Aspen Colorado Hiking Trails

These Aspen Colorado hiking trails feature mountain vistas, aspen trees, lakes, creeks, and anything else I think you might like. And if I find any waterfalls, I'll tell you about those too. (I did see a small waterfall on the way to the Lyle Lake trailhead; see below.)

The second of two Thomas Lakes, near Aspen

The Maroon Bells are my favorite spot in the state, and I think they are the first best place to explore a few Aspen Colorado hiking trails. So if you'd like to see the Maroon Bells for yourself, do visit my Maroon Bells page. You'll see some of the easier hikes that start there along with directions, and other good information.

There's an easy-to-see waterfall on Independence Pass and if you visit it, you could also bring a picnic since there are picnic tables fairly near by. The name of this waterfall is "The Cascades", and for more information about it, just visit my Colorado Waterfall trails page. It's the 5th waterfall down on that page.

If you'd like to do an Aspen hiking trail that features lots of aspen trees, visits two lakes, and has wonderful views of Mt. Sopris, you should do the hike to Thomas Lakes. It's the second hike on my Colorado Fall hikes page. Although you can do this hike any time during the hiking season, we chose to do it in the fall because of all those aspen trees.

The following Aspen Colorado hiking trail involves crossing a creek, (no bridge), to reach the trailhead. So you should probably have a high clearance vehicle if you want to do this hike. We did this hike in late August and the water wasn't deep; just deep enough to need a higher clearance vehicle.

Aspens along the Avalanche Creek trail, near Aspen

Avalanche Creek Trail
One-way distance: 2.5 miles
Difficulty level: easy to moderate
Approximate one-way hiking time: one hour and 40 minutes to bridge;
Dog friendly: yes, but must be leashed
Entrance fee: no
Restroom facilities: yes
Elevation: 8,160 feet at the bridge

Directions to Avalanche Creek trailhead: from Hwy. 82 in Carbondale, turn south onto Hwy. 133. Drive about 12.7 miles then turn left onto Road 310. (You'll see the sign there for Avalanche Creek.) Cross the bridge over the Crystal River and follow the dirt road for about 2.7 miles to the Avalanche Campground. Drive through the campground to the far end of it where you'll see the parking lot, and this is also where the trail starts.

This Aspen Colorado hiking trail starts out by following an easy path along Avalanche Creek. You'll see aspen trees in various places along the trail and in some places, you can also see them off to your right, on the neighboring mountainside. Most of this trail is thickly forested, so it's a good hike to do on a warm day.

Maybe around half way into the hike, you'll come to a creek crossing that's a little tricky. There are rocks and logs across the creek but they're not as sturdy as they could be. If you have hiking sticks, they are very useful for getting across this creek. On the other side, the trail continues up at a gentle pace. After a little while, the trail gets steeper and pretty much stays that way for most of the rest of the hike.

Towards the last part of this Aspen Colorado hiking trail, you come to a large aspen forest with tall aspen trees. Shortly after this, you come to a trail intersection. Continue straight on the Avalanche Creek trail. Soon you'll be heading downhill through some switchbacks. In about two minutes, you'll reach the bridge which is the turnaround point for this hike. Enjoy :-).

Lyle Lake, Colorado

Lyle Lake
One-way distance: 1.5 miles
Difficulty level: moderate to more difficult;
Approximate one-way hiking time: 1 hour;
Dog friendly: yes, but must be leashed;
Entrance fee: no
Restroom facilities: no
Elevation: 11,369 feet at the lake;

Directions to Lyle Lake trailhead: from Aspen, take Hwy. 82 north towards Basalt. Turn right onto Basalt Ave. which is at a light. Follow the circle around to the left and follow directions for the Ruedi Reservoir. Keep going and continue on past the Ruedi Reservoir and along the Fryingpan River. When you come to the dirt road on your right going to the Fryingpan Lakes, stay left on the Hagerman Pass Road which is Road 105. This road will soon turn to dirt. When you come to the intersection of the Hagerman Pass Road, and the Ivanhoe Lake Road, (you’ll see the sign), I suggest you park along the side of the road unless you have a high clearance vehicle. At this point, the Hagerman Pass Road turns into a 4-wheel drive road but it’s only about 200 feet up this road to the Lyle Lake trailhead. So it’s easy enough to walk, (left), up the Hagerman Pass road and onto the trail.

Before you make the drive to the trailhead for this Aspen Colorado hiking trail, make sure you have plenty of gas, because we saw no place to get it after Basalt. From Basalt, it took us a little over an hour to reach the Lyle Lake trailhead. And at the trailhead, there is no sign saying Lyle Lake; but there is a map on the bulletin board showing Lyle Lake, as well as Mormon Lake which is further up the trail after Lyle Lake.

Another thing you might be interested to know as you’re making the drive up to this Aspen Colorado hiking trail is that there is a small but pretty waterfall (actually a set of two waterfalls) that you can see from the road if you’re looking at the right time.

It’s easy to miss so here’s how to find it: once you’re on Road 105, look for mile marker #8. The waterfall is just a short distance beyond this mile marker, on the right side of the road and under the power lines, through the trees. It’s easy to miss, so watch carefully.

O.K., let’s follow this Aspen Colorado hiking trail up to Lyle Lake. The beginning of the trail starts out fairly steeply then it gets more moderate and easier for most of the rest of the hike until you get to about the ¾ mark. You will follow Lyle Creek for a good portion of the trail, and cross it a couple of times on stepping rocks but it’s not hard.

Rosy Paintbrush flower, Colorado

This Aspen Colorado hiking trail is fairly open although there definitely are pine trees along the way near the trail; just not a forest. Instead, you have open meadows with lots and lots of wildflowers. In fact, this is probably one of the best wildflower hikes we’ve done. We did this hike in late July and the wildflowers were excellent then.

So, as I mentioned earlier, the middle part of this Aspen Colorado hiking trail is moderate or fairly easy until you get to the ¾ point of the trail.

At that point, the trail starts to get steeper and it gets harder to breathe since you are at a higher altitude. (This is one of the higher hikes on this website.) So, take your time, rest if you need to; and before long, you’ll reach Lyle Lake which will make it all worth it :-).





Chapman Lake, Colorado

Chapman Lake
One-way distance: 0.9 miles
Difficulty level: moderate to easy
Approximate one-way hiking time: 30 minutes;
Dog friendly: yes, but must be leashed;
Entrance fee: no
Restroom facilities: no, but there is at Ruedi Reservoir which is on the way;
Elevation: 9,800 feet at the lake

Directions to Chapman Lake trailhead: follow the directions, (above), to Lyle Lake and continue on past the Ruedi Reservoir and along the Fryingpan River. Drive past the towns of Meredith and Thomasville. Next, be looking for the sign that says Norrie Colony. When you see it, turn right onto the road at that sign. Go straight, cross the creek and after about 200 yards, take the left fork and follow this good dirt road. From this point on, you’ll see the signs for Chapman Lake. Go left at the first sign you’ll see for it, then right at the next sign for it. Continue on this road and just before the trailhead, you’ll see a sign that says “trailhead”. Shortly after that, you’ll see the trailhead on your left, which only holds about 5-6 cars.

At the trailhead, there is no sign saying Chapman Lake, (not when we were there anyway.) But there is a sign on a tree a short ways up the trail, that says Chapman Lake. I wasn’t sure if we were on the right trail until I saw that sign :-).

Anyway, this Aspen Colorado hiking trail starts off moderately and stays that way for about half of the hike. For the most part, you are hiking through a pine forest but there is enough room between the trees to let the sun in. Along the way, you’ll see a few scattered aspen trees here and there.

At around the half-way point or so of this Aspen Colorado hiking trail, you’ll cross a small creek on a log. After that, the trail is easier the rest of the way to the lake. At the lake there is a stand of aspen trees which would be beautiful on a fall color day. Also, the lake itself is covered in lily pads; it must be a frog paradise although I don’t remember if we heard them there or not :-).

A side note to this Aspen Colorado hiking trail is that we saw a fox on the side of the dirt road on our way back from doing this hike, so keep an eye out for them.

The one we saw seemed to be relatively unafraid of our car because after initially running a few steps at the approach of our car, he stayed on the side of the road and continued on with his day. I was able to take some pictures of him, one of which you see here.






Weller Lake, Colorado

Weller Lake
One-way distance: 0.6 miles
Difficulty level: easy to moderate
Approximate one-way hiking time: 25 minutes;
Dog friendly: yes, but must be leashed;
Entrance fee: no
Restroom facilities: no
Elevation: 9,600 feet at the lake

Directions to Weller Lake trailhead: from Aspen, drive east on Hwy. 82 for about 9 miles; just before the Weller Campground. It’s just a short ways beyond mile marker 49 and you’ll see the parking area on the right side of the road.

The parking lot for this Aspen Colorado hiking trail is small and only holds about 9 or 10 “official” parking spots. After that, there is room for maybe 5 or 6 cars on the side of the parking area road. So it’s better to get there earlier rather than later. Keep in mind too that this trail is very popular, being so close to Aspen.

This Aspen Colorado hiking trail goes through a lush pine forest for most of the hike, so it’s a good one to do on a warm day. Towards the beginning of the hike, you pass by a nice stand of aspens. Soon after that, you cross the river on a bridge. And right after that, you’ll go up some steep steps in the bank.

Next, you’ll come to a fork in the trail and you want to take the right fork. From here, this Aspen Colorado hiking trail will zig zag it’s way up the mountain until you reach Weller Lake. Enjoy the lake and when you’re ready, go back the way you came.

Linkins Lake, Colorado

Linkins Lake
One-way distance: 0.6 miles
Difficulty level: moderate
Approximate one-way hiking time: 40 minutes
Dog friendly: yes, but must be leashed
Entrance fee: no
Restroom facilities: no
Elevation: 12,015 feet at the lake

Directions to Linkins Lake trailhead: from Aspen, follow Hwy. 82 east for about 18 miles to the trailhead, which you’ll see on your left at a hairpin curve in the road. On your way to the trailhead, you’ll pass by the ghost town of Independence, (on your right, at mile marker 57, a little more than 2 miles before the trailhead), and this will be your hint that you’re getting closer to the trailhead.

And here’s some useful info. you might appreciate: the parking area for this Aspen Colorado hiking trail holds about 10-15 cars, and all of this hike is above tree line, so sunscreen is a good idea. Also, because it is above tree line, the earlier in the morning you do this hike, the better, to avoid the afternoon thunderstorms that often come up.

This trail is rocky, fairly steep, and it’s high elevation…but to me, it was worth it. It reminded me of my hiking days in Switzerland :-).

From the parking area, the trail starts up and in a short time, you’ll cross a wooden bridge over the creek. Shortly after this creek crossing, you come to a sign saying “Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness”. This point is the intersection between the Lost Man Trail which goes to the right, and the Linkins Lake Trail, which goes to the left. So you want to go left.

From here, this Aspen Colorado hiking trail starts to get steeper and goes through scrub willow and different types of wildflowers. (The best time to see these flowers is usually around early to mid August.) Since you’re above tree line, you’ll have wonderful views of the mountains all around you as you make your way up the trail.

When you get higher, you’ll see a ridge, and that’s where you’re headed. Shortly after you reach it, you’ll be walking along a flatter, much easier trail which will lead you to the lake. You’ll find it inside a glacial cirque and it makes a nice spot for a picnic, or just a nice place to relax :-).

Savage Lake, Colorado

Savage Lakes
One-way distance: 2.0 miles
Difficulty level: moderate
Approximate one-way hiking time: one hour and 40 minutes to Lower Savage Lake.
Dog friendly: yes, but must be leashed
Entrance fee: no
Restroom facilities: no, but there is at Ruedi Reservoir, which is on the way to the trailhead.
Elevation: 9,890 feet at the trailhead

Directions to Savage Lakes trailhead: from the intersection of Frying Pan Road, ( Midland Ave.), and Two Rivers Road in Basalt, drive 27 miles up the Frying Pan Road to a gravel road, (Road 501), on the left, just before the road crosses the Frying Pan River. Follow this gravel road for 7.9 miles, (stay left at 4.5 miles at the intersection with Cunningham Creek Road), to the Savage Lakes trailhead which is on the left, and parking is on the right. It takes a little over an hour to get to the trailhead from Basalt.

This Aspen Colorado hiking trail starts out in a thick pine forest and is mostly rocky. It climbs steadily for most of the way to the lower lake so it’s a good idea to wear good hiking boots or shoes, and make sure they are comfortable. Although the forest is fairly thick, there are plenty of areas along the trail where the sun comes through.

For a good portion of the trail, you can either see or hear the creek that’s off to your right as you are climbing. Maybe around the one mile mark, (or about half way into the hike), you’ll come to an area that’s a little more open, and to your left are some tall cliffs that reach high above you, with a big pile of rocks at the bottom.

At this point, the trail becomes a little easier for a short time before it once again resumes its steady climb to lower Savage Lake. As you keep climbing, the trail will take you closer to the creek, and at around the ¾ point of your hike, you’ll see a smaller, but nice falls in the creek. And you’ll see the short side trail that leads to it, on your right.

From here, you’ll resume your climb for a short distance, then the trail will level out and you’ll find yourself in a more open, meadow-like area. There were flowers here, but they were past peak bloom on the late July day that we did this hike.

Continue walking along this easier portion of the trail, and you will soon come out of the forest and find yourself at lower Savage Lake, which is located inside a glacial cirque. We were lucky enough to have the lake all to ourselves on the week day that we did this hike, so maybe you could too :-). Just try to get to the trailhead early.

Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Doc Holliday Trail
One-way distance: 0.25 miles
Difficulty level: moderate
Approximate one-way hiking time: 15 minutes;
Dog friendly: yes
Entrance fee: no
Restroom facilities: no
Elevation: 6,190 feet at the cemetery;

Directions to Doc Holliday Trail trailhead: this trail starts from a residential area in Glenwood Springs and the directions look like this: from Grand Ave. in Glenwood Springs, (which is the main road/highway through town), go east on 13th Street for three blocks, then turn left onto Bennett Street. The trailhead is on the corner of Bennett St. and 12th St., (on the right), and you’ll see the sign that says: Pioneer Cemetery Trailhead. Parking is on the street.

This trail is short but somewhat rocky and a little steep. Most of it is also open so it’s a good idea to use the sunscreen on this one. As you make your way up, you’ll have views of Glenwood Springs all around you, and there are several benches along the trail if you want to stop and take in the view. In no time, you’ll reach the cemetery; at which point you want to follow the trail on your left which leads to the Doc Holliday Memorial.

I'm planning on doing more Aspen Colorado hiking trails this summer, so when I do, I'll be adding them here. And if you know any Aspen hiking trails that you think should be on this page, do let me know about them so I can check them out. Have fun out there on the hiking trail!

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