Berthoud Pass: Hell's Half Acre & East Side
Hells Half Acre is the “East Side” of the old Berthoud Pass ski area. When the ski area was operating, these runs ended at a shuttle stop at the second switchback on northbound Highway 40. The routes on Hells Half Acre are steep and committing, but the East Side runs directly above the parking lot are mellow and a great place to take someone who is new to backcountry skiing. Both the East Side and Hells Half Acre have quick accessibility and are great choices for powder runs on a dawn patrol morning.
Hell's Half Acre & East Side
- Season: Winter
- Summit Elevation: 11,700’
- Aspect: West, North, Northwest
- Elevation Range: 11,300’ – 11,700’
- Vertical: 300’ – 700’
- Snowmobile Access: Snowmobiles are not allowed at Berthoud Pass.
There is usually a skin track and a boot pack from the parking lot straight up along the left side of Powderline along the trees. This leads to various drop-in points for Hells Half Acre. To access the East Side runs such as Bell Trail/Dunn’s Run you can follow the gentle and switch backing path of the CDT East trail.
The trails on the East Side all return to the Berthoud Pass parking lot. The Hells Half Acre runs end near the second large switchback on the North side of Highway 40. [39.801, -105.7749] The further out you go the more you will have to traverse back to this point. From the switchback you can easily skin back up Hell’s Half Acre to the Pass. You can try to hitch from the other side of the road. The drainage below these runs leads to a three and a half mile run down Seven Mile to the final switchback leading to Winter Park.
5,6,7 - High Trail Cliffs (The Fingers, The Knuckle, The Choke) – These chutes and cliffs require a lot of snow to fill in and be stable. Best to ski these in the spring. From looker’s left to right: The Fingers (5), The Knuckle (6), and The Choke (7).
8 - North Chute - North Chute is skier’s right of Sentinel Chute and frequently slides.
9 - Sentinel Chute – Traverse past Hightrail Trees to an old pole.
10 - Hanging Meadow –Just past Hightrail Trees to skiers right and a perfect avalanche angle.
11 - High Trail Trees –Enter these steep trees near where the skin track reaches tree line.
12 - Shop Chutes - Steeper tree chutes that start about a third of the way up the Powderline skin track.
13 - Hell’s Half Acre –Drop into this run from the edge of the parking lot on the left side of the restrooms. Hell’s Half Acre is frequently used for beacon practice.
14 - Colorado Mines Peak –Colorado Mines Peak is usually wind swept, but at the right time you can take the CDT East trail to the summit and ski down from 12,493’.
15 - Powder Line –This is the skier’s right side of the main run above the Berthoud Pass parking lot.
16 - Bonanza –Bonanza is the skier’s left side of the main run above the Berthoud Pass parking lot.
17 - Bell Trail/Dunn’s Run –Short glade runs that are not frequently skied.
18 - CDT East –This is the road that is most often used as a skin track to access the East Side runs and Floral Park runs, but there are some fun glades on the skier’s left leading back to the Pass.
Berthoud Pass Summit (11,300’)
The summit of Berthoud Pass is the epicenter of backcountry skiing on this part of the Front Range. There is a large parking lot and a small building with restrooms and a warm room that you can use to gear up on cold day. The summit is on Highway 40 18 miles from Empire (near exit 232 on Interstate 70) and 11.3 miles on Highway 40 from Winter Park. [39.798, -105.7771]
+ MAPS & PICTURES
Below we have included a link to a Google interactive map and a curated list of photos of the mountain.