|Length||4.4 miles round trip|
|+750, -750 feet|
|Navigation||Road and marked trail|
|Season||December through mid-April|
|Snowmobiles Use||Not permitted [Please report illegal use of snowmobiles in this area.]|
|USGS Topo||7.5' series, Pinecrest|
|Start||Dodge Ridge Ski Resort parking loop. Follow Dodge Ridge Road to where the one-way loop of the ski area parking lot begins. A right turn at this point leads into the parking area at the Crabtree Trailhead.|
The tour to Aspen Meadow includes a long uphill climb that becomes a corresponding long downhill run on the return. The brisk descent can be wonderful in the right snow conditions; it can be treacherous in the wrong snow conditions.
This tour is rated intermediate based on the downhill return. That said, many beginner-intermediate skiers go this way and you will find some carrying their skis when the conditions make the descent difficult.
The best time to visit this area is after the snow has consolidated and the weather is warm. These are the easiest conditions in which to control your speed on the descent. Powder conditions are great too, but at this relatively low elevation they can be illusive.
Note: The Pinecrest Nordic Ski Patrol has marked many backcountry ski trails in this area. Where applicable, the numbers and name of the trails are given in brackets. Visit their website to download a map showing all the marked trails or obtain a map at the Summit Ranger District office at #1 Pinecrest Lake Road near the junction with Highway 108.
Waypoint 1 to 3
Miles: 0.0 - 0.4
Elevation change: -50 feet
From the trailhead (1) ski on the spur road that weaves southwest for 0.4 mile until you reach the intersection with Crabtree Road (3). You may or may not see the road junction at mileage point 2, which is located 0.1 mile from Crabtree Road. The road that intersects the spur road you are on enters from the east (left), is part of a series of roads that lead to the ski resort, and is sometimes groomed. You will know you are at Crabtree Road because a stop sign and road direction sign will probably be visible.
Waypoint 3 to 5
Miles: 0.4 - 1.6
Elevation change: +550 feet
Turn southeast (left) onto Crabtree Road and ski in that direction for 0.9 mile and then north for 0.3 mile until you reach Hair Pin (5) an almost 180-degree turn in the road. You may or may not see the road junction at mileage point 4, which is located 0.4 mile from the previous road junction. The junction at mileage point 4 is a Y with the north-most (left) fork heading downhill and is part of a series of roads that lead to the ski resort. It is sometimes groomed. This tour stays on the larger, south-most (right) fork. [#5 Aspen Meadow trail]
Waypoint 5 to 6
Miles: 1.6 - 2.1
Elevation change: +150 feet
Continue climbing south on Crabtree Road for 0.5 mile until you reach a road junction (6). The road makes a left turn just before you reach the junction. [#5 Aspen Meadow trail]
You can make an interesting short detour from the road junction by skiing west, at first through trees and then in the open, for 0.1 mile until you reach the top of a ridge from which there is an expansive view to the north and west.
Waypoint 6 to 7
Miles: 2.1 - 2.2
Elevation change: Nil
Continue east (straight) on Crabtree Road for 0.1 mile until you reach a pack station and Aspen Meadow (7). [#5 Aspen Meadow trail]
Return to trailhead
Miles: 2.2 - 4.4
Elevation change: -750 feet
Retrace the route for 2.2 miles back to the trailhead (1).