Cathedral Lake Trail

HARD 119 reviews

Cathedral Lake Trail is a 5.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Aspen, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
5.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2073 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

walking

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

Directions from Aspen: Drive 1/2 mile west of Aspen on Highway 82. At the roundabout, turn onto Castle Creek Road. Drive 12.2 miles up Castle Creek and turn right (shortly after passing Ashcroft) onto a gravel road, driving a 1/2 mile to the trailhead.

5 days ago

Awesome trail, no snow at all. Took us 3 hours with a short lunch break at the lake.

hiking
19 days ago

As of 6/1/18 the top is still snowpacked and the trail easily lost. Can’t wait for a few more weeks to try it again.

24 days ago

Beautiful trail! As of 5/26/18, the top portion of the switchbacks are still snowpacked and extremely difficult to traverse, and the lake is frozen. If you are hiking to see the lake, I would recommend waiting a few more weeks. I am excited to try the hike again later in the summer.

6 months ago

Stunning views!

hiking
8 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.

hiking
8 months ago

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 ✌

hiking
9 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.

9 months ago

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

hiking
9 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 !

9 months ago

Challenging but an awesome beautiful hike!

10 months ago

The first .7 miles or so is easy and covered by Aspen trees. After that, it starts to get rough. While it is a steady climb, if you are acclimated here in CO...you will be fine. My 8 year old dog and I (24) did it in four hours. There is a pretty big waterfall just off the trail after you come to a little clearing (stay right here). After a while, you will come to a spot where you can go left to the river or right...go right! It is a bit of a rock scramble from there. Then you follow the trail until you hit the super steep 1/4 of a mile climb up the switchbacks. From there it is another ten minutes or so, when you get to the stream...stay left for an easy hop to the other side. If you are hiking with your pup...bring water! The stream isn't until the very end but there is a spot where you get closer to the water and can take the trail down on the left to let them get some water for them. So worth it!! Tons of wildflowers along the way and the trail is easy to follow. No snow left and the lake is completely thawed.

hiking
10 months ago

Amazing beauty the whole time! The end is absolutely spectacular. The lake is so cool. Would not recommend this trail to beginners or those who are not in good physical shape: the trail is constantly uphill and extremely steep towards the end.

10 months ago

Extremely difficult hike, but so worth it for the view.

hiking
11 months ago

A good hike for the area. Completed it this morning. There was still a little bit of snow but nothing that you can't easily avoid. There was also one small section of mud, but again easy to maneuver. Eventually, right before the lake, you come to a "T" in the trail and a stream. There are stepping rocks in the stream but most of them were under water, not a problem for high top waterproof hiking shoes..but, if you take the trail to the left a few feet there's a big boulder and it was very easy to step up on the boulder and over the stream.

hiking
11 months ago

gorgeous, pretty strenuous hike - went in early june and there was still a TON of snow. spent the last 1.5 miles crossing the snow. would bring different footwear next time. would love to see the lake when its not frozen!

hiking
11 months ago

A pleasant hike, yes strenuous, but a nice gain in elevation at a quick rate, The payoff is well worth the trek. Having been on this trail twice I have experienced different conditions: the first time up, the wether was cool and drizzly and the only concern was slippery, muddy surfaces on some hairy-steep switchbacks. However, the second time around, just this last June, included a great deal of snow at expecially critical points in the trail-- namely, the boulder field and at the top of the switchbacks as you reach the plateau where the lake sits. Just enough of the unexpected that added a welcome challenge to the hike. The lake was still frozen but the beer and the jerky at the top, and a little snooze in the warm sun before heading back down sealed the deal. I highly recommend this trail.

hiking
11 months ago

Fun hike and lots of great views along the way. Lake was about half frozen over and expect snow the last mile or so. Trail is difficult to follow at the top (due to the snow), but if you follow the river (don't cross it) - you shouldn't have an issue finding the lake.

hiking
Monday, June 12, 2017

Amazing hike. Aspen groves in the beginning are beautiful. Once you get a little higher there is a section of aspen grove that has been strewn across the trail from a winter avalanche. Nothing you cant walk over or around though. A few snow patches on the way up. The last 1/4 mile after the steep switch backs is completely snow covered and you will likely lose the trail. Follow the footprints and you should be fine. If you lose the trail just walk up toward the cirque and follow the creek. Lake is frozen over but still amazing. Enjoy and don't be afraid of the snow.

hiking
Sunday, November 13, 2016

What a hike! Probably saw about a dozen people over the 6 hours we were there. Gets steep at times, but the views are well worth it, and the lake at the end is pristine and beautiful. Had great weather, especially for October.

Friday, October 21, 2016

gorgeous! my legs got a great work out.

hiking
Sunday, October 16, 2016

Great hike! The views are well worth the effort. Spectacular! Watch out for the switchbacks as you near the top of the hike. If there is a possibility of any snowpack up there I'd recommend trekking poles as that section can real slick and it's the last place you want to fall. I'd definitely do this one again.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Great hike with the colors can be steep in parts but a lot of fun

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Such a great hike! It's all a climb up. There is a few pretty steep parts. The lake is beautiful!

hiking
Monday, August 29, 2016

Great trail! Almost got to Electric Pass but storms were blowing in. Definitely make sure you leave in time to hit that before 12pm. Despite the cloudy day, it was beautiful. Slightly trafficked but okay. Late August made for a nice cool climb, but gets pretty chilly towards top. Great climb.

Monday, August 22, 2016

If u don't have this one on your list put it there. Very nice hike with the reward of a fantastic alpine lake to lunch at and view. Plenty of cut throat trout if you are an angler.

hiking
Sunday, August 21, 2016

Absolutely stunning the entire route. This is a tough hike and I'm so glad I took my sticks especially coming back down. Very buggy at the lake...little black flies. Aspens, evergreens, abound. We were late mid August for the wild flowers but still spectacular. Took longer than we thought, but worth the trip.

hiking
Thursday, August 18, 2016

Best moderate(ish) hike I've done in the Aspen area! Beautiful scenery the entire time - all picture worthy. Lots of bugs at the lake - bug spray would have been helpful. When you're nearing the lake (a bit after the switchbacks), make sure you cross over the stream to the left. There's no sign, and the lake isn't quite visible yet. Otherwise you start working your way up Electric Pass.

hiking
Sunday, August 14, 2016

Is there any form of public transport from Aspen to the start of this trail if I don't have a car?

Monday, August 08, 2016

Really challenging, uphill climb. But beautiful views make it worth it in the end.

hiking
Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hike was great! Don't give up at the steep switchback's. If you have made it that far then your almost there.
Go early if you can, the parking lot is small and was overflowing at 9:00. You can park on the side of the road if you get there later. Great little morning hike to get your blood pumping and take is some beautiful views.

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