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Lower Elevation Hikes in Aspen

 
 
Springtime in Aspen is a great time to get outside and enjoy the sunshine post ski-season. Winter avalanches, fallen trees, and boulders will affect the West Maroon Trail to Crested Butte, Conundrum Creek, and the Four Pass Loop all which will likely not be passable until late July. The U.S. Forest Service will update trail information and opening dates here throughout the summer. Additionally, attributed to the high snowfall from the winter 18-19 season the higher elevation hikes on Independence Pass will also be impacted. In the meantime, here are some lower elevation hikes that you can enjoy in Aspen:
 
  • Difficult Creek Trail: Located southeast of Aspen on Highway 82, Difficult Creek is an enjoyable day hike that features a river and accessible campgrounds. Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Sunnyside Trail: This scenic trail boasts beautiful views of our surrounding mountains, wildflowers, and aspen groves. Accessible from Cemetery Lane and Hunter Creek, Sunnyside is popular for mountain bikers and hikers with dogs. The trail is steep and has limited shade so bring plenty of water with you. Difficulty Level: Difficult
  • Rio Grande Trail: The Rio Grande Trail begins behind the Post Office on Puppy Smith Street. The first two miles are paved then it crosses Cemetery Lane becoming a dirt trail at that point. The trail is friendly for walkers, hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Hunter Creek Trail: Conveniently located directly off the Rio Grande Trail extension, the Hunter Creek Trail gradually ascends up the Hunter Creek Valley boasting stunning views of Aspen from the top. The trail is extremely popular, and you can expect to encounter multiple mountain bikers, hikers, joggers, and accompanying dogs on your hike. Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • East of Aspen Trail: One of Aspen’s more gradual and scenic trails, this trail parallels the Roaring Fork River southeast of Aspen for 3.1 miles. The trail is mountain bike, road bike, walking, running, hiking, and dog-friendly. Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Smuggler Mountain Trail: Aspen’s quick “lunch-break” hike favored by locals is one of the most popular recreational hikes in the Aspen vicinity. The short 1.44-mile ascent up provides you with great views of Aspen from the observation deck at the top. The trail remains busy throughout the year with hikers, runners, mountain bikers, and dog-walkers. Difficulty Level: Easy-Moderate
  • Ashcroft Ghost Town: Hike through Aspen’s historic mining town situated in the Castle Creek Valley. Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Ute Trail: This mile-long aerobic workout is a steady uphill climb with a 700 ft vertical gain. At the top, the trail extends to Ute Rock boasting stunning views of Aspen. Hikers can choose to continue on the Ute trail to the top of Aspen Mountain. The trail is dog friendly and hiker’s only. Difficulty Level: Difficult
  • Red Butte Trail: Located 2.5 miles from downtown Aspen, the Red Butte Trail takes hikers through a quick .75-mile ascent. The trail climbs along Red Butte Mountain offering views of downtown Aspen, the Aspen Golf Course, Pyramid Peak, and Mount Sopris. Difficulty Level: Moderate-Difficult
  • Sky Mountain Park: Sky Mountain Park is 2,500-acre area that connects a network of trails between Aspen and Snowmass Village. It’s important to note that dogs are not allowed and that these trails are heavily used by mountain bikers; always use caution and be aware when hiking. Difficulty Level: Easy-Difficult
 
Further Down Valley Trails:
  • Glassier Trail: Located near Basalt, this this trail has separate trails for horseback riding and biking. The bike trail is 3.4 miles long, the horse trail is 3.1 miles and both link with The Crown in Basalt. Dogs are not allowed on this trail. There is no parking on site; parking is at the corner of Hooks Lane and Hooks Spur Road. Access the Glassier Trail by walking the Rio Grande trail north from parking area to the Glassier trailhead​. Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Arbaney Kittle Trail: This trail follows a historic ranching road and climbs 2,000 feet from Basalt to the ridgeline separating the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan river valleys. Difficulty Level: Difficult
 
 
Always be prepared as mud and snow can be encountered and often expected on these trails during the early season. Commercial uses, including shuttles, will need the proper permits on Open Space.
 
 
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