Explore the most popular horseback riding 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.

hiking
3 days ago

We were told by the bus driver that Crater Lake was a lot more dried up this year, and that was completely obvious once we saw the lake. I’m sure it would have been a lot more attractive if the water were higher. But pretty views throughout the hike! Saw a ton of families, so should be doable for most kiddos. And if you have a dog, they’ll probably enjoy cooling off in the lake at the top.

I’m physically active so I thought the trail itself was mostly easy, but we flew in from GA ~18 hours before the hike and I definitely felt some negative affects of the altitude adjustment. If you’re not used to high altitudes, bring plenty of water and remember to take deep breaths.

off road driving
3 days ago

We hiked both Castle and Conundrum on Saturday, August 11th and the conditions were perfect! I noted in the activity “off road driving” , because my review is trying to give what I think is a more accurate description of the road up to Montezuma Basin.

We rented a stock (bare-bones) Jeep Wrangler with street tires on it and drove all the way to the top of Montezuma Basin (around 12,800 ft). Many of the reviews we read stated the road was too difficult to drive. Our plan was to drive as far as we could and then park. I would agree four wheel drive is a must, but with careful wheel placement/driving it is actually not that difficult. My husband is an experienced 4x4 trail driver, so if that describes you, I would recommend driving up as far as you can go.

My only complaint of the trail is hiking on an old road is lame, so it was fun to drive up as far as we could. Doing this also cut out about 10 miles round trip, which on this particular trail was welcomed. Not the prettiest scenery along the trail we’ve seen, although the views from the summit are spectacular.

Awesome trail through every aspect of a mountain! Aspen groves, forest, meadows, rock slides. Hiked from the Maroon Bells down beside the Maroon Creek, took less than 1.5 hours. Beautiful!

The hike is great, lake is underwhelming. Views along the hike are awesome.

For those of us not used to the altitude (we are from GA) this was a pretty difficult hike on the way to Crater Lake. Mostly uphill and very rocky. Took about an hour hike to get to Crater Lake but the view was gorgeous! Plan on packing a lunch or snacks and taking in the view—and a short rest! Definitely want to get there early as it gets very crowded on the narrow, rocky trail as the day progresses. We got to Highlands at about 8:15 to take the bus up to Maroon Bells. Go early—very popular destination! Bring lots of water too.

on Crater Lake Trail

hiking
8 days ago

I found the low level of the lake and the dirty water to be a little underwhelming. The view of the surrounding mountains is very nice, as is the aspen forest on the way in.

hiking
11 days ago

Go early to beat the crowds and dress in layers.

hiking
14 days ago

Amazing views at Maroon Lake (starting point) and at Crater Lake! I found this to be more easy to moderate...the moderate being due to the higher elevation and all the rocks. The rocks are no joke. I rolled my ankle a few times in hiking shoes...wished I had full on boots. There are really only a couple patches without rocks, so be prepared for that. We started around 11:45 on a Wednesday in July and it was still super busy. Come early to enjoy the peace and quiet. Took us about 2hrs round trip, plus about 30 minutes of lounging at Crater Lake.

This is one of my favorite hikes. The trail is a bit busy on weekends but worth it!! Kid and dog friendly but watch your footing because it gets a bit rocky!

hiking
18 days ago

A great day, but it would have been better if we’d had a high clearance 4x4 to drive further up the road. We drove to a beautiful campsite about 1.3 miles up the road and hiked from there after sleeping the night before. The initial several miles are on a Jeep road that continually deteriorates as you climb. Once we reached the end of the road the real fun began. We had a fun snow climb up the right side of the snowfield. Steep, like climbing an expert ski run. We then picked up the trail and reached the ridge up Castle. Definitely follow the advice to stay in the ridge. I got sucked into following a trail to the right and had to climb a nasty, steep, and loose couloir to regain the ridge. Once I got back to the ridge it was easy going to the top. We then descended to the connecting saddle and climbed Conundrum, as well. The descent from the connecting saddle into the basin is loose and has a risk of rockfall after the snow melts out (like yesterday).

The hike out the road to our campsite was long but went well. All in all, a great day!

Great hike and doable with young children. Bug spray is helpful walking through the woods. A lot of loose rocks along the path so tread carefully. If you’re planning to go on a weekend and want to avoid taking the bus, plan to arrive well before 8am. We reached around 7:50am and the lot was already full and closed.

hiking
19 days ago

Great trip! We got there at 5:45, parked, got our gear and hit Maroon lake about 6:15am. Stopped to take pictures then started our hike to Crater Lake. Very rocky, but so worth the trip. Got up to Crater Lake about 7:20am, sat around and watched a momma duck and her ducklings swim around the lake when some dips&*t had his dog unleashed. Dog went after the ducks, while owner laughed. A bunch of us started yelling at him and about 2-3 minutes later had the dog on a leash (sadly we ran into them about 2 miles up the trail past the lake and the dog was off leash again). Our hiking goal wasn’t to go much further, but we did venture up another mile and half.

We turned around and started back down. Got back to Crater Lake and took a break to see the bells in a later (11:00am) light. Started our trip back down and it was busier than Cherry Creek Mall at Christmas!! You can tell when the buses drop people off. About every 15 minutes there would be a new wave of tourists heading up to the lake with a camelback, no food, no protection, and their poodle (on leash) struggling to get up and over the rocks.

Got to our car and headed down the mountain. We hit 82 and started to head west and about a minute later got dumped on. Our thoughts were with all of those people hiking with nothing to protect them from the elements.

Would I do this again? Yes, during the week, after Labor Day, and at 5:30am.

hiking
23 days ago

Nice trail to get a look at the Bells and Pyramid from the bottom! Lots of biting flies-so remember your bug spray
Pleasant way to spend the morning.

hiking
23 days ago

Nice moderate hike. I didn’t know the road to West Portal was closed to public traffic from 8am-5pm. You pay to park at the Highlands. Buy a bus ticket $8 adults, $6 kids and take a bus up. We had a lovely singing bus driver who pointed out many nice features along the way. At the West portal bus drop off, water and restrooms available. The short walk to Maroon Lake had nice views. We started our hike to Crater Lake about 3:30. It took about an hour to get there. We hussled back to catch the last bus at 5:00 and missed it by 10 min. (Due to hiking with kids). My husband hitch a ride back down and drove back up to get us. After 5, pull up to the bus route to pick up where you were dropped off, or take the lower public parking down by the lake.
It was a long day since we hiked at the Grottos in the morning. Totally worth it!

hiking
24 days ago

CRATER LAKE/MAROON BELLS AREA. Late start arriving (230pm) put me on high alert to get back in time to catch last shuttle bus out! I pledged to turn around 330pm no matter what. Moving at a good pace with trekking poles for me in scree field where I could see lake from distance. I look at my quick photos I snapped and marvel at “this is not even enhanced!”

Would allow for more time! I was able to hoof it back, take time to put my feet in the icy waters of the lake/river and catch the 440pm bus.

An afternoon perfectly spent!

Great view at end, but very rock, uneven trail for 90% of the hike..

hiking
1 month ago

Well worth the hike. Once you have made it to Crater Lake, look for waterfalls way up on side of Mountain.

off road driving
1 month 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
1 month ago

Relatively terrifying. Decent amount of exposure and loose rock. Unfortunately this trail is wearing down badly making it a little more difficult. Huge thanks to the ladies who picked my friend and I up and drove us up the 4x4 road to save us some time, and thank you to the more experienced climbers out there who helped us find a safe route down from the summit.

Good luck getting up this road even with 4WD— you’re going to need pretty high clearance on this one. I would also recommend prior experience on 14ers, unless you’re fearless.

Very rocky with not a lot of scenery before the lake. But the lake is beautiful. I’ve done some moderate trials this trip so for my money, I’d just relax and enjoy the scenic loop instead and do a more worthwhile trail later. It was just not diverse enough for me. Too much scree.

hiking
1 month ago

Fantastic trail with gorgeous views. We did it wearing our 2 year old in a Deuter backpack, which was a must. The trail is really rocky in parts and would be difficult for young children. Definitely a heavily used trail, but well worth it!

Beautiful.

Beautiful view. Perfect amount of challenge and having to pay attention and beautiful and fun!

hiking
1 month ago

Another MUST SEE trail in Aspen!!!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike. Be prepared for a rocky trail. Saw too many people in sandals, not a great idea! We hiked this on a holiday week, too many people! Next time we will do this on a non holiday week!
Overall it was still awesome, the views were amazing!

hiking
1 month ago

If you are from flat land and are scared to do this hike after reading some of the reviews, please ignore the reviews and DO THIS HIKE! I am from Chicago, 50 years old, and an OK hiker. The trail is Rocky and that altitude is definitely hard on the lungs, but if you go slow and take breaks and stay hydrated, it is totally doable! Absolutely stunning hike that is shaded by aspens in many places but every now and then a Mountain View pops up. The boulder field just before the lake can be challenging if you don’t have proper footwear and aren’t paying attention to your footing. But, again, totally navigable and there are plenty of people taking breaks along the way so no reason to feel rushed. Don’t miss this hike!

Relatively easy hike to a great view. Lake is big enough to spread out the crowd so you can always get your own spot on the shore!

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing views at Crater Lake, but not much scenery between Maroon and Crater as the trail climbs through thick forest. Worth it though!

Beautiful hike, not too difficult other than the incline, but lots of beautiful places to stop, rest, and enjoy the scenery along the way. There’s also a beautiful creek you can walk along that goes to an overlooking bridge. Certainly a must do hike while in Aspen!

hiking
1 month ago

beautiful and there are not much words to describe it.

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