Here’s what you do: Once you make the turn from Highway 180 onto Snowbowl Road, let all the other cars continue on the five-mile trip up to Aspen Corner’s limited parking area. You will make the first right turn onto Forest Road 164B and park in a dirt pullout that almost never is overrun by vehicles.
This is where you’ll begin your trek to commune with the aspens.
OK, I can guess what you’re thinking: This guy is telling us to hoof it six miles uphill when we can easily drive it?
Yes, that is precisely what I’m advocating.
It is not that difficult, promise. Sure, there’s some elevation gain on the climb, about 1,500 feet to the 9,000-foot mark, but it’s subtle and steady rather than lung-taxing. And certainly, it’s going to take you a lot longer to make it up to Aspen Corner, but what was it the greeting cards always say — life is about the journey, not the destination.
The route takes you through woods and valleys, forests and ridges with fine views of Baderville and Hart Prairie down below, until finally the aspens arrive to dazzle the eye. Bear in mind, though, you must employ delayed gratification, because aspens will be absent the first 3.5 miles of the trek.
From FR 164B, you’ll start traveling north on an unnamed connector trail for 0.4 miles to the Rocky Moto Trail, which you’ll take east for 0.6 of a mile until reaching the junction with the Arizona Trail. You’ll make a left onto the AZT and ramble 5.1 miles to the junction with Aspen Corner or 5.6 to the Loop.