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Hiking Trails

There are hiking trails located within steps of downtown Aspen,  there is literally a hike for every age and ability!

A map of hiking trails and more in Pitkin County (Aspen, Snowmass and surrounding areas) is now available online and via a free mobile app, called Pitkin Outside. Download it now to start planning your journey. Users are able to export a GPS file or print a PDF map.

Find even more trails with Aspen Trail Finder, a locally built resource for hiking, biking, and running outdoors in the entire Roaring Fork Valley.

Want to visit the US Forest Service Office in Aspen? For summer 2015 it will be located at the base of Aspen Highlands  in the Highland’s Ticket Office, conveniently located on the Roaring Fork Transit Authority (RFTA) free bus route.

Trailheads in & around Aspen

  • Rio Grande Trail -This is both a hiking and biking trail. The trail starts behind the Post Office on Puppy Smith Road. The first two miles of the trail are paved and then becomes a dirt trail after crossing Cemetery Road. Elevation: 7,700 ft. - 7,900 ft. (EASY)
  • Hunter Creek - The trail begins just east of the apartments on Lone Pine Road or directly off of the Rio Grande Trail extension which was completed in 2013.  This is a gradual uphill climb along the Hunter Creek towards Hunter Valley.  To access the upper trail, drive north on Mill Street, veer left onto Red Mountain Road and follow for 1.1 miles to Hunter Creek Road.  Turn right onto Hunter Road and follow the signs to the parking lot.  Upper portions of the trail pass through alpine meadows scattered with several abandoned homestead cabins.  Miles one way: 6.5.  Elevation: 8,900 ft. - 10,400 ft. (EASY - MODERATE)
  • Smuggler Trail - This trailhead accesses Smuggler Mountain Road, one of the most popular recreation areas in the immediate Aspen vicinity. Any spring, summer or fall afternoon, Smuggler Mountain Road is busy with Aspenites hiking, running, mountain biking or walking their dogs. Smuggler Road provides a short (1-1/2 mile) work out with great views of Aspen from the look-out point, which makes it very popular. You can access the Hunter Creek Trail or continue to Warren Lakes.(EASY - MODERATE)
  • Sunnyside Trail - The first part of the trail contains a series of switchbacks through sagebrush and scrub oak. About 1 mile along the trail, you will cross a driveway and then continue on to Red Mountain. The trail finally joins with the Hunter Creek Trail in the Hunter Creek Valley. As there are many spurs that can lead to one getting lost, a topographical map is recommended. Miles one way: 6.3. Elevation: 8,000 ft. - 10,000 ft. (MODERATE - DIFFICULT)
  • Ute Trail - The trail starts close to town on Ute Avenue. The sign for the trail is approximately 0.4 miles up Ute Avenue on the right if you are headed east. It is steady uphill with switchbacks, 0.9 miles and 1,000 vertical feet to a rock outcropping. The view of Aspen from the rock outcropping is spectacular. A mile long aerobic workout. (DIFFICULT)

Trailheads East of Aspen off of Hwy 82 (click on Trailhead name for link to more description and maps)

  • Weller Lake - One way, the trip is about 0.6 miles.  (EASY)
  • Grottos - This is a popular area for picnicking and exploring.  There is a waterfall, some interesting rock formations, an ice cave, and numerous short trails.  This is a great area for families. (EASY)
  • Ruby - The old town of Ruby is an abandoned mining camp.  Drive east on Hwy 82 for 11 miles to the Lincoln Creek Road turnoff.  Follow the dirt road 6 miles to Grizzly Reservoir.  At this point the road becomes a four-wheel drive road.  You can begin your hike here.  The road continues 5 miles to the ghost town of Ruby.  (EASY)
  • Discovery Trail - This trail is located approximately 13 1/2 miles east of Aspen on Hwy 82 on your right.  This is designed to give the blind hiker a feel for the outdoors.  Twenty-two messages are provided along the trail in both Braille and in print.  Nylon cord guides are provided for the blind.  The hike begins at about 10,400 feet in elevation.  (EASY)
  • Grizzly Lake - The hike is 3.6 miles (one way) in length with an elevation gain of 2,000 feet.  A moderate hike until the end where you have 1/4 of a mile of switchbacks.  (MODERATE)
  • Tabor Lake - The trail is 3.9 miles one way.  Tabor Lake is accessible from this trail about 1/2 mile to the west.  Elevation: 10,300 ft. - 12,300 ft.  (MODERATE)
  • Anderson & Petroleum Lakes - The trail follows an old jeep road and will end with Anderson Lake 1/3 of a mile to the left and Petroleum Lake  3/4 of a mile to the right.  The total hiking distance to Petroleum Lake is 1.8 miles one way.  Elevation: 11,200 ft. - 12,200 ft.  (MODERATE)
  • Lost Man Trail - Miles one way: 8.9.  Elevation: 10,500 ft. - 12,800 ft.  (MODERATE - DIFFICULT)
  • Midway Trail -The trail connects with the Hunter Creek Trail that eventually will take you back to Aspen (20 miles).  A topographical map is mandatory!  Miles one way: 8.8.  Elevation: 9,900 ft. - 11,900 ft.  (DIFFICULT)
  • New York Creek Trail - The length is 4.2 miles one way.  A topographical map is mandatory - it is easy to get lost.  Elevation: 10,000 ft. - 12,300 ft.  (DIFFICULT)

Trailheads in & around Woody Creek

  • Woody Creek Trail - Miles one way: 9.7.  Elevation: 8,600 ft. - 11,600 ft.  (MODERATE)
  • Spruce Creek Trail - The trailhead begins 7 miles past the town of Lenado.  Lenado is about 10 miles east of the Town of Woody Creek.  Length is 3.4 miles.  Elevation: 8,500 ft. - 12,500 ft.  (MODERATE)

Trailheads in the Castle Creek Valley

  • Conundrum Hot Springs - The natural Hot Springs is at the end of a gently rising 8.8 miles.  Camping around the Hot Springs is limited.  If continuing up Triangle Pass, you can connect with the East Maroon and Copper Passes, or continue approximately 10 miles further to Gothic at Crested Butte.  Miles one way: 8.5.  Elevation: 8,500 ft. - 12,500 ft.  (EASY - MODERATE - DIFFICULT)
  • Pearl Pass Road - This was once a popular old wagon road to Crested Butte.  This trail, which is also a 4-wheel drive road, begins off Castle Creek Road about 1 3/4 miles beyond the ghost town of Ashcroft.  The road starts to the right, continue about 3 1/4 miles until a fork is reached.  Veering to the left will take you to the top of Pearl Pass (4 1/2 miles).  The right fork leads to Montezuma Basin.  (MODERATE)
  • American Lake - The trail rises steeply and then follows a series of switchbacks for the first 1 1/2 miles.  Then the trail levels off with gentle rises until you reach the lake at 3.2 miles.  Miles one way: 3.2.  Elevation: 9,400 ft. - 11,400 ft.  (MODERATE - DIFFICULT)
  • Cathedral Lake - The trail climbs steadily and then reaches a series of switchbacks followed by a marked fork.  Take the left fork to Cathedral Lake for a total hike of 3.2 miles.  Cathedral Lake is very scenic with fair fishing.  If hiking to Electric Pass, it is advisable to start early and descend by Noon, as lightning storms are likely to occur in the afternoon hours.  Miles one way: 3.5.  Elevation: 9,500 ft. - 11,866 ft.  (MODERATE - DIFFICULT)

Trailheads in & around the Maroon Bells

  • Maroon Lake Scenic Trail - The trail follows the lake to the far side and meanders along the creek flowing into the lake.  This is a great place for pictures and picnics.  Miles one way: 1.3.  Elevation: 9,500 ft. - 10,000 ft. (EASY)
  • Crater Lake - The trail begins at Maroon Lake, 10 miles up Maroon Creek Road.  The Maroon-Snowmass Trail climbs through the Aspens to the lake.  The left trail or the scenic trail follows a river and crosses two bridges, then climbs steeply to meet with the Maroon-Snowmass Trail.  Distance to the trail is 1 3/4 miles one way.  (MODERATE)
  • East Maroon Trail - Miles one way: 8.5.  Elevation: 9,000 ft. - 12,000 ft.  (EASY - MODERATE - LONG)
  • West Maroon Pass - From the top of the pass, the trail descends to the Frigid Air Pass, and Schofield Park out of Crested Butte.  The hike to Crested Butte is about 12 miles.  The top of the pass is tricky and steep.  The soil can be slick if it is wet.  Miles one way: 6.2.  Elevation: 10,000 ft. - 12,500 ft.  (MODERATE - LONG)
  • Buckskin Pass - After about 1/2 mile above the tree line is the Maroon-Snowmass and Willow Lake junction.  Take the left fork that ascends steadily to Buckskin Pass.  The total distance is 4.6 miles one way.  (DIFFICULT)
  • Willow Lake Trail - Follow the directions to Crater Lake.  Then at the Crater Lake bulletin board, take the right fork.  The trail ascends steeply.  After about 1/2 mile above the tree line is the Maroon-Snowmass and Willow Lake trail junction.  At the junction, take the right fork.  The trail ascends steeply to the top of Willow Pass.  From the top of the pass, the trail descends to the junction with East Snowmass trail.  Continue straight on the trail for the last 1/2 mile to the lake.  The total hiking distance is 6 1/2 miles.  (DIFFICULT)

Trailheads in & around Snowmass

  • Brush Creek (a.k.a. Government Trail)- The trail begins a short distance up Maroon Creek Road at Islen Park behind the tennis courts.  It continues across the river to Buttermilk Mountain.  The total trip of 7 miles (one way) to Snowmass Village winds through wooded areas and meadows.  This is a pleasant hike after a steep beginning.  Hikers MUST be careful to stay on the trail as it crosses private property.  Miles one way: 6.8.  Elevation: 9,400 ft. - 11,400 ft. (EASY - LONG)
  • East Snowmass Creek / Willow Lake- This trail is a fairly steep hike and goes through varying terrain along East Snowmass Creek.  The round trip is about 17 miles with an elevation gain of 4,200 feet.  Miles one way: 8.2.  Elevation: 8,400 ft. - 12,600 ft.  (DIFFICULT)