Explore the best trails near Aspen with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
dogs on leash
Maroon Bells in the fall, there's a reason this area gets so many visitors. Seeing the Aspen change color in Aspen, CO should be on everyone's bucket list. Trailhead parking was closed so we jumped on the Aspen shuttle bus with our dog. Maroon Lake was a madhouse with visitors, lots of tourists. A quick hike through the woods and then you're at Crater Lake, which will be considerably less crowded and will take you a lot closer to the Bells.
Such a beautiful hike! Creeks, aspens, fields with wildflowers, hot springs... doesn't get any better than this. It can be a little tough at times with the elevation gain, but it's all worth it! Love the little camping area in the trees too.
Popularly rated as one of the most spectacular hikes in America, this circuit is perfect for backpacking. A friend and I attempted to do this as a 2 day (1 night) backpacker, but due to inclement weather got pushed to a 2 night (slightly over 48 hr) finish. Thunderstorms at 12000+ ft are not to be trifled with. Picture perfect from start to finish, this loop features ever wildly changing scenery to keep even hikers with the shortest of attention spans interested.
As others have commented....this trail is rocky but totally worth it !! My GPS clocked in at 3.7 Miles and 614ft of altitude gain so YMMV. Bring water!! The trail is well marked and well traveled. If you get there before sunrise, you can drive your car to the trail head without much issue.
We did this trail in late October 2016, it was 16 miles out and back according to my phone. There is a moderate incline over a long span which makes the hike more bearable. The last 2 miles are very uphill but the view is worth it. We were the only ones in the hot spring on a Sunday afternoon which was lovely. We hiked back down in the same day and made it to the car before the sun went down.
Great trail...only difficult part was finding a parking spot (Oct 23?- shuttle not running). Rocky trail with altitude gain so plan accordingly...appropriate hiking shoes (yes, don't wear high heels, flip flops or Berkenstock clogs) and bring water. Lots of dogs on the trail, too.