Explore the best trails near Aspen with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
dogs on leash
Driving up, we passed through stands of aspens on Hwy 82 between Aspen and Twin Lakes in the Sawatch Range. We arrived at Independence Pass the day before Independence Day. Sunny and beautiful above the tree line, we strolled out to the overlook and the tundra was just starting to bloom with wildflowers and several of the peaks still had slivers of snow on them. Great view of Mt. Ebert. It was a bit windy through the pass but a great stop at the highest paved pass across the Continental Divide.
Great loop! Seemed a little busy, but can get super secluded after the first 10 or so miles. Tons of rangers monitoring the loop, which is extremely helpful since old trails cross the mapped one and it can be easy to get off course. Be sure to carry bear spray and a bell or two on your gear.
Loved this hike! If you arrive before 6am, you're able to park your POV at the trailhead. I had the privilege of meeting a bull moose near the beginning of the trail, but he didn't mind me. The elevation can be a bit of a killer if you're new to CO, but such incredible views make it work the effort.
I enjoyed every step of this trail. The view of the Bells is magnificent. Not much water in the lake when we were there in October but still definitely worth the hike. Make sure you have water as the air is very dry and, if you live at sea level, be ready to take frequent breaks as the air is also thin at nearly 10,000 feet.
Yes, it's as amazing as you hear or read. The scenic route is an easy hike, with the option to go on up to Crater Lake which I highly recommend.
If you can, go for a sunrise hike on a weekday, it's the best way to experience the experience.
The fall foliage is unreal, but at that time (like in Oct of 2016) Crater Lake can be one dry and Maroon Lake low.
Best seasons are spring and summer.
One of my favorite places for photography in CO. Shocker!
Maroon Bells in the fall, there's a reason this area gets so many visitors. Seeing the Aspen change color in Aspen, CO should be on everyone's bucket list. Trailhead parking was closed so we jumped on the Aspen shuttle bus with our dog. Maroon Lake was a madhouse with visitors, lots of tourists. A quick hike through the woods and then you're at Crater Lake, which will be considerably less crowded and will take you a lot closer to the Bells.
Such a beautiful hike! Creeks, aspens, fields with wildflowers, hot springs... doesn't get any better than this. It can be a little tough at times with the elevation gain, but it's all worth it! Love the little camping area in the trees too.
Popularly rated as one of the most spectacular hikes in America, this circuit is perfect for backpacking. A friend and I attempted to do this as a 2 day (1 night) backpacker, but due to inclement weather got pushed to a 2 night (slightly over 48 hr) finish. Thunderstorms at 12000+ ft are not to be trifled with. Picture perfect from start to finish, this loop features ever wildly changing scenery to keep even hikers with the shortest of attention spans interested.
As others have commented....this trail is rocky but totally worth it !! My GPS clocked in at 3.7 Miles and 614ft of altitude gain so YMMV. Bring water!! The trail is well marked and well traveled. If you get there before sunrise, you can drive your car to the trail head without much issue.