After prominent gonzo journalist and long-time resident of Woody Creek, Hunter S. Thompson took his own life, his followers erected a shrine to his memory in the woods of the Snowmass ski area by Aspen, Colorado. Following the curious local tradition of erecting shrines to locals and celebrities in the woods surrounding the ski area, the shrine has become a quirky collection of items honoring Thompson’s life and a testament to the funkier side of Aspen’s ski culture.
The shrine was originally erected on February 20, 2006 to mark the occasion of the one-year anniversary of Hunter S. Thompson’s Death. It was placed by a group of 5 of Thompson’s friends and fans that call themselves GLUM, short for Glorious Leaders of the Underground Movement.
While the shrine has grown considerably over time, some of the significant items that made up the original shrine were an American flag, Tibetan prayer flags, a gloved arm with the word “Gonzo” written on it, a multi-colored jeweled lizard, and a copy of The Woody Creeker. Some items were donated by Thompson’s widow, Anita Thompson.
While it’s possible to hike up to the shrine, which is located near the Gunner’s View run at Snowmass Mountain Ski Resort, most of the visitors who come here are skiers. To access the ski run you must have a pass to the ski resort.
While some have pushed for removing the numerous shrines on the mountains around Aspen, the Hunter S. Thompson shrine is still alive and well, and off the beaten path. You won’t find the shrine on any trail map of the area, but plenty of locals know where it is. You’ll find it near Elk Camp in the woods just outside the ski area. The best way to get there is to ask locals on the mountain to show you the way.
While you’re in Pitkin County, stop the little village of Woody Creek, off the beaten path. While in Hunter’s former residence, you can grab a burger and beer at the Woody Creek Tavern, his favorite watering hole.
Address: Snowmass Mountain, 120 Lower, Carriage Way, Snowmass Village, CO 81615
Season: Year round (easiest access during winter)
Cost: Free (free to see, but probably need an Aspen/Snowmass ski ticket)