Aspen Hikes

Aspen, Colorado has been known as a ski town since 1946 when Walter Paepcke created the ski resort and saved the former mining town from near extinction. Given that Aspen Mountain is renowned for skiing, it only makes sense that in the off-season Aspen is a great place for hiking. When you add in the crisp mountain air and charming downtown area, it’s easy to understand why we decided to include Aspen as one of our favourite hiking destinations.

Click ‘+MORE INFO’ below for a list of the 10 Best Hiking Trails in Aspen

THE TOP 10 HIKES IN ASPEN

The key to hiking in Aspen is if you burn a few extra calories you can avoid most of the crowds. A lot of these hikes require a little more switchbacking and steep ascents in order to yield amazing, quiet views. Of course, we still have hikes for every skill level. If you want an iconic shot of the Colorado Rockies, with hardly any elevation gain, try the Maroon Lake Scenic Loop. Aspen isn’t just for skiers. This Top 10 list will prove to you that Aspen is also a great place to hike.

#1. Buckskin Pass ( 16.1km, 1,020m, 5-8h ): This hike starts from one of the most photogenic lakes in the entire Rocky Mountains. The gruelling climb up to Buckskin Pass is definitely worth the effort. From its lofty heights you will be completely surrounded by panoramic views.

#2. Electric Pass ( 14.2km, 1,113m, 6-8h ): This hike has the most elevation gain on this list. The trail up to the over 13,000 ft. Electric Pass is definitely not for the faint hearted, or the week lunged. The stunning panoramic views from the top are – without a doubt – worth the burning legs and exhausted lungs. Sometimes the views look better when you work for them.

#3. Lost Man Trail ( 7.4km, 390m, 3-4.5h ): This is another super high hike in the Colorado Rockies; however, access in on the high Independence Pass Highway reduces the elevation you have to gain yourself!

#4. West Maroon Pass ( 23.7km, 1,182m, 9-11.5h ): One of the classic long hikes though the Maroon Bells Wilderness, the trek up to West Maroon Pass is certainly not one to miss. Be forewarned, however, that there are two gnarly creek crossings that separate you from the prize of this high alpine pass.

#5. Midway Pass ( 11.6km, 505m, 3.5-4.5h ): This hike is a good way to avoid the crowds but still get a fantastic hiking experience. Heading up to Midway Pass does involve slightly more below-timberline-switchbacking than other hikes; however, the generally quiet views from the high alpine plateau are definitely a fair reward for the work.

#6. Crater Lake (6.6km, 177m, 2-2.5h): A classic hike through the Maroon Bells Wilderness, the trek out to Crater Lake leaves the intense crowds of Maroon Lake and yields a more intimate view of the North Maroon Peak.

#7. New York Creek Trail (13.5km, 649m, 4.5-6h): The less-traveled trail up New York Creek is certainly a fantastic way to hike away from the bustling crowds in Aspen’s city centre. Though the access is slightly more challenging, the hike up New York Creek to the high alpine ridge at the end is a real treat.

#8. Maroon Lake (2.4km, 58m, 1-1.25h): Although crowded, the quick, family-friendly hike along Maroon Lake is definitely a must for anyone spending time in Aspen. It is said that the view across Maroon Lake with North Maroon Peak in the background is the most photographed scene in the Colorado Rockies.

#9. Cathedral Lake (9.5km, 637m, 3-4h): Although it is a steep hike, the alpine atmosphere obtained by reaching this stunning basin is easily worth the strain on your lungs. Sitting at the base of the imposing and aptly named Cathedral Mountain, the clear blue Cathedral Lake takes on an almost spiritual essence.

#10. The Grottos Loop (1.9km, 25m, 1-1.25h): Hiking into the Grottos is like visiting an alien country. It’s different from all the other more mountainous hikes on the list. The Roaring Fork River carves the rocks smooth giving them statue-like properties.

01. Buckskin Pass

01. Buckskin Pass

  • Difficulty
  • 16.1km
  • 1,020m
  • 5-8h

02. Electric Pass

02. Electric Pass

  • Difficulty
  • 14.2km
  • 1,113m
  • 6-8h

03. Lost Man Trail

03. Lost Man Trail

  • Difficulty
  • 7.4km
  • 390m
  • 3-4h

04. West Maroon Pass

04. West Maroon Pass

  • Difficulty
  • 23.7km
  • 1,182m
  • 9-11.5h

05. Midway Pass

05. Midway Pass

  • Difficulty
  • 11.6km
  • 505m
  • 3-4.5h

06. Crater Lake

06. Crater Lake

  • Difficulty
  • 6.6km
  • 177m
  • 2-3h

07. New York Creek Trail

07. New York Creek Trail

  • Difficulty
  • 13.5km
  • 649m
  • 4.5-6h

08. Maroon Lake

08. Maroon Lake

  • Difficulty
  • 2.4km
  • 58m
  • 1-1.5h

09. Cathedral Lake

09. Cathedral Lake

  • Difficulty
  • 9.5km
  • 637m
  • 4-5h

10. The Grottos Loop

10. The Grottos Loop

  • Difficulty
  • 1.9km
  • 25m
  • 1-1.25h

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees

– Henry David Thoreau