Fun Family Hikes In Aspen, Colorado

There are a lot of great things to do in Aspen, Colorado! From the iconic Maroon Bells, to family-friendly hikes, there is something for everyone. Here are some of the best hikes in Aspen that both adults and kids will enjoy! With great view points, photo ops, and fresh air, there are plenty of hikes to do with the whole family in Aspen!

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Maroon Bells- Scenic Trail

Maroon Bells in Aspen are some of the most photographed mountains in all of America, and for good reason, making this one of the best hikes in Aspen, or at least the most popular. Surrounded by trees in the foreground and sharp pointed peaks on top, these mountains are framed just perfectly. As you get off the shuttle, it’s a quick and easy walk to the viewing point. A lake at your feet makes this picturesque spot perfect. The walking trail around the viewing area is easy and accessible.

kids walking on trail at Maroon Bells Aspen Colorado
It was a bit overcast the day we went, but still stunning!

What you should know: Right now, there are limited parking reservations at Maroon Bells that you MUST make before going. Alternatively, you can make a shuttle reservation to drop you off at Maroon Bells. The shuttle will pick you up at Aspen Highlands, where you can pay to park your car. Check in upstairs in the courtyard, and head to the shuttle. Right now (during COVID), shuttles are taking about 15 people at a time and masks are required. Shuttle fares are increased to make up for decreased quantity of seats

The last shuttle exits Maroon Bells at 5:00pm, (schedule subject to change; check before you leave!)


Make sure you have all the necessary hiking gear to stay safe and have fun!


Crater Lake at Maroon Bells

While you are at Maroon Bells, and IF you have a few extra hours (remember, last shuttle leaves at 5:00!) you can take the trail off to the right of the scenic walking path and head up to Crater Lake. It’s about 1.5 miles one way and there are definitely some rocky parts, so this is great for older kids. (My 5-year-old did it, though there were a couple parts where holding her hand and helping her were necessary).

At the top of this hike, you’ll walk up to Crater Lake and feel like you are right at the base of the Maroon Bells! It’s definitely worth the hike for a closer look!

Crater Lake Maroon Bells Hike
A little rocky, but the kids did great
Crater LAke Trail at Maroon Bells
Crater Lake Maroon Bells
The lake isn’t as full in fall, but the colors are great!

Don’t forget the hiking gear! Grab a day pack and make sure to stay hydrated and safe!

The Grottos Trail in Aspen – Best Hikes in Aspen

This was hands-down my kids favorite. It’s a short, enjoyable hike with great places to stop and explore. Located right off 82 (out of town a bit), you’ll drive through a couple narrow points. Vehicles over 35 feet are not permitted to drive through here. As you drive, you’ll see a sign for Grottos Day Use area where there is a small dirt lot to park in. There are also bathrooms and picnic tables. The dirt lot is right next to the river, so it’s a nice place to have lunch.

The Grottos Trail is about a half mile or so if you do the loop, but there are a couple options on the trail of where you can go. The trail itself is full of exploration for the kids, including trees, rocks, and large smooth boulders that take up a bit of space on the side.

smooth rock surface at the Grottos trail in Aspen Colorado

The BEST part of this was the ice caves! Signs will lead you to some awesome caves that have great rock movement and shape. If you’re able (and careful), you can climb down into the caves and explore. My kids LOVED this and for the rest of the trip in Aspen, they asked if we could go back for the caves.

It is a little tricky getting down (we had to help lift them down and back up), but it’s not too tricky. When we were there, there were a couple log stumps to help get up and down. You just have to look around a little to find them.

sign for trail
kids climbing down into ice caves, grottos trail, Aspen Colorado
The Grottos, ice caves, Aspen Colorado
A bit rocky, but the kids actually loved climbing around in here

Next, the Grottos Trail will take you to the Cascades. This was so incredibly beautiful. The water was so powerful, and yet so relaxing. A couple mini waterfalls fall down to the river, and there are plenty of smoothed out rocks to sit on and enjoy.

The water had just a touch of turquoise in it, which was really cool. This was definitely one of the best hikes in Aspen.

Check out a quick clip of the cascades:


Want a guided, easy hike that explores the outdoors while also learning some history of Aspen? Check out the Aspen East End Light Hike guided tour!


Hunter Creek Trails in Aspen

For our next family-friendly hike in Aspen, we went to Hunter Creek. The Hunter Creek Trail is a large trail system. It has many great segments that are great for family hiking in Aspen. From downtown Aspen, take Red Mountain Road for a mile and turn right on Hunter Creek Road. Then you’ll take a really really sharp left (2 point turn for us) up the road a little farther to a dirt lot.

Here is what you’ll see where you need to make that sharp left:

small waterfall in Aspen Colorado

From the dirt lot, walk down maybe 30-40 yards and in front of a small building you’ll see the trailhead.

Hunter Creek trail sign

Hunter Creek Trail is one of the best hikes in Aspen for a lot of reasons. We felt like it was many hikes all in one. It started on a red mountain, giving incredible views over Aspen. There are gorgeous houses widely spaced along the first part and, depending on the time of year, beautiful colors all over the mountain.

It started out single track, but next as you hike along it turns into a wider trail with different terrain. At the top of the first part (it’s a little steep, but not terrible. The kids did fine) you come to a road. Go to the left and walk up 20 yards and you’ll see where the trail picks up again. It will lead you through a wider trail and over the river on a cool bridge. After you cross the bridge, you can go right and see more of the river, or you can go left and head up the mountain some more to a beautiful meadow and some old mining houses.

We went left.

little girl on dirt trail Hunter Creek Aspen Colorado
kids hiking in Aspen Colorado

We stayed on the trail probably just under two miles. Some parts were a tad rocky, some were smooth path, some were flat. Parts of the hike were covered in aspen trees and others were more of a pine forest. It really was awesome to see so many different scenes on the same hike.

Kids hike in Aspen Colorado

At the top, you’ll come to a meadow that’s beautiful and gold. Just past the meadow, if you look to the left, you’ll see a bridge. Go over this bridge and you’ll see some really cool cabins that were used for mining. Some of the cabins are collapsed, but some have been preserved and you can go inside. (Unfortunately, there was some profanity spray painted on the wall inside, which is unfortunate for such a great piece of history.)

The cabins were in such a neat setting and were beautiful photo ops for the family.

dirt trail in Aspen Colorado
Turn left here and go over the bridge…

kids hiking toward abandoned cabins in Aspen Colorado
…and you’ll end up here on the other side near the cabins!

Looking for more Colorado adventures? Check these out!

Hiking with the kids in Breckenridge

Fun things to do in Steamboat Springs

Rocky Mountain National Park- with the kids!

Awesome Family Cabins You Can Rent in Breckenridge


Tom Blake Trails in Snowmass

Over in Snowmass Village (just down the road from downtown Aspen), you can take a scenic drive up Owl Creek Rd to the best hikes in Aspen area. You will eventually hit the sign for the Tom Blake Trail. This trail is also a system of trails, organized in a way that bikers have use of certain trails, hikers some, and horses some. There are posts that signify who can use what.

These trails are beautiful, and we were able to see some beautiful fall colors! The hike can be steep, but again, the kids did fine on it. They had a lot of fun discovering the different trees, leaves, and plants.

Tom Blake Trail sign, Aspen Colorado

The trail goes up and over a ridge for a few miles. It is out and back (unless you want an all-day bike ride), so we just went up a mile and came back down. This trail had other hikers, bikers, and evidence of equestrian riders, but it was so peaceful and beautiful! The fall colors did not disappoint! Make sure to check out these trails in Snowmass!

Those were some of the best, scenic, family hikes in Aspen! There is so much more to explore!

What are some of your favorite spots in Aspen, Colorado?

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43 thoughts on “Fun Family Hikes In Aspen, Colorado”

  1. I just love Colorado so much. There are so many gorgeous places to spend time outdoors. It looks like you all found all of the fun trails!

    Reply
  2. I love seeing young ones out exploring nature! Also, the ice caves look so cool – I’ve only been to Aspen in winter but now I wanna visit in the fall.

    Reply
  3. These family outdoors activities in Colorado look *so fun!* I have a dear friend in CO and have been wanting to visit her. Clearly fall would be a wonderful time to visit. The aspens are simply gorgeous.

    Reply
  4. Such beautiful pictures of fall foliage! I always thought of Aspen as a skiing destination, but this has surely changed my mind! Thank you for this great post!

    Reply
  5. These look so amazing!!! Especially that crater lake, if it looks so nice now can’t even imagine how good it looks completely full. Would love to visit! Great detailed guide, thank you 😀

    Reply
  6. These look like some gorgeous hikes in Aspen. I would like to do the Crater Lake Trail and the Grottos Trail. The caved look so cool!

    Reply
  7. Ahh, I wanted to go to Aspen as part of my cross-country road trip last year but didn’t end up making it over there–it’s still definitely on my list for when it’s hopefully safer to travel again! <3 *-*

    Reply

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