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    American Lake Trail

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    10.9 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    623 m
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    Directions to Trailhead

    The American Lake Trail is a wonderful scenic adventure up to a green-hued alpine lake nestled in a mountain cirque, bounded by snow-capped craggy cliffs. Traveling through golden aspens up to spruce forestlands and alpine meadows, this hike exhibits the diversity of Colorado's flora and fauna. Next time you find yourself in the Aspen area, an excursion up to American Lake is well worth the detour.

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    Route Description for American Lake Trail

    ​Immerse yourself in the stunning natural environments of the Colorado wilderness. The American Lake Trail is an epic adventure through the high country that is sure to please all its hikers. Located in a mountain cirque, the trek up to the lake travels at high elevations, so it is essential to be mindful of the weather. Check the forecast before your adventure and set out in the early morning to mitigate the chances of getting caught in an afternoon storm. If you choose to camp around the lake, be sure to set up shop at least 100ft from the lake, beneath the tree line. When venturing the trail in the winter or late fall, pack a pair of microspikes to help navigate the likely icy and snow-cloaked terrain.

    Revel in the diversity of Colorado’s topographies as you trek the American Lake Trail. Offering the best of both worlds, this incredible adventure offers forestland walks and hikes through exposed terrains that reveal awe-inspiring vistas of the surrounding mountainous wilderness. Initially hiking through vibrant aspens, you will be drowning in a sea of golden leaves before ascending into verdant evergreen woodlands. The exposed alpine tundra near the lake warrants expansive views of the neighboring peaks that flank the lush vegetation below and often presents the opportunity to spot wildlife. The American Lake Trail is an awesome introductory hike to those hoping to eventually ascend a Colorado 14er. We love this hike, and if you venture it, you will understand why.

    Embark on your adventure along the American Lake Trail from the trailhead off Castle Creek Road. From here, the American Lake Trail will guide hikers across a small alpine stream before diverting southwest into the aspen forest. Admire the towering golden aspens and let them distract you from your burning legs as you hike up the gradual grade. The path will eventually curve south, ascending into an evergreen forest. Enjoy the increasingly sparse tree shade before graduating the tree line into the alpine tundra.

    As you wander through the alpine meadow, keep an eye out for pikas and overly friendly marmots! Enjoy the sights of the encompassing mountainous wilderness as you begin your final push up to the alpine lake. Navigate the now rocky terrain, scrambling up the scree dotted with wildflowers. Notice a small waterfall on the left that feeds Devaney Creek. Summit the scree field, and your breath will be taken away as the sights of the alpine lake flanked by craggy cliffs come into view.

    Nestled between towering walls capped by snow and encircled towering pines, the green-hued lake presents a postcard-worthy scene. Revel in the picturesque panorama and explore the shoreline of the inviting waters. If you are camping overnight, set up your tent below the timberline, sheltered from the threat of an afternoon storm. After dipping your toes in the frigid waters and admiring the scenery, begin your descent. To get back, simply retrace your footing along the path to the trailhead, marking the end of your alpine adventure.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How long is the American Lake Trail?

    The American Lake Trail travels over 10.0 km up to the alpine lake.

    Are dogs allowed on the American Lake Trail?

    Yes, dogs on-leash are permitted on the American Lake Trail.

    Is American Lake in the Maroon Bells- Snowmass Wilderness?

    Yes, the American Lake is in the southeast of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.

    Insider Hints for American Lake Trail

    • Though you can hike year-round, autumn treks reveal the vibrance of the aspen trees
    • Open year-round, throw on some microspikes in the late fall and winter months
    • Be sure to check the forecast prior to your adventure to mitigate the chances of getting caught in an afternoon storm
    • Transform this day hike into an overnight epic backpacking expedition and camp near the shoreline
    • Rejuvenate your tired feet in the chilly alpine waters

    Getting to the American Lake Trail Trailhead

    The American Lake Trail is accessed via the American Lake Trailhead off Castle Creek Road.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground


    • When to do


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly

      Older Children only

    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    American Lake Trail Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

    Check Area Weather

    American Lake Trail Reviews

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