Explore the most popular trail running 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.

Beautiful and worth the trek. Avid hikers, but 20lb+ of backpack adds a whole new element to it. Arrived at 730p Friday and Hiked 2 miles in the dark. The next day we hiked 16 miles (ended just before Frigid Pass). Last day we finished the remaining. Plowed through it based on time we had. Would have loved a leisurely 4 day backpack, but if can be done in 2 days. DEFINITELY recommend doing it counter clockwise. My guess is everyone wants to ease into it w a gradual climb on day 1, but it’s worth doing Buckskin pass 1st!Pays off later. Low 40s/high 30s at night. No bugs. Had a 1/2 day of relentless rain. Hand warmers were key! Hammock camped both nights, and even with some rain I was a happy camper! Was not overwhelmed by the amount of people on the trail. Surprised there wasn’t more actually. Very rewarding!! But bed feels good now.

Beautiful and worth the trek. Avid hikers, but 20lb+ of backpack adds a whole new element to it. Arrived at 730p Friday and Hiked 2 miles in the dark. The next day we hiked 16 miles (ended just before Frigid Pass). Last day we finished the remaining. Plowed through it based on time we had. Would have loved a leisurely 4 day backpack, but if can be done in 2 days. DEFINITELY recommend doing it counter clockwise. My guess is everyone wants to ease into it w a gradual climb on day 1, but it’s worth doing Buckskin pass 1st!Pays off later. Low 40s/high 30s at night. No bugs. Had a 1/2 day of relentless rain. Hand warmers were key! Hammock camped both nights, and even with some rain I was a happy camper! Was not overwhelmed by the amount of people on the trail. Surprised there wasn’t more actually. Very rewarding!! But bed feels good now.

Great Views. Only complaint was that it was very rocky so it was challenging for the dogs at times.

hiking
1 day ago

Rocky but moderate hike. Summer 2018 Crater Lake is more like a pond but we burned the calories so we could eat more great food in Aspen.

Hunter Creek Trail is not a loop! The actual Hunter Creek Trail is out and back. In order to make a loop you turn off to multiple other trails and even include hiking on paved road. Silly to call this hike a loop. The actual Hunter Creek Trail is worth hiking..beautiful rushing stream..rocky, inclined hike.

Went Aug 12-13th and stayed at campsite 17. Absolutely a beautiful trail from start to finish. Ran into 2 small groups of hikers on the trail which was amazing. Made you feel like you were the only people on the trail. Plenty of alone time. The hot springs itself was crowded at night...kind of annoying, but the people were nice....the morning however was very quiet and peaceful. We only stayed one night and I don’t think that was enough. I would have liked a full day of relaxing at the hot springs instead of feeling rushed to do the 9 mile hike back to the car. Campsite 17 is about a 20 min hike up to the springs FYI. I heard some negative reviews about the hot springs being dirty and It wasn’t at all. I think the new permit system has really helped cut down on the over crowding. Please be respectful of this beautiful gem! Pack in and pack out!

hiking
6 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.

It tricked my watch! Shorter than the app posted!

My first solo trip. Weather was perfect and the trail lived up to all my expectations. CLockwise and glad I did!

hiking
7 days ago

What a great way to get away into the mountains fast! We drove from Carbondale in the morning on a Wednesday in late August. The 3 of us had the full spectrum of hiking experience, so we hiked to the pace of our slowest friend—and we had a great hike! We parked at the hairpin turn (the upper trailhead) that you encounter before Independence Pass—plenty of parking there and it’s a paved surface. So we did the hike counter-clockwise and reached Independence Lake after 2 hours of very slow hiking. My friend has a heart condition, so we’re happy she could come so far! We hiked to the saddle above the lake and stopped for a half hour as we watched a herd of mountain goats approach and pass us on the trail. We decided to turn back to the car so our friend could rest but my athletic husband decided to trail run the rest of the loop (so he continued on past Lost Man Lake). So we split up and by the time I reached the parking lot for the Lost Man Lake Campground, he was already there (albeit very sweaty). I’m posting this long narrative hoping it shows just how awesome of a trail this is—a short morning hike, a trail run loop, a picnic spot, wildlife viewing, wildflowers even in late August, a camping option, clearly marked trail, and easy access.

Bunch of knobs on the trail

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.

We arrived to start the loop on Saturday morning at 5:30 am. Were greeted with overnight lot full sign. There were two parking spots in the overflow area just before the overnight lot. When we walked thru the overnight lot, there was one open spot. When we returned on Tuesday both of those parking areas were full. You might have to check out the other overflow parking area to find a parking spot.
We did the loop CW to West Maroon pass first. We did this because one hiker was not acclimated, and this direction is not as steep. The valley was crowded with hikers and runners up to the pass. The camp sites between West Maroon and Frigid Air are about 1/4 mile off the trail in the trees. There is a stream for water between the trail and campsites.
Thunderstorm started at 6 pm and rained and sleeted for a couple of hours. Intermittent rain thru the night. Only about 800 ft elevation change from camp to Frigid Air pass, a 100 yard section was steep and slick from the rain, so it was a relatively easy morning hike. 2100 ft elevation change downhill into the next valley.
We camped just after the intersection with the Geneva lake trail. Several nice camp sites in the area and water is close at the river.
Third day was a tough one. First 2170 ft elevation change up to Trail Rider pass. 1700 ft elevation change down into the Snowmass lake area. Then 800 ft elevation change up to our next campsite. The area was dry due to the summer conditions, so a lot of streams were dried up. There is water in Snowmass lake but we didn't need water at the time. We didn't really want to pull water out of the swamp, though the beaver dam was busted and it was flowing. At the campsites halfway up to Buckskin pass, there were two good streams for water.
Fourth day another roughly 800 ft elevation change to Buckskin pass, then close to 3000 ft downhill to the parking lot.
Outside of the main valley the trail was not crowded. Beautiful flowers, lakes and mountain scenery. Lots of animals, pikas, marmots, deer and a mountain goat guarding Buckskin pass.
Doing the trail in the CW direction was right of us, so the unacclimated hiker was able to make it. But it does make the last half of the hike the hard section. If you are a flatlander and live at low elevation like me, I do recommend spending a 3 or 4 days to acclimate before doing high altitude hiking.

Beautiful hike the entire way. It took us 3.5 hours round trip. Well worth the effort. Just a friendly reminder to bring moleskin for blisters!

This trail was amazing. I went two nights 8/6-7. I suggest going two nights. Spending a whole day just relaxing is worth it.

I went up solo. It took Me quite a while to make it up. Start early and take breaks as needed. It’s not a race. The altitude was pretty rough for me. The trail is pretty rocky so bring solid foot wear. Also many parts of the trail are through thick brush. Long sleeves will save some scratches. On the way back down by the ponds past the creek ford I encountered moose. But I came up on the with no coverage or protection. The bull was chill enough that I could back off slowly and not spook it, but easily could have been bad. Be mindful out there.

The people up there were all great. Just a group of strangers all there to relax and enjoy the hot springs. Everyone was there for a great time. Don’t be uptight cause there will be drinking, probably nudity and a few were smoking pot.

I would suggest bringing foot wear you can wear in the spring. It’s great but the bottom and edges are super rocky. It’s very painful getting in and out. Sunscreen and bug spray cause flys and mosquitoes were all over me. Also don’t skimp on cold weather stuff. The days were very nice, but even early August as soon as the sun sets behind the mountains it got VERY cold.

on Ute Trail

10 days ago

Tourist trap. Comparable to Boulder’s Sanitas but with a looser and more narrow trail, heavier crowds, less shade, essentially nothing worth hiking to/seeing unless you just want a killer calf workout. Easily the worst hike I’ve done in Colorado.

on Crater Lake Trail

hiking
11 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.

on Lost Man Trail

hiking
11 days ago

My favorite hike! Majestic views with lovely lakeside picnic spots. Makes for a wonderful day in the mountains. Two-car
shuttle is perfect with starting point at Linkin Lake/Lost Man TH and second car awaiting at Lost Man Campground/TH below:)

Pretty neat!

hiking
13 days ago

Hiked it today with family, 4 hrs round trip including 30 mins for lunch, vertical comes at you fast in first hour, but manageable if you stay aerobic. This was my fourth or fifth time hiking American Lake, great for our first day, family in from East Coast, I came from the Okanagan in Canada. Certainly not one of the prettiest alpine lakes I have hiked to, in my opinion if the American Lake hike workout is your goal, do Cathedral instead

Absolutely beautiful hike! Flowers/colors are amazing! We hiked in on 8/3 for 1 night.
Took us about 5 hours to get to the first camp site #19 and at least 30 minutes more to get to site #4 (our site). The hike from #19 to #4 may have been the most difficult part of the hike. We saw 3 moose, a few deer and a far off bear sunning itself in a rock near silver dollar lake! Rangers stopped us on our way and asked to see our permit, ID and bear canister. The springs were spectacular and surprisingly uncrowded. Took us 3.5 hours to hike out.

13 days ago

Great hike. I found it tough but glad I did it.

Doing this loop at the end of the week and was wondering if bear canisters were required.

Did it CCW......Was a very hard brutal and at times scary climb to a couple of the passes. Fridge Air was steep as hell and very loose rock for this 67 year old man we had great weather not sure I could do it in rough weather wind and rain you know...would slide right off. 4 days 3 night .....but loved it and may do it again CW

14 days ago

A great hike, incredible views and very strenuous. I thought I was doing well till a dog with 3 legs passed me up.....made it to the top & took gondola down.... best option.

hiking
14 days ago

Go early to beat the crowds and dress in layers.

Took an easy day today—took gondola up Aspen Mountain then enjoyed the views and hiked this nature trail. Was a good choice as it’s easy to get winded at the higher altitude especially for us visiting from GA. Easy hike and great vistas. Enjoyed by all!

Did this hike a few years ago. Totally worth it!

hiking
15 days ago

Nice to stretch your legs when driving independence pass

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