Golden Leaf Half Marathon Course Info
The Golden Leaf starts on Fanny Hill just off the pedestrian mall in Snowmass Village at an elevation of about 8650ft. The course climbs up a ski area access road along the Dawdler run. As the Dawdler run has been seeded for grass this year, the course leaves the Dawdler Run and follows the main road (left of Dawdler) towards a maintenance building where it then turns right and reconnects to Dawdler higher up. You will then come to the "T" in the road. Turn left & follow this road a couple hundred yards to a pond where there is a fork in the road. Take the right fork (the pond will be on your left) & ascend to the 1st aid station at about 1.5 miles (elevation approx. 9620 ft). The Government Trail intersects the road at this point. Follow it to the east (left). ***ATTENTION*** Course modification: West Government Trail has been permanently realigned on the Snowmass Ski Area. The Golden Leaf will be following this new alignment (the old alignment has been closed for revegetation. The trail turn-off (and the aid station) will now cut off about two hundred yards before the old turn-off and aid station. It is still to the left (east). It follows a well cut and marked trail (called, again, Government Trail) until it meets the old trail just before the broken down footbridge that was at the old two mile mark.
The Government Trail is a single track that contours the mountainsides between Snowmass & Buttermilk before descending to the outskirts of Aspen. The trail is dirt with some obstacles (rocks, roots, etc.) and the terrain is hilly aspen forests & meadows. The 1st section is a rolling descent across Snowmass Ski Area. At about 2.25 miles, the trail merges w/a dirt road (Alpine Springs work road). Proceed downhill on this road and look for the trail to your right after 100 yards. Just after three miles do a steady 100yd climb up a ski run to an abandoned work road. Follow this road to the left and slightly downhill until you see the trail resume again on your left. ***ATTENTION*** Course modification: Instead of taking this trail to the left, which is closed for revegetation, continue on about another 100 yards until you intersect the Elk Camp Road. Turn left and go downhill on the road until you hit the Government Trail turn-off to the right. Take this to the right and you will be on the old race course alignment again. There are many signs and maps here. The course then continues on as it has in the past.
It goes down a long gradual hill to a meadow. Soon you will exit the ski area. Just before the five mile mark, there is a significant hill climb of about 300 ft. (elevation approx. 9400 ft.). Shortly after, at about 5.75 mi., you are rewarded w/ an aid station followed by some relatively flat to declining terrain.
The next landmark is a Forest Service gate followed by a very rocky flat section (approximately 7 mi.). Subsequently, the course begins a gradual descent across Buttermilk. Just before 8 miles, the trail begins an extended steeper descent into Maroon Creek. One section of the downhill is a power line cut followed by an intersection with a service road. Abandon the trail and follow the road for about 400 yards, even though the trail falls steeply off to the left. The 10 mile aid station is on this short road section. The trail from the aid station diagonals across the ski slope following first a double track then a single track until it leaves the eastern margin of the ski area. The trail then winds down to the Tiehack road which is followed to the north
until taking a hard right onto the Terral-Wade bridge. After crossing the bridge the route leaves the asphalt, taking a trail to the left (thru the Moore Property). After about a mile running in the sage the route leads out onto the Maroon Creek Pedestrian bridge, takes a left onto the bike path and takes the next left onto the Castle Creek Pedestrian bridge. On the path leaving the bridge where it takes a hard left the route takes a hard right instead. Follow a single track by a pond on the right. The path goes left here and diagonals to the community garden across the parapet/hanglider landing zone. The route goes right where the access to the garden is on the left and follows double tracks to the bike path leading over the Marolt bridge. Taking a left off of the bridge onto 7th street the route leads to Hopkins Ave. where it follows the adjacent bike path a few blocks until the turn up to Little Cloud Park. After taking this turn, a hard left is taken onto the dirt path on the old train right of way. The path is followed a few hundred yards to the finish line.
Caution! This is a backcountry race course and contains many obstacles including embedded rock, loose rocks and dirt, roots, water and more. In addition to possibly hazardous trail conditions, weather conditions can change rapidly in the Aspen Snowmass area. Whereas there are volunteer medical personnel along the course and at aid stations, there is no guarantee of rescue or medical attention. Each participant is ultimately responsible for their own rescue and preparation for course and weather conditions.
Aid stations with medical assistance and beverages will be available for the running race at approximately 1.75, 4 and 10.5 miles. As this is a RUNNING RACE, There are 3 cut-off time locations where runners will be asked to exit the race if they do not meet the given times: 1st Aid Station (1.75 mi.)=40min.; Where Government Trail leaves the Elk Camp Ski Area Rd(4 mi.)=1hr 10min; 3rd Aid Station(10.5 mi.)=3 hours.