hikes in Aspen
Aspen, Colorado has some of the best hiking in all of Colorado. 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.
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 in Aspen 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. Our Top 10 list of the best hikes in Aspen will prove to you that Aspen is also a great place to hike.
THE TOP 10 HIKES NEAR ASPEN, COLORADO
- Buckskin Pass (16.1km, 1020m, 5-8h ): Our favorite hike near Aspen 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. This is one of the best hikes in Colorado.
- Electric Pass (14.7km, 1113m, 6-8h ): This classic hike near Aspen has the most elevation gain on this list, meaning this is a great hike for more advanced hikers. The trail up to the over 3962m. 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.
- Lost Man Trail (7.4km, 390m, 3-4.5h ): This is another great hike near Aspen. Enjoy great views on this popular hike near Aspen.
- West Maroon Pass (23.4km, 1182m, 9-11.5h ): One of the classic long hikes near Aspen. This hike takes you though the Maroon Bells Wilderness, a beautiful part of Colorado. 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.
- 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 near Aspen. 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.
- Crater Lake (6.6km, 177m, 2-2.5h): Another classic hike near Aspen. This hike takes you through the Maroon Bells Wilderness. The trek out to Crater Lake leaves the intense crowds of Maroon Lake behind and yields a more intimate view of the North Maroon Peak.
- New York Creek Trail (14.0km, 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.
- Maroon Lake (2.4km, 58m, 1-1.25h): The classic hike for anybody passing through Aspen. 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.
- 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.
- The Grottos Loop (1.0km, 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.
The best hikes in Aspen
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