Cathedral Lake Trail

HARD 51 reviews
#13 of 176 trails in

Cathedral Lake Trail is a 5.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Aspen, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
5.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2171 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

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.

hiking
2 days 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
3 days 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.

5 days ago

hiking
6 days ago

hiking
13 days ago

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
1 month ago

hiking
7 months ago

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.

gorgeous! my legs got a great work out.

hiking
8 months ago

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.

8 months ago

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

9 months ago

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

9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

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.

10 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

10 months ago

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
10 months ago

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
10 months ago

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.

10 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

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