Aerial view of Aspen, CO
Aerial view of Aspen, CO

Hiking Guide for Aspen

Aspen, Colorado, is a hiker's paradise, offering an array of trails that cater to all levels of hiking enthusiasts. From serene meadows to challenging alpine ascents, the area boasts a diverse range of hiking experiences. Here's an exhaustive guide to some of the most notable hiking trails around Aspen, complete with trail length, difficulty level, and information about campgrounds and bathrooms:

1. Maroon Lake Scenic Trail:

  • Length: 1.5 miles (loop)

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Description: A popular trail offering breathtaking views of Maroon Lake and the iconic Maroon Bells. Perfect for a leisurely stroll and photography.

2. Crater Lake Trail:

  • Length: 3.6 miles (out and back)

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Description: A scenic trail leading to the stunning Crater Lake, nestled beneath the majestic Maroon Bells. The hike rewards with alpine scenery and vibrant wildflowers.

3. Cathedral Lake Trail:

  • Length: 5.6 miles (out and back)

  • Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

  • Description: This trail leads to the pristine Cathedral Lake, surrounded by towering peaks and lush landscapes. The ascent is rewarded with panoramic views.

4. Hunter Creek Trail:

  • Length: Varies (loop options)

  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

  • Description: A network of trails offering a peaceful escape through forests and along Hunter Creek. Several loop options cater to different fitness levels.

5. Ute Trail:

  • Length: 1.5 miles (out and back)

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Description: The trail climbs steeply to offer sweeping views of Aspen and the surrounding mountains, making it a great workout with stunning rewards.

6. American Lake Trail:

  • Length: 6.4 miles (out and back)

  • Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

  • Description: A challenging hike leading to the stunning American Lake, surrounded by alpine meadows and rugged terrain.

7. East Maroon Portal Trail:

  • Length: Varies (point-to-point options)

  • Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

  • Description: Part of the longer Four Pass Loop, this trail offers breathtaking alpine views and a chance to experience the beauty of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.


  • Difficult Campground: Located near Maroon Lake, ideal for Maroon Bells exploration.

  • Silver Bell Campground: Situated near the Maroon Bells Scenic Area, providing easy access to hiking trails.

  • Weller Campground: Offers a rustic camping experience along the Lincoln Creek Road.


  • Maroon Lake Visitor Center: Restrooms available near the Maroon Bells Scenic Area.

  • Campground Restrooms: Campgrounds like Difficult and Silver Bell have restroom facilities.

Tips for Hikers:

  • Check trail conditions and weather forecasts before embarking on hikes.

  • Carry sufficient water, snacks, and essentials such as a map, compass, and first aid kit.

  • Practice Leave No Trace principles and respect wildlife and natural surroundings.

  • Start early to avoid crowds and afternoon thunderstorms.

  • Follow marked trails and trail signs to ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience.

Whether you're seeking a leisurely stroll or a challenging alpine adventure, the hiking trails around Aspen offer an array of options for hikers of all skill levels. Be sure to plan ahead, prepare adequately, and fully immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty that the Aspen area has to offer.