Due to unprecedented and historic fire conditions, U.S. Forest Service-Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland is temporarily closing all National Forest land in Clear Creek, Jefferson, Gilpin, Boulder, and Larimer counties. The decision to be re-evaluated daily. SEE CLOSURE ORDER

Montezuma Basin

Aspen, Colorado (Pitkin County)

Last Updated: 10/10/2020
4.5 / 5 ( 4 reviews )
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: 11/23 - 05/20
Length: 2.3 miles
Highest Elevation: 12600 feet
Duration: About 1 hour
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Aspen
Nearest Town w/ Services: Aspen
Official Road Name: 129
Management Agency: White River National Forest
District: Aspen Ranger District
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles


Highlight: Montezuma Basin
Montezuma Basin Road is just south of Aspen in the White River National Forest. The road starts at Waypoint 6 of the legendary Pearl Pass and takes you up to 12,800 feet, near the base of Castle Peak, which is Colorado's ninth tallest 14er (14,279 ft). The road was used as mining access to Montezuma Mine, which operated from 1879 to 1960. It also operated off and on as a ski resort from 1967-1977 with one snowfield and a tow rope. This road isn't necessarily difficult, but you must be fearless as the road is comprised of many long, exposed segments of shelf road, with some of it being off-camber, which could send you tumbling down very steep, rocky slopes. From the base of Castle Peak, you can begin to hike this 14er. Make sure you take in all the amazing views of the area and imagine what it would be like to live here year-round in the early 1900s! As with other mines, please look but don't touch. Preserve this history for generations to come.


7 day forecast for Montezuma Basin

Route Information

Technical Rating:

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1. Trail Start (0 mi)
Montezuma Basin trailhead is Waypoint 6 of Pearl Pass. Keep right to go up to Montezuma Basin, or stay left to continue on Pearl Pass Road.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 39.005491, -106.838135

Starting Point: Ashcroft Ghost Town

From Aspen, take Castle Creek Road south about 14 miles past the Ashcroft Ghost Town. Follow Pearl Pass Road to Waypoint 6, which is the Montezuma Basin Road junction.



Trail Reviews (5)

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Open all the way. Beautiful day. Lots of hikers.

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Made it all the way to the second "parking lot" and then hiked Castle Peak. The trail is really rough, and was a lot of work for me and my 08 Subaru Forester, but I have a 2" lift, skid plates on everything important, and a rear torq locker. Anything with solid axles should make it up this fine though.

Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:
Trail 15 aka pearl pass completely destroyed and impassable due to multiple avalanches leaving debris pile 30ft deep 100s of yards long.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Seasonally closed until 5/20.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Thanks for the clarification Ryan!

Questions & Answers (0)

Writer Information


Chief Technology Officer

John is a Colorado native who's been 4 wheeling since he got his first tacoma. His original goal of 4 wheeling was to get back into the campsites the Subarus couldn't quite get to. One trip after another, and now it's pretty much consumed all of his free time. He is currently living in Laporte, CO. When he is not coding for Trails Offroad or 4 wheeling, he also enjoys hiking, skiing, snowmobiling, and mountain biking.
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