle to the upper’s not rough at all. Saw a Chevy Malibu and a Buick up there. The berms are pretty steep though so particularly low-clearance or long wheelbase vehicles might high center. But your average honda civic should be able to make it.
Posted By: soloclimber97
Info: Road was plowed up to about a mile away from the summer trailhead. Made it up the road to the trail head in trail runners.
Posted By: krs1
Info: The summer TH can be reached if you have a 4x4 vehicle, the last mile is lightly covered with snow/ice, but one can reach the summer TH parking lot "if" you know how to drive.
Posted By: kayleenann8
Info: The road is graded and in great shape. Dry all the way to the trailhead. The dirt is loose/sandy in some spots but my stock Subaru Outback easily made it. This road will likely be another story entirely if it’s wet at all.
Posted By: bking14ers
Info: I’ve been to the TH before about 4yrs ago. The road back in there was much better this time. There’s a couple high spots that a low clearance vehicle would rub on. If your a good driver and had a lower clearance vehicle, you can easily make it back in although you will rub in a couple places. If it’s wet it would be a red mud, slippery mess I’m guessing.
Posted By: chicagostylehotdog
Info: The road is graded and in great shape. Got my stock 2009 honda civic up to the 4WD TH without much of an issue (bottomed out on soft dirt on small radius rolls approx. 3 times each way). The road is really dusty with soft dirt now, so I imagine the road will wear away quickly and you’ll need more clearance. Ruts were already starting to form on some sections. I wouldn’t recommend taking a sedan up there, mostly because it’s narrow and if you need to let a car pass, you can easily get stuck in one of the pulloffs (like I almost did). I wasn’t the only one with a sedan at the TH this weekend - I saw an Accord, a Versa, and a Corolla S up there.
Posted By: hoff_hikes
Info: Witnessed several cars being towed that were parked along side the road between the lower and upper parking lots while heading up last Thursday. Other then that, the road is in decent shape.
Posted By: Britette
Info: This is a notification from PitkinAlert: Road work on Capitol Creek Road mile marker 8.3 up to trail head. Today through the 18th, Mon-Fri, 7A-7P. Park at Hay Park or trail head, not on road, expect delays.
Posted By: Amgdharper
Info: Road up to trailhead is in great shape. It’s bumpy yes. Last 600 ft before the TH you’ll need high clearance 4wd. I’ve got an xterra pro4 and had no problem. The way people park on the side of the blows me away. Safe travels.
Posted By: Roald
Info: As stated in previous update, the last 0.5 mile of the road is pretty rough. A good driver can get a Subaru type vehicle all the way up, but high clearance 4WD recommended. Can’t believe the crazy way people that can’t make it are parking along the road.
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