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Hiking In Snowmass & Aspen

If you like hiking, then you'll love the choices that the Snowmass and Aspen area has to offer. You can find gentle "take the kids" hikes to strenuous climbs to the top of 14,000' peaks suitable for experienced and serious hikers - and lots in between. And the beauty is unequalled - strands of tall stately trees, rushing and cascading crystal clear water, majestic mountain, pristine valleys, and beautiful alpine lakes. There are high altitude challenging hikes that offer panoramic views of the mountains (or take the easy route by riding the Aspen Gondola to the top of the mountain), hikes along rims or ridges that offer an eagles view of Snowmass or downtown aspen, or hikes to lakes to try and catch some fish.

There are a slew of books on hiking trails and several websites that can give you ideas on where to hike in the Snowmass or Aspen area. One site that is pretty good is Trails.com for high level free info or detailed topo maps and more on a fee basis.

Here are some of the best Snowmass and Aspen trails that we hiked and really enjoyed during our two visits to the area. Check out the Aspen Snowmass website to find trail maps like this Snowmass hiking trail map.

Aspen & Snowmass Hiking Trail Picture
Trail Name & Info
Aspen & Snowmass Trail Description
Aspen & Snowmass Hiking Trail Picture

Grotto Hike in Aspen

The Grottos & Cascades Trail

9 miles from Aspen up highway 82

Length: 1 to 2 miles

Level: easy

 

From the day use area with picnic tables next to the Roaring Fork River, you can take a left or right when you cross the bridge. This is an easy, but very fun hike that the whole family can enjoy. A loop trail takes you though the forest and then you can cut off the trail and follow the Roaring Fork River as it twists and turns back toward Aspen. It's a blast scampering up and down the gigantic granite boulders that surround the river and create deep pools of crystal clear cold water and cascading waterfalls.

Another section of the trail heads to an ice cave. You can scamper down some narrow crevices which terminate in a field of ice - even in the heat of summer.

Pack a lunch and enjoy it on any of the several picnic tables or spread out on one of the smooth table top granite rocks.

Hiking over granite boulders on the Grotto Hike in Aspen
Some of the magnificant views on the Maroon Bells hike

Maroon Bells Trails

Take the bus at Aspen Highlands Ski Area to the Maroon Lake Trail head

Length: as long as you like

Difficulty: easy to experienced only

 

The Maroon Bells, two majestic 14,000' peaks, are the sentinels over the valley and all the trails. They are also the most photographed peaks in all of North America. You have lots of hiking options from paved to easy trails to the lake or nine different huffers and puffers above 12,000' or moderate trails along the creek and through the wilderness. This area is an excellent choice for backpackers. There is even a shuttle bus for easy access!

Here you can explore a glacial valley surrounded by 14,000 foot jagged peaks, view vast fields of wildflowers, fish in the clear very cold creek, relax next to the lake, and be close to nature.

Access to the Maroon Lake trail is limited but there is a bus you can catch for a small fee at the Aspen Highlands Ski Area and ride to the trailhead. Don't go home without hiking in this area.

Maroon Bells Hike
View of the valley from the Snowmass Rim Trail

Snowmass Rim Trail

Access from Snowmass Village Area

Seven miles

Difficulty: easy to a couple huffs

This is a good hiking and single track mountain biking trail that follows a rim near Snowmass Village. There are stellar 360 degree views of the old Snowmass Village, the homes, ski runs, and the golf course are spectacular.

It's probably the smoothest trail in Colorado. If you're thinking classic Colorado scenery, forget about it. This is a dry, mostly tree-free trail that meanders along the rim with portions that have some steep drop offs.

Watch out for the mountain bikers who will blow by you. Read some bikers reviews of the trail.

Mountain biking on the Snowmass Rim Trail
Snowmass Nature Trail hike

Snowmass Nature Trail

Access from the parking lot of Snowmass Village

2 mile loop

Difficulty: kid friendly and gentle slope with an elevation gain of 240'

This gentle little trail loop has “take the kids” written all over it. The trail meanders gently up toward Divide Road and the high country west of Snowmass Village. Along the way you hike through dense strands of trees, open meadows, and lots of wildflowers. And you can hike to the ruins of a miner’s cabin to explore and splash in the creek running beside the trail. Anyone with a hankering for wilderness on a small-scale will enjoy this jaunt.

Or you can sign up for an easy two-hour guided walk along the Snowmass Nature Trail. A naturalist from the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies shares tips on wildflowers, animal tracks and birds.

Hiking on the Snowmass Nature Trail
View from near the top of Snowmass Mountain

Aspen & Snowmass Mountain Trails

Aspen & Snowmass Ski Mountain

Lots of trails

Difficulty: moderate to very tough with plenty of elevation changes

 

 

Both Snowmass Mountain and Aspen Mountain open the ski runs for hiking during the summer and there are a variety of trails for casual hikes to very strenuous. You can hike up to to top of each mountain and enjoy live music, guided hikes, climbing walls, restaurants, playgrounds, frisbee golf, and more. Or you can ride the gondolas at each mountain to the top for a small fee and hike any of the trails at top or hike or ride back down.

At Snowmass Village take the Elk Camp Gondola and Elk Camp chairlift (Friday through Sunday) to stunning views and an amazing network of trails suitable for all levels of hikers, from beginner to expert. Here is a map of the Snowmass Trails.

Some of the best alpine hiking and walking trails, ranging from easy self guided walks to ambitious treks with steep ascents and descents, can be access from the top of Aspen Mountain. Here is a map of the Aspen Trails.

View of some of the trails on Aspen Mountain

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