Discovering Aspen in Hiking Boots
One of the most exciting ways to explore Aspen is by foot. Our town has various hiking trails for all ages, abilities and fitness levels, so that all can enjoy the peace and serenity of Aspen's summer colors.
Sometimes all you need is time outdoors to indulge in a relaxed walk with friends and family. The Rio Grande Trail is a paved trail that runs from Aspen to Woody Creek. Walkers can follow the trail as far as they'd like and take in the views of the surrounding mountain ranges and sounds of the Roaring Fork River. The Grottos, located near Independence Pass, are a perfect spot for a light hike and picnic. This is an especially fun area for families to explore the waterfalls, ice caves and rock formations.
If you're looking for something a bit more stimulating, Aspen's local trail system has many options to offer. The Hunter Creek Trail has a gradual uphill climb along the Hunter Creek towards Hunter Valley. Trekkers will make their way across bridges, alpine meadows and abandoned homestead cabins in the upper portion of the trail. The Hunter Creek Trail can also be accessed while completing the Smuggler Mountain Road or Sunnyside Trail. Other moderate trails nearby include Crater Lake from the Maroon Creek Scenic Trail and Pearl Pass.
Also part of Aspen's local trail network, the challenging Ute Trail works steadily uphill through a series of switchbacks. This long aerobic workout offers rewarding views of Aspen upon reaching the top. The Castle Creek Valley, a few miles outside of downtown, offers steep climbs to American Lake and Cathedral Lake. These two trails run alongside pristine creeks, so bring your pup along and let them cool off in the refreshing rainwater and snowmelt.
For a full list of recommended Aspen-area hikes click here.