Cathedral Lake hike
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.
Head west from Aspen along Colorado 82 for 0.5mi to get to the traffic circle. Take the 3rd exit onto Castle Creek Rd. Follow this for 12.0mi, until you see signs for the Cathedral Lake Trail. Turn right and follow the road up to the parking area.
|When to do|
Late June through September
Yes, at Cathedral Lake
Out and back
Route Description for Cathedral Lake
Beginning along the Cathedral Lake Trail, you will initially head southwest and immediately start gaining elevation. Soon you will find yourself above the roaring Pine Creek as you veer to the west and continue climbing.
You will soon be out of the foliage. As the trees clear, incredible views will appear across the valley and of the flank of Malemute Peak. Looking up the valley you will also be able to see the edge of Cathedral Lake. The views will get even better as you ascend.
Veering right (more to the north) you will soon reach a junction where you will go left towards Cathedral Lake. You will complete another short climb before cresting a bushy ridge. From here you will descend a short ways to the north side of Cathedral Lake. There are plenty of places to take a break beside the lake, so explore a little bit and find a secluded area all to yourself.
The most impressive view is the one looking across the lake with Cathedral Peak in the background. We love this Rocky Mountain vista of Cathedral Peak and its impressive, fortress like south ridge. Malemute Peak sits to the south (left). From the ridge just before the lake, looking back, you will be able to see the grassy and slopping Leahy Peak.
After enjoying the stunning waters and views of Cathedral Lake return the way you came.
Cathedral Lake is a superb easy one night backpacking destination or a great - although a little far - picnic spot.
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