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Get Out on the Trails: Best Hikes in Aspen

If you’re visiting Aspen on a hiking trip, you’re in for a treat. Whether you are a newbie to the trails or you are an experienced mountaineer, Aspen/Snowmass is a hub for hiking trails of all levels and distances. Enjoy hiking trails located right in the center of town for beautiful views of Aspen or drive to a remote trailhead for exceptional views and amid secluded mountain scenery. 

Best Hikes in Aspen

You don’t even have to get into a car to experience some of the finest trails in Aspen. Go on a leisurely stroll or climb one of the most challenging peaks in Colorado. It’s all here. 

Trails in Aspen

Rio Grande Trail

The Rio Grande Trail is an accessible, paved trail that stretches from Aspen to Glenwood Springs. The rails-to-trails project runs along the Roaring Fork River for 42 miles and 2,100 feet of incline and passes along many scenic viewpoints, including Mount Sopris in Carbondale. You can bike, walk, or run sections of the trail. 

Ute Trail

If you’re looking to break a sweat without spending too much time doing it, Ute Trail is a must. This quick vertical climb to Ute Rock is just about a mile long, but you’ll experience steep switchbacks and rocky terrain. Take it all the way to the top of Aspen Mountain for an epic perspective on the town. 

Hunter Creek

Lower Hunter Creek is a popular stretch that leads to a network of trails, including the Sunnyside Trail listed below. This trail traverses along the Hunter Creek, offering beautiful views of the water along the way and a moderate 

Sunnyside Trail

The challenging yet beautiful Sunnyside Trail traverses along Red Mountain with views of all four ski resorts. Named for its sunny conditions, this trail is best done in the early morning, especially during the summer months. Sunnyside Trail is a 10-mile trail that connects to the Hunter Creek Valley Trail, so you can shuttle cars to do the point-to-point route or just do a section of the trail. 

Best Day Hikes Near Aspen

Hike to Crested Butte

Hiking from Aspen to Crested Butte is a truly one of a kind experience! The trail starts at Maroon Lake to West Maroon Pass and Schofield Pass, offering spectacular views of the Elk Mountain Range, high alpine meadows, and if you time it right in the summer, one of Colorado’s most beautiful displays of wildflowers.

Lost Man

Lost Man provides instant reward. This hike starts off at 11,500 feet, just below Independence Pass and just off Highway 82. Featuring two high alpine lakes, the Lost Man boasts sprawling views along the route with gradual incline up to Lost Man Pass. 

Maroon – Snowmass Trail

The hike to Snowmass Lake is rewarding and breathtaking. The 17-mile hike from Maroon Lake goes through the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness and over Buckskin Pass. Rated as difficult, this trail is for experienced hikers who are adjusted to the altitude. The Maroon – Snowmass Trail is a connection of the Four Pass Loop, which is a 28-mile trek with 8,000 feet of elevation. 

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Guide to Summer in Aspen

Aspen summertime is magical. Snow-capped mountains remain well into the summer while the alpine fields are covered in wildflowers. Summer is a popular season for outdoor recreation here, offering a diverse range of activities and things to do. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, Aspen has it all.

The Gant in Summer

Tucked away but close to the action, The Gant is a luxurious mountain retreat at the foot of Aspen Mountain. Throughout the property, you’ll find two heated outdoor swimming pools and three jetted hot tubs at two different patio areas, five tennis courts (including three clay courts), and a WE-Cycle bike share station. 

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Things to do in Aspen in Summer

maroon bells colorado

Hike or Bike World Class Trails

Ute Trail

Located right out your back door at The Gant, the Ute Trail is a challenging ascent up to the Ute Rock Overlook that offers stunning views of Aspen. This hike features rocky terrain and a steady climb of 1,200 feet to a lookout point so be sure to have sturdy footwear. If you’re ready for an even bigger challenge, you can hike all the way to the top of Aspen Mountain which features more than 3,000 feet in elevation gain and is about 3 miles to the top.

Smuggler Mountain Trail

Smuggler Mountain is a popular hike and bike trail right in town. Climb 600 feet to the top of Smuggler for views of downtown Aspen and Aspen Mountain. This is a popular trail for all skill levels and is open year-round. Once you arrive at the Smuggler Mountain Lookout Point, there are several trail options for hikers and bikers to explore.

Cathedral Lake

Get out of town to experience one of Aspen’s most iconic hiking trails. Cathedral Lake is a pristine alpine lake that offers stunning views of the Elk Mountain Range and Pearl Pass. This trail is moderate difficulty and is about 6.5 miles round trip. Located about a half mile off of Castle Creek Road past Ashcroft Ghost Town, Cathedral Lake is gorgeous during summer and fal

Maroon Bells Wilderness Area

Maroon Bells is a distinctive Aspen destination, and it’s said to be the most photographed mountains in Colorado. The Maroon Bells Wilderness Area is a must-visit for any Aspen traveler, and it offers trails for every level of skill. You can road bike the 9.25-mile paved Maroon Creek Road to the Maroon Bells Scenic Area, walk the flat trail surrounding Maroon Lake, or take the 9-mile hike to Buckskin Pass and back

Maroon Bells Wilderness Area is accessible only by RFTA shuttle bus during peak season (June – October), which can be picked up at Aspen Highlands Village.

Enjoy the Waterways of Aspen/Snowmass 

young kid fly fishing

Paddleboarding

Rent stand-up paddleboards or go on a guided float through the Northstar Nature Preserve, located 3 miles east of downtown Aspen.

White Water Rafting

You’ll find everything from Class I to Class IV rapids along the Roaring Fork, Arkansas, and Colorado Rivers. Rafting is popular from May to October, but varies each year depending on snow melt and water levels. Local guides will offer recommendations based on the time of year you’re visiting and current conditions.

Kayaking

Traverse the thrilling rapids of the Roaring Fork River or chill along the waters of the Northstar Nature Preserve while kayaking in Aspen. Inflatable kayaks, or duckies, are stable and perfect for beginner kayakers, and even kids.

Fly Fishing

The Roaring Fork River and the Frying Pan River are award-winning fly fishing rivers, plus the Crystal River and Colorado River are not far away. Get a guide to find the best spot to cast a line or rent your equipment and venture out on your own.

Visit Ashcroft

Located about 10 miles outside of Aspen, the Ashcroft Ghost Town is a historic site near some of the region’s best hiking and biking trails. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Ashcroft Ghost Town features the remains of a historic town at the headwaters of Castle Creek. There is a short trail and signage with information about the buildings and land. 

Aspen Saturday Market

The Aspen Farmers Market takes place in the center of downtown with Colorado-grown produce, locally made goods, music, crafts, and more. Visit the market Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. between June 20 and October 10, 2021. 

Aspen Colorado Summer Weather

Weather is mild and dry for much of the summer in Aspen. Summer weather is typically dry, but it’s possible you may experience an afternoon shower. Temperatures here range from high 70s during the day to mid 40s at night. You can bask in the warm during the day and cozy up with a sweater in the evening. Bring light layers, sunscreen, sunglasses, and comfortable shoes for exploring.


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