Aspen Sightseeing Adventures: Top 8 Biking and Hiking Trails

Visitors can select from plenty of Aspen sightseeing adventures, but ranked among the best ways to see the area is biking or hiking scenic trails. Not only do 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 decide which is best, here are eight trails that draw nature lovers from all over the world.

Aspen Sightseeing Adventures: Best Hiking and Biking Trails

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Photo: John Matrix

Maroon Bells Scenic Trail

Welcoming both people and leashed dogs, the Maroon Bells trail runs along Maroon Lake and into 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 trail is short, icy and rocky conditions can add difficulty, so pack appropriate footwear and poles if necessary.

Buckskin Pass

Also located in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass area, Buckskin Pass offers a challenging hike at more than 9 miles round-trip. The trail takes hikers through several areas where they see Maroon Bells, Pyramid Peak, Snowmass Lake and Snowmass Mountain.

In addition to scenic beauty, visitors also see wildlife such as mountain goats. Due to 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 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, pay only $5 for guests 13 and older, and learn about the historic town that once housed silver mines.

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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.

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 fall 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 skill level.

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 horseback ride, inline skate and cross-country ski during winter months.

Grottos Trail

Located near Independence Pass in 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.

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Hunter Creek Trail

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 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. Even better, this Aspen sightseeing spot is not too easy or difficult.

Hikers enjoy mild grades, lots of fish varieties and wildflowers during summer. The popular Crater Lake Trail also ranks as a popular spot for fall foliage and Aspen colors.

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