Explore Aspen Valley - 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
1 month ago

Long hike filled with rolling hills and great views. This trail is a heavily trafficked atv road but everyone was very respectful of hikers. The hike is more than worth the reward as Crysatl Mill is an unbelievable sight.

hiking
2 months ago

First hike in the snow! Just us and one other couple on the trail. Lots of animal tracks and beautiful scenery!

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!

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.

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing hike! incredible views the entire time! such a fun trail, will definitely be back! The trailhead road is pretty average, a little bumpy but it's not bad. The hike itself is pretty perfect. I would say its moderate, a few inclines but nothing extreme. Some snow at the top meow, it's beautiful.

hiking
2 months ago

Trail is 4.2 miles. Mountain bikes are not allowed and dogs must be on leash. But of course the dog owners we met while going up the steep , narrow first part of the trail didn’t think that applied to them. The two large labs came running towards us and luckily we were ready for them so they weren’t able to push us off trail and down the steep embankment. They also left a large pile of poop in the middle of the trail. That being said the trail is very nice with only the first mile or so steep. We would rate it as moderate. Worth doing again but so disappointed that dog owners are so disrespectful of the beautiful place this is for all to enjoy.

hiking
3 months ago

Excellent hike with the dogs and amazing colors late september/early october. The trail is actually 4.2 miles (one way). Not sure why AllTrails says it it so much less. Definitely at least continue hiking out of the creek canyon of the first 2.5miles to the top of the saddle. Excellent views. It is a steep continuous climb for the first 2 1/4 miles. probably not a good trail for beginner hikers or tourists not accustomed to the altitude.

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

Me and my two dogs hiked this today. We started at 8 AM and it took 2 1/2 hours to get up there. The hike was so beautiful I kept stopping to take pictures. This might have been the prettiest hike I’ve ever been on! I highly recommend this hike

hiking
3 months ago

My two coworkers and I did this hike last Sunday (9/30), and it may have been one of the prettiest treks we have ever done!

It took us about 4 and 1/2 hours to complete this hike (including 30 minutes of leisure time at the Mill while having lunch/swimming) after driving up from Denver to Marble.

As everyone has stated in their previous reviews, the amount of Jeep/ATV traffic was a bit frustrating at times, but we didn't let that deter us from enjoying our perfect day!

The road up to the trailhead is unpaved, but if you have a vehicle with decently high clearance, you can eliminate about 0.6 miles of hiking (roundtrip) by parking in the area at the top of the hill.

This was a very moderate hike that runs along the Crystal River for the vast majority of the trek. The fall colors were in full bloom as well, which made this one of the most beautiful hikes to take in Colorado’s magnificent foliage.

Once you get the Mill, there is a $10 per person fee to go under the rope and view it from the water (which we did), but you can also view it from the roped off section on the road. I would highly suggest this option, as we had lunch on a rock next to the waterfall and I even jumped in to cool off!

All in all, this is one of the more rewarding hikes I have ever done in terms of scenery. The only reason I gave this trek 4 stars instead of 5 was the amount of traffic on the road. Would definitely return sometime during the week when the trail is a bit less congested. A must do for anyone in the area!

on Thomas Lakes Trail

hiking
3 months 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.

hiking
3 months ago

I agree with other hikers. While I’m so happy I did this 10 mile hike, the atv’s, SUV’s and dirt bikes were super frustrating. Lots of dust and traffic, not foot traffic. I’d suggest going from the other side, via Crested Butte. That’ll be my plan for next fall. Crystal was so cute and I’m happy we got to see it. My black lab was in paradise the whole way! Lots of swimming opportunities

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.

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!

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful hike. Starting at the mailboxes is approximatly 10 miles roundtrip. Only four stars because of all the atv and 4x4 traffic. The dust and constantly moving out of the way gets very annoying. Amazing views and a beautiful mill. The little town of crystal is beautiful as well.

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!

hiking
3 months ago

It was a very pretty trail, great views of Sopris and the surrounding mountains! It was also very steep, and much longer than 2.9 miles. My dad had a hard time keeping up! We also didn't quite find the end, but it was very beautiful! We also brought the dog, he loved the creek!

3 months ago

Amazing views

hiking
3 months ago

Very beautiful views and the end was great, but the constant car traffic added at least an hour to our hike. Each ATV or motorbike or Jeep that passed kicked up a bunch of dirt and dust too. Be prepared to pull over on narrow roads to make room for the vehicle traffic or go on a weekday where there is less traffic.

hiking
3 months 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.

3 months ago

Did this hike on 9/22/18. The mill is beautiful, especially with the foliage this time of year. The trail is actually a 4x4 road, with loose gravel that can be a little tough on the feet if not wearing proper hiking footwear. After the initial access road the hike isn’t too challenging with a mixture of inclines and declines.
The only reason for not giving 5 stars is the amount of vehicle traffic and in particular amateur 4x4 drivers. Non stop jeeps/4x4s, atvs, and dirt bikes and the majority were very inexperienced, making it really dangerous at times for hikers. I was told it’s WAY better to go during the week with much less vehicle traffic

3 months ago

Awesome workout! All uphill plus the elevation will keep you working till the end.

off road driving
3 months ago

Beautiful in the fall. Follow the directions to the town of Crystal. We were in a 4runner and made the mistake of following someone else's directions. It took us on the extreme off road part. After several hours and extremely rough terrain (with kids in the car), we made it to the mill. At this time of year, paying $10 to go down to the water isn't worth it. You aren't allowed to fish and it's too cold to swim. The drive down was much easier. The gentle rocking put our kids to sleep. We will definitely do the drive again.

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
3 months ago

Beautiful area and easy to access the lower start. If you have any SUV don’t be scared to drive up a bit further to the fork (about 1 mile). We made the mistake of not doing that and walked a while longer. Very exposed so not recommended for children unless you are driving to the mill. Gorgeous valley and highly recommend.

hiking
3 months ago

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

hiking
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months ago

Things to know:
1. Many people talk about parking at the mailboxes, if you do this it adds at least 2 miles to the hike (one mile up steep road). There is parking at the top of this "4x4" road next to sign. READ Blog link for more info.
2. As an avid hiker, I hate to say this hike is better suited for driving an SUV or ATV as mill is a bit anti-climatic after 10 miles
3. GO early (7am) to have the road to yourself for the first few hours. You will also likely arrive at the mill before the bookstore folks have their table set up and you can walk to water at your own risk rather than pay $10
4. Don't miss the BBQ place in Marble for an amazing lunch
Here is link to blog: https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/09/20/road-trip-to-the-rockies-a-weekend-in-aspen/

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