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One of the most beautiful hikes in the Aspen area.....it’s the perfect trail that starts with a climb through the forest, than turns into a single track that slowly rises through a picture perfect meadow. A small stream crossing and a very pretty water fall. All followed up with a very steep climb through the alpine tundra.... this hike for us was both physically and mentally challenging. Pack water water water-bring salty snacks and sweets.... to keep your self fueled. We started around 10:30 and there were only 4 other cars there. We ended up being the last ones to hike out.....even though we left Grizzly Lake before some fishermen but they passed us on the way down. Kinda left me feeling weary.... I can’t recall being so isolated on a trail before... I would have felt better had I seen a trail box to sign in before the start of our hike. (Hiked mid August 2017)

Scenic and steady hike up. Perfect amount of backpacking-per-day. Springs were great, campground was dispersed. We thought the hike was quite manageable, but we found two texans stranded on the trail with no water and some pretty bad altitude sickness. Creeks are everywhere, so bring a water filter. High avalanche danger in the winter.

Did this loop after a good 4-6 inch snow accumulation over night. First tracks around 9 am were fine trudging through with beautiful snow covered trees and babbling streams. Took smuggler coming down with great snowy views of the valley below. Got a bit muddier as it got warmer. Great trail and loop! Wubba lubba dub dub!

3 months ago

Great views on way up. . Option of riding tram down!

hiking
3 months ago

Due to lack of snow, you have to watch out for ice patches in some sections, hiking poles were helpful. Absolutely gorgeous hike/scenery with mixture if moderate and easy hiking.

3 months ago

Trail closed on 12/27/17 due to conditions.

4 months ago

Closed 12/17

on Cathedral Lake Trail

4 months ago

Stunning views!

hiking
5 months ago

I don't recommend doing this hike all in 1 day. It's a bit much even for relatively experienced hikers. Even so, this was a great hike with a couple cool (but mild) challenges. Docking 1 star because the hot spring area wasn't that well kept and because I've been on better hikes.

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

Awesome trail! Beautiful views! Lake was a beautiful turquoise color. Shortly after reaching the lake the sun went behind the clouds and a weather system came in so we had some snow! Continuous assent made it challenging and going down wasn't any easier. Would definitely go again though.

Went October 5th from 11-4pm. Took me and my girlfriend visiting from FL about 5 hours and was very difficult for us. The switchbacks towards the end were very muddy and had a lot of slush making that last bit very dangerous and nerve wrecking! Saw others with poles going up with ease. The view was absolutely breathtaking and so worth all the struggle ✌

It's already winter up there so bring your layers! Snowed 4 inches the night we camped up by the springs. Also there are free wag bags at the trailhead. Use them! You'll save the Forest Service a lot of unpleasant work.

hiking
6 months ago

We loved the pretty views on this trail! Very rocky on the first half of the trail, so proper footwear is a must!

The best hike of my life. The scenery was amazing. Wading the open stream and crossing the railless bridges were unforgettable challenges.

trail running
7 months ago

This was a fun trail! I didn't complete it due to not carrying water and wanted to keep my run short. Definitely rocky in some areas. But can't wait to come back and do the entire trail probably hiking. This was my first trial run and the altitude kicked my butt!

Hardest hike of my life because of the altitude, I'm from a sea level city and never been in the mountains before, but it was definitely worth the hike and experience. Scenery was amazing and the people you meet on the way were very nice. We camped over night and left early morning; to be honest I wish we could've stayed a little longer for the view and hot spring. Would recommend to anyone wanting a hike with great scenery.

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike through the forest. Easy Hike . Great view of the lake. Hiked early in the morning . No one was there.

Lots of fun if you like loose rock.

hiking
7 months ago

Road to parking lot a bit bumpy. First to the lot for the day. 34 degrees to start, but was down to short shirt sleeves in 1/4 mile. Aspens are starting to look beautiful in several areas. Hike was hard, but very much worth it.

Up Hunter Creek was a delight for an urban community. There were boardwalks where wetlands needed protection and several bridges crossing the creek. Heavy use speaks well of the community's commitment to to outdoor activities. Coming down Smugglers Road was not very exciting. The bottom of the route was not well marked back to the trailhead.

7 months ago

Aspens had just begun to turn which made an incredible hike even more so. It was strenuous but well worth it.

Easily accessible from downtown Aspen. Head up hunter Valley first, then down Smuggler for about a ~4 mile alt. Route that finished right down Aspen with great views of Aspen mountain at the end for your reward

hiking
7 months ago

Great and beautiful hike. Easily accessible from Aspen town. Went up smuggler in the hot sun with two kids (10 and 12) which was difficult but the rest was very enjoyable.

hiking
7 months ago

Absolutely beautiful start to finish. Sept 1 , parts of the aspen groves have started to change to gold. There is a side trail to see castle creek acting more like a rushing waterfall just past the aspens. Once you get through the switchbacks, you're solid! A lot of different trails to get across the creek to the lake, they all seemed to work fine. Hike around the lake to the boulder field for best views and a great lunch spot. 4.5 hours round trip with a lunch break !

7 months ago

Amazing views from the top! Not for a beginner as the incline is fairly relentless but worth it. My advice would be to grab a beer at the top to reward yourself and ride the gondola down!

When you finally reach the lake, there isn't much space to view said lake. Boulders, branches, and people everywhere. It's a quick hike if you're driving through independence pass, but be prepared for a letdown at the top!

Challenging but an awesome beautiful hike!

We went from 8/18/17-8/20/17.
As challenging as it was, it was incredibly rewarding once you get to the top and soak in the hot springs. Bring flip flops/ water shoes (highly recommended) if you need them to cross water or also to use at the hot springs. Get there EARLY, and start the trail early to get a camp site at the top. Really be mindful of how you pack your load. Be prepared for the ascent up, it's not easy with 20-40lbs on your back. You cannot have fire at the very top camp sites so be prepared to bring freeze dried food/ or any type of food that you just need to add water.
Make sure to bring a rain cover for your pack and dry bags in the case there is a random rain shower (it really saved us from having wet everything inside our packs), especially since it gets COLD at night!
The hike was just insanely beautiful the whole way and back! Highly recommended.

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