The Other Side of Aspen: 6 Amazing Hiking Trails

The hiking in Aspen gives the skiing a run for its money.

By: Mike Fennell

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Aspen is most well known for its amazing skiing, millionaire patrons, and playing host to perhaps the greatest comedy of all time. It's understandable that a lot of people aren't aware that this Colorado ski town actually has really easy access to incredible hiking and backpacking trails. The famed Maroon Bells area is just a stone’s throw away, there are other beautiful spots close to town, and despite the reputation as a tourist destination, the Roaring Fork Valley area actually has a great community of permanent residents. It’s also worth mentioning that you can get delicious food and drink without dressing to the nines or breaking the bank. So forget what you thought you knew about Aspen and hit up these amazing trails and spots to chill on your trip to this mountain paradise.

1. Thomas Lake and Mt. Sopris

Photo: Mike Fennel

The Mount Supris Trail is a great introductory backpacking location, but beautiful and challenging enough to be equally well suited for an exprienced backpacker. Thomas Lake is a great spot to camp, located about halfway up the trail to the Mount Supris Summit. Learn more.

2. Twining Peak

Photo: Eric Schuette

Get some beginner mountaineering experience on this summit day hike where much of the final stretch is off trail and includes class 2 scrambling. Time it right to catch an amazing sunset from 13,711 ft. Learn more.

3. Conundrum Hot Springs

Photo: Kyle Frost

Make the 9 mile hike in to this large backpackers campsite and make friends in the massive hot springs pool. Make it a full weekend by staying a couple nights and tackling the nearby Triangle Pass or Conundrum Peak. Learn more.

4. Four Pass Loop

Photo: Kevin Kaminski

If you're ready to really get out there, this 4 day, 28 mile loop through the Maroon Bells may be for you. Hike through some of the most beautiful mountain scenery on the planet in near solitude. Learn more.

5. Lizard Lake to Crystal Mill

Photo: Mike Fennel

Take off on this 10 mile day hike along the beautiful Crystal River and past Lizard Lake to check out the abandoned 18th century town of Crystal. Learn more.

6. Cathedral Lake

Photo: Sam Rae Roy

This lesser known mountain lake is a great alternative to experience the Maroon Bells area without dealing with the crowds. This can be done as a day hike but also has excellent backcountry campsites. Learn more.

Food, Drink, and Chillin

If you've got the means and desire to try out some of Aspen's fine dining, then go for it! For those looking for a more laid back meal, try Little Annie's Eating House, a go-to for casual family dining in Aspen for 35 years. They have a large menu and have been voted by locals as the best hamburger in town. The best breakfast in town is at Aspen Over Easy, where the food is not only delicious, but prepared with environmentally sustainable methods. The Big Wrap is exaclty what it sounds like - hearty and delicious wraps that are perfect to grab and go hit the trail. Stop by the Aspen Brewing Company to sample local beers on tap in a casual atmosphere - live music every Friday and Saturday night! Speaking of live music, if you're an avid concert goer, check out the calendar at Belly Up before your visit. They have great acts spanning a wide spectrum of music come through regularly. Camping will definitely be the most financially friendly, but if you want to stay in town, check out all of the great accomodations Aspen has to offer.

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.