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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hiking
18 days ago

Great trail with great views, but lake was almost completely dried up during August 2018. Other than that it was great!

Was an amazing hike. Me and my 2 daughters (age 14 and 12) hiked the entire loop in middle July 2018. Was a challenge with the thin air but worth every loss of breath. Will hike this loop again in the future but not anytime soon as we live in Iowa. A MUST HIKE for anyone wanting breathtaking views the entire time. We did it in 4 days and 3 nights.

Absolutely stunning hike. I hiked this alone and ran into only one couple the entire hike. I would recommend this over the West Maroon Pass Trail if you're looking for a hike in the Maroon Bells; the views are stunning and it is much less trafficked by people (perhaps because the trail head is in a more secluded location). Overall it was mildly challenging hike, due to the elevation gain, but otherwise the terrain is forgiving and the trail is well maintained. Gorgeous view from the top of the pass.

Beautiful hike! Easy! Great views!!!

Top 3 best hikes of my life, (1st being Kalalau trail and 2nd being grand Tetons valley). Beyond spectacular for photography enthusiasts, simple walk in the park with beauty worth capturing in every angle. Continue to crater lake after this short hike and your day will be filled the magic✨

We did this hike at the end of September... so beautiful! It is crowded until you get past the second lake, and so worth it to reach the pass.

Beautiful views, lots of people, easy hike.

Like said with previous reviews the scenic trail was closed but I had my skates with me so I put those bad boys on and took a few laps around the lake . Be careful there are some soft spots. 11/12/18

Went on 11/10 - scenic trail was closed but the lake is frozen and lots of people out playing hockey. Was fun to watch. Looked like other trails were open but very muddy/snowy. Sign said road will close 11/15

hiking
2 months ago

Excellent trail that is to be experienced in the fall. We were a couple weeks late to do this. However, the snow in the path made it a bit difficult to traverse. Took us 3 hours from car to car including the breaks and photography. Would highly recommend this trail during the fall season.

hiking
2 months ago

We went off season which was October 26th. At this time there is no having to use the shuttle to get up. You need to pay at the entry of the park which is $10 per car. We went about 930a and now issues finding parking. When we got done with the hike around 1p the parking lot was pretty full. We wanted to do an easy hike as my friend just flew in the day before from Minnesota. We were planning to do the easy trail called Maroon Bells scenic trail. This was closed so other only option from that trail was Crater Lake. This was a little more challenging then we were expecting. But it was a great. Lots of rocks and boulders to climb over. There was some areas with snow and ice but not too bad. But all worth as once we got the lake it was huge (though the water was low). Enough room to go by ourselves to have a snack without being next to anyone. Would come back to do this in another season to see all the aspens.

hiked this trail in July. it's a steep hike with lots of hikers on the trail but the scenery was magnificent with an incredible little alpine lake waiting at the top. start early so you can summit the peak and really get to see everything. I can only imagine how amazing the view must be from the summit. but if you only make it to Cathedral Lake, like myself, it's still very much worth the hike. people on the trail or super friendly as well. highly recommended hike!

One of the most spectacular experiences one can have, especially in the fall!

Hiked mid-October 2018 — Beautiful!! Had the trail to ourselves, but it was well traveled enough that we could follow the footprints in the snow. You need a high clearance, 4WD vehicle to get to the trail head. One of the Honda Civics in our party didn’t make it all the way to the trailhead. Definitely recommend gaitors and spikes too. No fee for parking.

Did this trail when the scenic loop was closed. It was steep until the end and snowy and rocky in spots. But for those of us in our party who made it, it’s was great.
The lake was not very full, but the scenery was great and the local birds are friendly!
For the part of our party who couldn’t make it to the top there was an opening with a amazing Mountain View about .75 miles in. A great place to call good enough if u have to.

Amazing little hike. Creaky trees and beautiful path followed by outstanding lake. The path along the lake is impossible to find, but bouldering was fun.

hiking
3 months ago

The BEST hike, I did it in July in 3 days and it was the hardest but most fulfilling thing I have ever done in my life.

Get a good water filter, tent, rain gear (a must), the usual. We had to have a beat canister when we went and it was SO heavy, and doesnt get much lighter throughout the trip due to "bring it in bring it out." Next time we will use those bear bag type deals, much lighter and you're still able to rent those.

Its amazing, I am not in the best shape but not in bad shape and it was hard but not discouraging by any means! Have fun!!!

Beautiful views wherever you go! Challenging backpacking!

Amazing trail. Bit rocky, but great!!!!!

on Crater Lake Trail

hiking
3 months ago

At points it feels like endless scrambling through small, loose rocks. We joked that it was like hiking on the moon! Still a fun trail with pretty views at the end (although the views would be better if there was water in the lake!).

Great views, but pretty dull walking across ski fields! Probably good for fitness training.

It’s beautiful but a tourist zoo. Not saying I wasn’t one visiting the bells (from CO) but go before 8 or after 5 so you don’t have to take the bus or pay $8 a person if you already have a npks pass. Have to take the bus even if you have a dog. That was fun.

The bells we’re worth it but also tourists were playing football in front of the lake. Just keep in mind the time you go.

Beautiful views! Went in early October and it was freezing. There was snow and ice on the trail which made it a little more difficult. In the end if you aren’t a master hiker, taking rest stops along the way to take in the sceneries will get you through it.

I’m new to backpacking with this being my second trip ever. My son is an experienced hiker and he is the reason I got into doing these types of trips. We like the ease of hiking loops from a logistical standpoint so when we found this one, it was a no brained that we had to give it a go.

This trail was very difficult for me. I am not in the best physical shape but I am mentally strong which I believe is a good part of being able to successfully complete a hike like this one. There is thin air, cold, rain, hail and tough elevation changes. This can all beat you down if you can’t handle the mental aspect.

We completed the hike in 4 days in early August. Other than the rain on a couple days and the hail coming up over the passes, the weather was ok. I’m not sure there would have been a better time to hike this.

Would I do it again? Not sure. It took my knees a couple of weeks to recover from the beating they took going down the passes. The views were breathtaking and as is usually the case, pictures just don’t do it justice.

I hiked this trail CCW from 11-13 Sept 2018.

Flew into DEN and rented a car - beautiful drive, but budget 4 hours as an absolute minimum. Overnight parking is very limited at the TH, so unless you get there very early in the morning, you'll likely have to take a shuttle from town and pay for parking.

I left the TH at 1.28p on the 11th, and camped near mile 6.2 on this map. Plenty of h20 heading toward buckskin, but it got a little thin on the way down until you reach the meadows. Excellent view on buckskin, but it was quite windy, so I didnt hang out long.

After trail rider pass there is a little water at a pond, nothing else until ~ mile 11.7.

Beautiful waterfall near mile 13.5.

Camped near mile 15. Sites near water are nearly impossible to find. I just took what I could get & camped on a slight angle, then hiked several hundred yards to water.

Frigid Air pass was so beautiful in the early morning light. Hiked 3.5 hours without seeing another person.

Everywhere I read said no water between FA and Maroon passes - thats not true. I passed several great streams to get water. Beautiful basin.

Maroon pass took me about 6 minutes to climb. Literally. All of these passes with exception of Buckskin LOOK a lot taller than they actually are.

Lots of great campsites between MP and the TH. Water between MP and ~mile 21 is sparse.

One of my favorite trails. Have fun! :D

Went leaf peeping with my fiancée and 2 year old son, we did the 3.5 mile hike down from the lake. Perfect day to see the top of the Bells from where the shuttle drops you off. We were maybe a week too late for the best leaf colors but the aspens were still a stunning golden color. First part of the hike had a lot of rock slides so it took our kiddo forever to navigate but we were in no rush and enjoyed the different scenery along the way. (He finally had enough scrambling and let us pack him in the Kelty, we made great time from there...) Muddy from moisture that morning and horse droppings along the way but no complaints here. You can choose to turn around to hike back up or just meet up with the road at the end of the 3.5 miles and the shuttle will stop for you and take you back to the parking lot. We will be doing the more difficult hikes next year when our son can handle it better. Five stars no doubt.

Beautiful foliage! Definitely recommend the trail to crater Lake. I hiked with two dogs by myself and do not recommend hiking this narrow trail with two dogs. It was rainy, muddy, and slippery. At crater lake it was sleeting and cold. The lake was not dry as the post from last week said although it was cloudy and views of the mountains were not good..

Absolutely loved this hike. Beautiful views the whole way. Went in fall and the aspens were gorgeous beyond words! The hike itself isn’t super difficult but it is long and I recommend camping since it is about 8 miles in and 8 miles back. The hot springs at the end are one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been to, very serene and also super clean. We ended up hanging out there for over 4 hours because the water felt so nice and we also met some other cool people who had just done the hike. I will highly recommend this trail to anyone who is up for some camping!

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