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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 is primarily used for hiking, camping, fly fishing, and backpacking and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 5.3 mi Elevation gain 2,057 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Backpacking

Camping

Hiking

Lake

River

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

Colorado Tourism Office, 1625 Broadway, Suite 1700 , Denver, CO, 80202, Phone: 800-COLORADO

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.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (411)
Photos (410)
Recordings (295)
Completed (723)
Lindsey Vesceri
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 11 2020
Hiking

Some beautiful views - steeper than we expected but made it to the lake in about three hours with two kids (8&10). Great trail conditions and the lake was pretty. Ended up eating up on a grassy patch above the lake due to the insane amount of mosquitoes at the lakes edge. The last mile was tough - super steep switchbacks and then another half mile to the lake on a nice trail - little stream crossing for some fun! Road in was very bumpy but Santa Fe/ all wheel drive made it just fine - just took it slow!

View Lindsey's Recording
Christine Myers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 11 2020
HikingBugs

Great hike ... start early . The bugs are crazy at the lake . The flowers are beautiful and zeroed out the bugs .... parking is a problem unless you arrive early which we did . ....

Kyla Ward
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 04 2020
HikingBugsRocky

Challenging hike with some amazing views! The switch back near the end was the toughest part. The wildflowers are everywhere right now! Parking wasn’t bad at all at trailhead. Will be back to hike during prime color change on Aspens!

View Kyla's Recording
Julian S
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 26 2020
HikingNo shade

Outstanding hike. Moved at a good clip and got to the lake in 1 hour 20 minutes. Steep much of the way but not precarious at all. Amazing view of Cathedral Peak from the south end of the lake. My phone clocked the roundtrip at 5.6 miles. For the creek crossing towards the end of the hike up, there are 3-4 stones that helped me cross and keep my shoes dry, about 10 feet to the right of the actual trail. Still plenty of water flowing through there as of the last week of June, it should be a lot calmer in the creek in a week or two. AWD recommended for the last 3/4 mile to the trailhead. If you have a rental car or a sedan, I recommend parking down at the turnoff/end of pavement and walking the 3/4 of a mile up the dirt road to the trailhead. There’s a handful of deep holes and ruts right now, and this wouldn’t add too much time. Slow going in a low-clearance car for sure. Please: have a mask handy or around your neck and be respectful space-wise of others on the trail. There were several dozen other people early on a Friday AM. About a third had no face covering.

View Julian's Recording
Kerry Landsman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jun 26 2020
Hiking

Good trail, steep, but short. It is heavily trafficked and given the narrow, single track it is a challenge to get 6’ apart when passing. Disappointing to see young people without masks.

Paul Hoff
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jun 24 2020
Hiking

Trail with views the whole way. The trail is super well maintained (thank you to whoever takes care of this trail) but crosses a variety of surfaces and has some loose gravel. Definitely need trail shoes with a grip. View from the top is worth the walk up.

View Paul's Recording
Emily Adcox
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 22 2020
Hiking

Gorgeous hike but we clocked it at 6.4 miles round trip. There is some serious incline here. And a creek crossing but the lake is worth it

View Emily's Recording
Alyssa Tenenbaum
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Jun 21 2020
HikingRockySnow

This trail was incredibly difficult elevation-wise and AllTrails was very misleading saying it was 5 miles round trip, when it ended up being 4 miles one way. Expect a much longer hike, almost 8 miles round trip, with much colder weather up top by the lake. Overall a difficult hike - quite rocky and steep, make sure to bring good hiking shoes with grip!

McKenna Splett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 21 2020
HikingRocky

Great trail - starts climb amongst lots of Aspen then opens up after passing waterfall to more rocky terrain. Great views the whole way up, but can be extremely steep at times. Even going down the trail can be tricky as you have to be cautious of foot placement in the rocky parts. Bear canister is required on this trail.

David Furman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jun 20 2020
Hiking

Great hike! Awesome views that just get better and better and the lake is breathtaking reward. Hike is strenuous and at time the trail is very narrow, particularly in a set of switchbacks up above 11,500, but overall one of the best hikes I’ve done in Aspen.

View David's Recording
Jenn Lauren
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMon Jun 01 2020
HikingIcySnow

Be prepared for rapid elevation gain if you’re not used to it. It was a great workout with some decent views but we were unable to make it all the way to the lake with the snow. If you’re in it for the views alone I think you have better options close by.

Kate Weed
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat May 30 2020
HikingScrambleSnow

We attempted to hike the trail on 20 May 2020. It was a beautiful and challenging hike up for out of state hikers. There is a warning that bear spray is required. We were unable to finish the hike as a big snowfield hid a portion of the trail and we were unsure where to keep hiking, so we did not make it to the lake. However, the views were breathtaking. I would go back.

Kirsten Sherwood
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed May 27 2020
HikingMuddySnow

This is the earliest in the year I’ve ever done this trail. The last 1/2 mile or so is still very full of soft snow - without snowshoes (I took them off to test), I was post-holing 2-2.5ft deep. Would give it another 2-3 weeks (at our current weather conditions) before the snow is manageable without gear for most of the last half mile-ish. Lake is still 95% frozen but beautiful as always!

Shilo Cavalcanti
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Nov 17 2019

long and difficult but so worth it. recommend hiking poles

Marina Titov
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Oct 27 2019
HikingMuddyRockySnow

Great hike. For the two of us from the Nebraska plains it was a hard hike mainly because of rapid elevation gain. Otherwise it was great. Took us total of 4 hours to go up and down with lots of brakes. Hiked on 10-26-2019. lake was already frozen and lots of snow on the trail. Still doable. The views are stunning! Will do it again in the summer.

Remy Kelly
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Oct 20 2019
Hiking

Beautiful trail- I’d rate it moderate rather than difficult. It is steep but the trail is well maintained and pretty open. I hiked it on 10-19-19 and would recommend bringing micro spikes for at least the last quarter of the trail. The switchbacks up to the lake were icy and it snowed last night. The lake is just starting to ice over. Really gorgeous views.

Damon Wright
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Oct 15 2019
Hiking

Trail is in great shape. Likely due to fall, but no over hanging brush. Steep, but beautiful. Lake just beginning to freeze over at the edges.

Laura B.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Oct 04 2019
HikingRocky
wei wang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Oct 02 2019
HikingOver grownRocky

Great hiking! Starting from an off-road entrance with golden aspens aside. Rocky trails in the lower attitude aspens and overgrown bushes above the pine lines have covered the trails and it might be misleading for hikers. Pay extra attentions. Make it in 3 hours and a half for almost 7 miles.

Susan Canetto
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Sep 29 2019
HikingRocky

Fall colors are at their peak and the views from this hike were gorgeous. It's definitely uphill the whole way with a few fairly challenging parts. Makes you feel like you've earned your lunch break at gorgeous Cathedral Lake. It's a very rocky trail so highly recommend decent footwear. The tiny parking lot was full but there's parking along the road. Might not want to do the 3/4 mile drive to the trailhead in a low clearance vehicle if rough roads stress you out. But there were definitely sedans that made it.

Renata Majstrzyk
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Sep 28 2019
Hiking

Faboulous hike. Not that easy but totally doable. I have a fear of heights but it did not bother me on this trail

Andrea Risen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Sep 26 2019
HikingRocky

Extraordinary hike! Very difficult but extremely beautiful. The colors of the Aspen are just on fire right now. We ended up skipping the electric pass and just went to the lake instead. Poles helped. Rough driveway into the trailhead, probably not recommended for low clearance vehicles.

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