There’s one Aspen, Colorado hike that we feel compelled to hike every summer – Sunnyside Trail! It is beautiful in the early summer when trees are green and lush, and it is just as gorgeous in the fall when leaves are yellow and the trail is a blanket of golden Aspen leaves. There is just one thing – it is long. The Sunnyside Trail is about 12 miles long and loops through the Hunter Creek Valley. Start at the trailhead on Cemetery Lane so that when you are finished and headed back down through Hunter Creek Valley you are that much closer to home (or, more importantly, a restaurant that serves a burger and a beer – you’ve earned it!). We recommend starting in the morning – this trail can get quite warm, after all, it is called Sunnyside!
The trail starts by climbing up Red Mountain. There are great views of the surrounding Peaks and the town of Aspen. The trail continues to switchback along the side of the mountain through scrub oak. Don’t forget to look up once in a while and enjoy the views! Once the trail enters the Aspen trees, continue on the main trail. There are a lot of little spur trails that mountain bikers like to venture off on as well as several 4WD roads that wind through the area. Follow the trail (which gets wider as you near the top) and you will see a sign where the Sunnyside Trail descends into the Hunter Creek Valley. The views from here are just beautiful. Once you descend back down into the Hunter Creek Valley, keep heading right so that you are hiking back towards Aspen. At this point, you’ll start to see many more bikers and hikers doing the popular hikes through this valley.
At the end of your hike, you’ll have seen some beautiful areas of Aspen and you will definitely have earned your lunch!