The Grottos Loop hike
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.
Head east out of Aspen along Colorado 82 for 8.9mi. Watch out for the Grottos Day Use Area on your right. Turn off here and go to the moderately sized parking area.
|When to do|
June through September
Yes, at the trailhead
The Grottos Loop
Route Description for The Grottos Loop
Begin the hike by crossing the Roaring Fork River on a small footbridge. On the south side of the river, hang a right at the first junction and start along a very wide trail. As you hike there will be many junctions, most of which are signed. Follow the signs for the ‘Ice Caves’, the first stop on the hike.
As the name would imply, the Ice Caves are home to small pools of water that freeze in the winter. One you reach the turnoff for the Ice Caves, descend down to the left and spend some time exploring the silky-smooth rock landscape. After appreciating the rocks’ strange beauty, return to the trail and continue east.
As you continue hiking, the path will veer to the left (north) with signs pointing towards the Cascades. Soon you will arrive at the river. You will be treated to a stunning, cascading waterfall. Although not particularly high or steep, the waterfall’s beauty comes from the stunning features carved into the rocks. This part of the hike is truly beyond words, and can only be experienced in person.
After enjoying the cascades, follow the trail as it starts to head back to the bridge along the side of the river. Soon you will arrive back at the bridge, which you will cross over to return to the parking lot.
On sunny summers day this can be a great spot for a family picnic.
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