Explore Aspen - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Great hike to see pretty fall colors in the mountains. Moderate trail on the initial 3/4 mile (?) or so climb, then levels out and is easy. In the first clearing you’ come to a gravel road. It looks like the trail should continue straight, but there’s a brown wooden sign with a big arrow pointing left. Turn left to walk up the road about 100 ft to continue on the trail. There’s a log near the arrow now signaling not to go straight. Anywho, enjoyable trail.

on Thomas Lakes Trail

hiking
15 days ago

Nice drive to the trail head, great scenery all the way through.
trail is nice but gets a lil difficult in certain areas...(inclines) but if u tread through and make it to the top it is exactly what u expect pure awesomeness.... Enjoyed every min of the 2.5 hr trex up.

Beautiful hike! The hike was actually 18.5 miles round trip from the parking lot to the springs. One of the most breathtaking hikes I’ve been on. People aren’t very considerate of others presence; we had a large group of 5 men and 1 woman all get completely naked and get in the springs while there were others in it. Do everyone a favor and pack a swimsuit and towel, because no one wants to see you naked in the springs while trying to relax. Only thing that put a damper on this otherwise beautiful hike!

A BEAUTIFUL hike. The trees and views are beyond stunning along the entire path and it’s an amazing lake. Pretty populated in the early afternoons but the lake is big enough to have some alone time at the top.

It was a strenuous hike due to its length and the steep incline at the end, but great for anyone looking for that “We made it!!!” feeling. I recommend taking the time to hike around the lake to see the flowers, plants and wildlife.

Great for those wanting a wholesome Colorado nature experience.

Absolutely stunning and worth every step! Took us 4 hours to get up with our packs and 3 hours to get down. The springs were beautiful and the sunrise was amazing! Definitely possible to do it as a day hike but do yourself a favor and reserve a campsite!

We loved this trail!! We are not used to doing trails like this because we are from Oklahoma, but loved the length and it was a great workout!

Short off road ride to the mouth of the trail. Was a nice sneaky road to the trail. We took our stock Jeep Wrangler to the mouth of the trail with no problem.

Absolutely stunning due to all the aspen trees. So incredible! Trail is well paved, not too rocky. Certain parts are a bit rocky and the switch backs get steep at the end. All worth it! Enjoy!

The spring and scenery are worth the challenging climb. I was surprised that I finished it, coming from New Orleans at sea level. Make sure to bring extremely warm clothes, because we did freeze our butts off at night (late September)

hiking
22 days ago

Somewhat difficult if not in shape or lowlander. Views were gorgeous south pines and aspens. 2 areas of scree to maneuver but just take your time and don't rush. Remember to start down before sun starts to set for light on the way down.

hiking
24 days ago

Steep at first but it levels out. The aspen are beautiful!! Definitely worth it.

Beautiful trail in the fall, even if you just go to Independence Lake.

backpacking
25 days ago

WARNING - DO NOT DEPEND ON WAG BAGS AT TRAILHEAD - BRING A SHOVEL!! We were expecting to find the advertised free WAG bags at the trailhead, but the box was empty. From the number of day trip permits piled up in the box, it had been a while since a ranger had been up. Luckily we always carry a shovel anyway, but it would have sucked to be digging an 8-inch hole with a stick up there in the rocky soil.

This was an amazing trail. My daughter and I have been backpacking together since she was 9, and 12 years later this trip was definitely the most incredible one so far. Our campsite was clean, our fellow campers/soakers were sweet and considerate (no late loud parties in the pool), and the views were mind blowingly beautiful. We spent 2 nights, which gave us a nice lazy day of hot springs time before heading back down.

It took us 6 hours to hike up, but the second half of that hike was in steady cold rain (the trail gets slippery). On a clear day it would have easily been 5 hours. We took a leisurely 4 hours to hike down, could’ve done it in 3 if we’d been motivated.

If you’re thinking about it, just get the permit and do it. You won’t be disappointed!

One of my favorite hikes. Perfect time right now with gold aspen leaves. The first 6 switchbacks thru the Aspens are worth it and then the climb thru the pines and meadows is even better. Be on bear alert.

hiking
27 days ago

My new favorite fall hike! Challenging but not too difficult. Stunning with the aspens and the lake.

hiking
27 days ago

What a pleasant surprise. This trail begins as a rocky road with mtn bikers. It wasn't terribly exciting and the fall colors were limited. Then at the junction, the aspens improved. Many people were confused by the number of lakes, first lake on right is more like a large pond, then second lake on right is nice by the best views are at the third lake where no one went!! We had it to ourselves except for the SALAMANDERS. So Cool! Pics and details here: https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/09/20/road-trip-to-the-rockies-a-weekend-in-aspen/

hiking
27 days ago

Steep, but pretty fall colors and lovely lake! Pics and more details here: https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/09/20/road-trip-to-the-rockies-a-weekend-in-aspen/

hiking
28 days ago

Walked this yesterday and it was spectacular. We walked trail past the lake for about 1 mile. The views are out of this world. Hike is a steady up, but very nice trail with switchbacks. Only met 1 person the whole day. Recommended!!!

trail running
29 days ago

No better time of year than now. Stunning scenery with aspens turning and perfect weather.

hiking
29 days ago

This is a beautiful hike. It is a steady ascent all the way up, but there are 360 views up high. We walked for about 1 mile above the lake and then views of hunter-frying pan wilderness come into view. Truly spectacular

Did this as a day hike (Sunday 9/17). A moderate trail, mostly gradual with a majority of the elevation gain during the last 2.5 miles. We showed up at the trailhead around 7:30 AM with 3-4 spots still available. Started hiking around 7:40 AM, arrived at the hot spring around 11:15 AM (about 3 hr 35 min with some food and photo breaks). Spent ~2 hours at the hot springs. Then took 3 hours to return to the trailhead. Would have probably taken up longer had been staying overnight and had more gear. We each carried about 2.5 L of water with us (probably drank about 2 L), and plenty of snacks. Wore long sleeve and pants for the morning, but changed to tank top and shorts returning to the car.

The views on the way in are fabulous, a lot of walking through aspen/pine forests and open meadows. The leaves have started changing with about 1/3 bright yellow and another 1/3 light green. The views while sitting in the hot spring itself (about 90-95 F when we were there) were even more incredible. We even had the spring to ourselves for a little while. We saw a lot of people coming down while we were going up though, so I’m sure Saturday was more crowded.

We recorded about 8.5 miles each way. You may add more mileage if there’s no parking at the conundrum trailhead (you cannot park on conundrum creek road!) or if you have to pit stop at a campsite (some are before and some are after the hot spring). Creek crossings were pretty dry when we went. The large ones have flattened logs going across. There’s one crossing that has a fallen wood sign before it that says “FORD”. Here, we actually found it easier to go to a path on the right instead and walk across some fallen trees/logs.

Definitely a long hike to do in a day (by the end you’re mentally willing the parking lot to be around the next bend), but doable and worth it. I haven’t tried camping overnight (the permits were all reserved), but I would assume we went a lot faster not having 2 days/1 night’s worth of stuff with us.

Also, for anyone with dogs - there’s a point at which dogs are no longer allowed past, which includes where the permitted campsites are and the hot spring itself. Not sure if anyone’s checking, but would be a bummer to get up there and not know ahead of time! We didn’t see any rangers (nor were we camping), but I’ve heard of rangers being there to check for permits and bear canisters so just be aware.

This was my husband and my 1st backpacking trip. It is not for the faint of heart and will challenge you physically and mentally if you are packing in gear. We came from 1700ft in elevation where we live, so the altitude definitely got to my husband. The views were tremendous and the trail was well marked. It is hard at the end, definitely felt like a "money pit" reference to people coming down, "1-2 miles" always. It took us 8 hours to climb up, and 4 1/2 to get down, many people passed us up. Everyone was super friendly and encouraging, loved hearing all of the different accents. We saw lots of squirrels and a few deer. Probably not the best for a 1st time backpacking trip but the aspens were turning and the scernary was stunning and the hot springs were not crowded and averaged around 100F.

The beginning was quite steep. It did level out some. To do the 3.9 mile hike you need to turn around at the point where you hit the cross of another trail. I did not see a bench. The views were beautiful with the fall leaves.

Round trip 19 miles! If you’re very fit, this isn’t hard. The springs are amazing!! 9.4 miles ONE WAY!

1st water crossing: 2.5/3 miles
2nd water crossing: 6 miles
3rd water crossing: 6.5/7 miles.

No wading! Tevas were nice for the springs. Watched the sunrise. Started hiking at 330, made it to springs at 730 (4 hours), chilled for an hour or so. Made it back to trailhead in 3 hours. Not for faint of heart, but not impossible!

My partner and I did this entire hike (round trip) in a day, and it was rough. I have a Suunto trail watch and I tracked the hike closer to 13 miles one way - I’m not sure who’s numbers are more accurate but my watch uses GPS and tends to be accurate on nearly all of the hikes I track.

That being said, this hike is beautiful. The elevation gain is gradual and the most intense at the end right before the hot spring.

You cross three man made LOG bridges before getting to the hot springs. There are multiple rock and downed tree crossings - these don’t count ;)

Wear sunscreen. Bring a first aid kit for blisters. But be prepared for a stunning visit at the top.

Do us all a favor and if you see people eating in the pool or leaving trash, speak up. There’s permits in place for a reason and we want to keep this place as beautiful as it has been for centuries. Some people just don’t get it.

hiking
1 month ago

Tough trail, definitely a beautiful lake. Not sure I’d need to do it again.

hiking
1 month ago

such beautiful Colorado during fall! 10/10 would do it again.

hiking
1 month ago

Loved this hike. Started at Lost Msbn TH and walked up to what might be described as the head of the valley about halfway before turning back. Pity this 'loop' trail doesn't end back at he same spot. A real walkers hike rather than a climb at least for the part I did. Super views and open all the way. Saw one person on the way back in the afternoon, a hunter looking for deer. Hope he didn't find any.

This trail was absolutely stunning! The hike itself is long though. It is closer to 10 miles in each direction so be prepared for a long day if you aren’t planning on backpacking. Definitely worth the trip though!

hiking
1 month ago

A real treat. First part uphill through trees is not too tough. The views and panoramas above tree line are spectacular. The lake is end of this trail but the views do encourage you to go on. A lot of bear scat at beginning of the trail. Makes you wonder with an entire wilderness to choose from why bears choose do their business on trails. No thought for others. Shameful! Recommend this trail without hesitation despite my reservations on wildlife toiletry habits.

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