Since a great number of folks hiking in this area never reach where the actual "Bassett Peak Trail" begins I figured it would be worth adding a hike description for the lower part of the trail. With a variety of vegetation including sycamore, alder, maple, ash, oak, walnut, and aspen it is well-known for a myriad of fall colors.
From the trailhead you begin hiking up the East Divide Trail #287 following the North Fork of Ash Creek. While much of it appears to be flat, the trail climbs a total of 1,000' with 400' of gain coming in the first two miles. The trail then steepens a bit and you'll climb another 600' over the next mile. Much of this part of the trail is heavily wooded and you will criss-cross the creek numerous times along the way. At the crossings you will enjoy a small amount of boulder-hopping.
Just over 2 miles out you walk past a trough used by the local game. This trip we observed a hunting tree-stand overlooking the trough so the lazy, un-sporting hunter can sit and wait for the game to come to the watering hole. Last time out here 2 years ago there was no stand but a hunter was sitting just a few hundred feet uphill from the trough for the same reason. As much noise as he made just sitting there I doubt he had any chance of bagging any game.
Once you reach Upper Ash Springs you will be amidst a stand of a few dozen aspen. The trickling water makes for a peaceful break before heading back down the trail. Due to the gradual climb on the way up you may not realize just how much you climbed until to head back down. Your feet will feel much lighter than on the uphill hike and one may almost feel refreshed as they continue down.
The hardest part of this hike is knowing when the best fall colors will arrive. Unfortunately this year we were a bit too soon... probably just over a week. - Nov 06 2011 CannondaleKid