Explore the most popular forest 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.

More of a walk than a hike and was fairly busy. It's an easy one but with some great highlights. The trail is kind of hard to follow exactly because there's so many well worn off shooting paths. Try and stay on trail as much as you can to get to the Grottos/ice caves. From there, keep going straight, cross the bridge, then stay slightly left/straight (don't go right) to reach the Cascades (very pretty waterfall that has multiple pools and levels). It's such a short, easy hike that you're unlikely to get lost if you follow the numerous trails, it just makes it more time consuming to find the sights you're there for.
Would definitely recommend going early because the parking lot gets kind of full. Plus, it will be less crowded earlier in the day.

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.

Absolutely loved this hike!!! Our GPS said it was 8.3 miles. GREAT WORKOUT. breathtaking beauty loved hiking through several Alpine meadows dotted with wildflowers of every color, crossed a few streams. pretty steep up the final mile ... really worked to get to the top. but we zipped down. We had a very late start after 4:15 so recommend starting earlier

Amazing wildflowers and mountain views! Fantastic trip that was well worth the climbs to the top of each pass. Those are no joke for a flatlander like myself coming straight from Missouri!!

Did the trip in 3 short days and 2 nights. If you’re fit and willing 1 night is possible with an early start.

Plenty of water so never carried more then 1.5L between stops.

No sign of bears or much wildlife other then the marmots, birds, and ground squirrels. Saw a couple of deer run by camp one night but nothing else.

Trail is very easy to follow except around popular camping areas like Snowmass lake. Lots of side trails and crisscrossing so it took a bit to get back on the main loop. Not dangerous, just a little frustrating even with a GPS and topo map.

We stayed near Snowmass Lake at the group/campfire sites the first night going counter clockwise. Sites at the lake would have been better and avoided a long descent and climb back up to the main trail.

Second night was on the approach to Frigid Air pass just above the waterfall. Camping between Frigid Air and West Maroon pass would be possible but not ideal unless you really want to split the miles more evenly.

Bear canisters are required and they checked when we got there so be prepared.

The weather was mostly typical for Colorado summers. Cool nights, warm if the suns out and afternoon thunderstorms. We did have hail the first evening for about 20-30 minutes straight. Completely covered the ground!

A must do hike all in all!

Great trail, nice hike and overnight stay. Not as dirty as everyone says. however the summit trail is long gone on this side of castle and conundrum peak. Unless you want to ascend a scree slide at a 60 degree angle for 3k+ vertical feet.

Wildflower heaven!! It was hard but worth every step.

The wildflowers were stunning, especially between West Maroon Pass and Frigid Air Pass. Beautiful views everywhere you look. It’s a popular trail, but not nearly as crowded as I was led to believe. There are plenty of great campsites.

5 days ago

Love this hard hike all uphill..... so close to town.

Nice workout and incline through beautiful aspen grove. I prefer it in the fall when aspen are gold. Beautiful alpine lake with turquoise water. Take a dip in the summertime! One of my fav trails in the area.

This was a beautiful hike through a few different types of terrain. The first half is pretty climby, but once the path changes into a forest vibe, it mellows out to a far more moderate grade. My GPS clocks this at 6.4 miles round-trip. Bug spray was mandatory.

Great hike, quite uphill. Stunning lake at end.

One of the most beautiful and rewarding hikes I have done!! The only annoyances were the mosquitos/flies and the final 2 mile uphill (especially since we were in campsite 11). I found the whole area to be very clean and peaceful. Although all sites were booked on the website, we found that less than half were actually occupied on the Wednesday and Thursdays nights we stayed. I would consider this a MUST do hike if you can physically do the mileage with backpack.

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

hiking
6 days ago

A bit more difficult than expected but worth it. Steady incline and lots of switchbacks at the start in an Aspen Grove then into more pine trees and a few meadows with lots of wild flowers. The lake was gorgeous but very buggy.

off road driving
7 days ago

We did the drive from Aspen to Created Butte on this Jeep trail.. The scenery was a beautiful and the Jeep trail was great. There were some big rocks and narrow spots but overall a great drive. You’d need a 4x4 to do it because of the rocks and other obstacles. I did it in a 2018 Jeep Wrangler and it was effortless for it. There was a guy that came up in an older Montero and he did just fine. I think he’s done it before and has some experience though.

hiking
7 days ago

Amazing trail! Sign is further in, so it can be a bit confusing where it begins. Totally worth it

walking
7 days ago

more of a walk than a hike. worth it for the scenery

walking
7 days ago

cascading river below parking lot is nice. easy hike/walk. nice mountain lake but accessibility is limited.

Waterfall was tricky to find, take a left after the bridge & go up and over the rocks until you see a picnic table by the water & then there’s a clearly marked trail or take the easy level path BEFORE the bridge

Gorgeous mountain lake at the end is well worth the hike

the hike was nice and easy, good for the little ones. amazing view from start to finish

scenic driving
11 days ago

Take the kids. Have a picnic. Get in the water. It’s cold, refreshing, and the kids will love it! Prepare to be bounced around.

Completed this trail on 7/7

This was an amazing trail! The mileage here is a little off. My garmin watch calculated it around 9.25 miles each way(18.5 round trip). The trail takes you through several different landscapes which adds a lot of great visuals for the hike. It is about 7 miles to the ford crossing which you will need to either take off your boots totally or switch to other footwear to cross without significant water intake. The final 2 miles are very tough and up hill. A full pack certainly makes it more difficult. Once at the hot springs, it was a great relief. With the new permitting system, our stay had about half the sites occupied. Some of the grounds were on a slant which made sleeping not ideal but some of the spots were perfect and flat. We watched the sun set in the hot springs and called it a night.

Make sure to bring bug spray, your bear canister, and human waste bags! The rangers are on the lookout for folks not bringing the bear canister as their reports say the activity is high in the area.

Also, be mindful of when you stop and rest. A moose came out of the trees and there wasn't much for cover besides a rock and a very thin tree. Luckily it saw us and kept walking.

This trail was absolutely beautiful! The hot springs at the top are completely worth it.

The trail leads through several valleys, fields of wild flowers and refreshing river crossings! My boyfriend and I reached the hot springs at about 4 hours (moving time), by keeping a good pace with the bags on. The last stretch was a little bit of a false hope due to seeing signs for the campsites, then ended up trekking about another mile to our site. The last stretch is all up hill. We ended up doing 9.1 miles to the hot springs.

hiking
12 days ago

Excellent trail. First part is the hardest then it’s pretty smooth going the last half. Nice fields of wild flowers and you’re in and out of the forests. BRING BUG SPRAY, you’ll enjoy the lake much better. Happy hiking.

hiking
13 days ago

This trail does not exist. Went to the trailhead according to GPS and there is a gate but no markers or clear path beyond about 10 feet.
It seems as though there have been a few winters since this one was well trafficked and nature has reclaimed the pathway.

Incredible 3day/2night solo trip July 4-6. Not crowded at all. Wildflowers were amazing throughout nearly the whole trail. Did it clockwise based on others reviews- think counterclockwise would be easier. It is rigorous. Passed several groups the first day who were turning back after their first day. Many were from sea level. Acclimatization is key carrying a pack through the whole 7500ft + elevation gain.

Don’t miss this relatively flat trail after you come back from crater lake! Really beautiful views of the bells and pyramid with waterfalls! It’s pretty rocky in places, so don’t wear flip flops!

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