Petroleum and Anderson Lakes Trail

MODERATE 14 reviews

Petroleum and Anderson Lakes Trail is a 3.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Aspen, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

3.8 miles
1,122 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



mountain biking

nature trips

trail running




wild flowers


Directions from Aspen: Drive ten miles east of Aspen on Highway 82 to Lincoln Creek Road. Turn right and drive 6 1/2 miles on Lincoln Creek Road to Portal Campground. From Portal Campground the road becomes very rough and a high clearance four-wheel drive is required. Either drive or hike the remaining 3 1/3 miles to a fork in the road. Take the right fork, cross the creek and park on the other side. Camping near the lakes is not recommended because of limited campsites and the fragile alpine vegetation. There is good fishing at both lakes.

23 days ago

Did this hike a few weeks ago. The road leading up to this trailhead is about 6 miles of 4x4 road. We had a 4x4 vehicle but eventually had to park it about a mile from the trailhead because it got way too rough for us as we were in a rental. But can I just say how absolutely incredible it is to get out there. I adored every minute of it. We didn’t see many people after passing the campgrounds, or on the trail. I enjoyed adding an additional mile to my hike as we passed this awesome 120yr old cabin, and got great views of the basin. The trail itself is easy but I’ve been hiking in high elevations for quite some time now. I would write more details but I don’t want to ruin anything. Let’s just say, you get more views and features out of this hike than just these alpine lakes. Totally worth the slightly rough road out there! And ALWAYS be watchful of weather my friends. ✌

2 months ago

We hiked to both lakes a few days ago and this hike was one of the best hikes we've ever been on. We were there on a weekday and saw only one group of people the entire day. We fished at both lakes, but didn't catch anything - there's definitely fish in there but they're very smart. The hike starts at 11,200 and the second lake is at 12,300 so be prepared to be short of breath. We live at less than 700 ft so we were sucking wind the entire time. The hike from Anderson to Petroleum lakes is more strenuous than the first section of the hike. But it's all very worth it!
The first part of the drive from the main road can be done without 4x4, but the last 3.5 miles from the campground to the trailhead pretty much requires 4x4 and decent clearance. That being said, it's an easy 4x4 trail, not too difficult for inexperienced offroaders.
Between the two lakes is a small meadow full of beautiful wildflowers. The lakes, flowers, and views were all so gorgeous. Would definitely recommend this hike.
P.S. - there's two ponds in between the lakes. Don't stop there, but continue up to the left to reach Petroleum lake.

2 months ago

Hiked to both lakes today. Beautiful hike with abundant wildflowers. Also several small waterfalls along the way. A moderate hike and definitely a favorite. An hour and a half drive from Aspen to the trailhead. So worth it. Highly recommend

off road driving
2 months ago

This was one of THE most beautiful hikes I’ve been on in Colorado! Anderson lake which is the first lake is the turquoise colored lake. You hike past a few more to get to petroleum which is a deep blue. You have to take a 4x4 road off of independence pass to get here. It’s very rocky and it took about 45min-1hr to drive it in my RAV4. Worth it!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Fabulous. The drive up is long and bumpy. Figure an hour and a half from Aspen to the trail head. The hike to Anderson Lake is relatively easy with only moderate elevation gain. It winds up through pine forest and tops out just above tree line. The continuation on to Petroleum Lake is more strenuous with more elevation gain in a shorter distance. It winds up through outrageous wild flower fields into the tundra with the lake hidden behind the last steep pitch. There a several small wet creek crossings and the trail is still patchy wet with running water in places. Spectacular scenery far from the madding crowds.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Easy hike to gorgeous lakes. There is a smaller unnamed lake on the way from Anderson to Petroleum. Alpine flowers carpet the tundra. Long 1 1/2 hour trip from downtown Aspen, but worth every minute.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

One of the most amazing hikes ever! 4x4 trip up is great followed by an amazing hike up to the most beautiful lake and vistas. A must!

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Saturday, August 26, 2017