Aspen Sightseeing Adventures: Top 8 Biking and Hiking Trails
Visitors will find plenty of Aspen sightseeing adventures, but ranked among the best ways to see the area is biking or hiking one of the many scenic trails. Not only do these trails offer a great sightseeing option, but they also provide adventures for all ages and seasons, helping Aspen to rank as a top year-round destination in Colorado. To help you decide which is best for your adventure, we rounded up eight trails that draw nature lovers from all over the world.
Hit These Trails for Aspen Sightseeing Adventures
Maroon Bells Scenic Trail
Welcoming both people and leashed dogs, the Maroon Bells trail runs along Maroon Lake and into the Maroon Bells-Snowmass wilderness. The dirt path measures 1.5 miles round trip, offering hikers an easy journey through nature, including trees, a reflective lake, streams and colorful mountain peaks. Even though this trails is short, icy and rocky conditions can add difficult winter conditions, so make sure to pack appropriate footwear and poles if necessary.
Also located in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass area, Buckskin Pass offers a more challenging hike at more than 9 miles round-trip. The trail takes hikers through several areas where they can see Maroon Bells, Pyramid Peak, Snowmass Lake and Snowmass Mountain. In addition to scenic beauty, visitors may also see wildlife including mountain goats. Due to the elevation and length, hikers should bring poles, plenty of water and snacks, and wear sunscreen for added protection.
Castle Creek Road
Popular among bikers and drivers, Castle Creek Road winds 13 miles. The two-lane paved road ranks as a top Aspen sightseeing adventure as it leads to the Ashcroft Ghost Town. Drivers should look out for bikers and enjoy a leisurely drive through the mountains. Mountain bikers with experience find the road more moderate in difficulty, but it’s worth it for the wild beauty and fall colors. Once at Ashcroft, families can pay only $5 for those 13 and older, and learn about the historic town that once housed silver mines.
Cathedral Lake Trail
The Cathedral Lake trail is located passed Ashcroft and offers a more difficult trail. The total trek measures 5.6 miles, starting at 9,880 elevation and reaching more than 11,800 feet at its end. While on the trail, hikers and backpackers enjoy scenic views of aspen groves, spruce-fir forests, meadows and the raved-about Cathedral Lake. This trail is most popular during the summer and falls months in Colorado, so don’t forget to bring the camera and lots of drinking water.
Rio Grande Trail
The mostly paved Rio Grande Trail measures 42 miles but has several access points and trailheads that allow visitors to pick a distance best for their skills. Rio Grande spans the entire Roaring Fork Valley and connects different areas including Aspen, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. This pet-friendly trail provides hiking and biking options, but families can also horseback ride, inline skate and cross-country ski in the winter months.
Located near Independence Pass in the White River National Forest, dog-friendly Grottos Trail loop takes hikers around ice caves, waterfalls and picnic areas. One must-see in the winter is the Ice Caves, a long cavern where small pools of water freeze to make a small cave. The dirt trail measures less than 2 miles and is most popular in late summer and early fall.
Hunter Creek Trail
The Hunter Creek trail – located a short distance from downtown Aspen – measures almost 4 miles and features Aspen trees, wooden bridges and access to other scenic areas. The trail starts off with a steep grade and ascends 700 feet in elevation. While on Hunter Creek trail, visitors may see skiers, mountain bikers, runners and other hikers.
Crater Lake Trail
Showcasing the best of Crater Lake, this trail measures 3.6 miles round-trip and is a favorite among families and pets as it’s not too easy or difficult. Hikers will enjoy mild grades, lots of fish varieties and wildflowers in the summer. The popular Crater Lake Trail also ranks as a top Aspen sightseeing spot for fall foliage and Aspen colors.