Locals Corner: Go Take A Hike – Literally

Go Take A Hike – Literally

With moderate snowfall during the past winter season we have been able to take advantage of great conditions on the hiking trails in the area much early than normal.  The trails around town & throughout the Roaring Fork valley allow access to some of the most beautiful scenery in North America.  It gives visitors and locals alike the opportunity to step outside of town and truly experience Mother Nature at her finest.  There are opportunities for the young and old – novice and experienced and even for our 4 legged companions to enjoy this fabulous place that we are lucky to call home.   These trails are the best opportunity to observe local flora, birds, and wildlife.  There are no guarantees but who knows what you may see once you are out there.  The real beauty of the trail system in the area is that there are some really good hikes are right outside our front door – talk about convenience.  A short walk through town will put you right in the midst of the Rocky Mountains.  This is best way (in my opinion) to really find out why folks come for a winter & end up staying for the summer.  Let’s explore……

Rio Grand Trail – A short walk up Mill St. will get you to the Rio Grande Trail.  This trail is popular for joggers,   walkers, those with young travelers (even folks with strollers do well for the 1st few miles), dogs & those that are new to existing at altitude.  I like to refer to this as a warm-up.   Not really a work out but a really good introduction to the area. This trail actually goes 40 miles to Glenwood Springs and is really popular with those that cycle.  Who wants to hike/bike 40 miles?  Some do – but for those that don’t just remember to go as far down the trail as you want to come back. This trail is relatively flat but there are some elevation gains involved the further you go down valley – Nothing to be apprehensive about but definitely worth mentioning.   The surface is smooth blacktop for the 1st few miles, becoming a pressed dirt/gravel trail at that point and then returning to that smooth black top further down valley.  When exploring this trail you will find the Rio Grande River to your left and a bit of exposure to the backyards of some fabulous Aspen homes to your right.  There are also some great access points early in the trail for those with larger dogs to take a dip.  Ask the concierge about renting bikes @ Aspen Sports & cycling to lunch @ Woody Creek tavern – a must do. 

Hunter Creek Trail – Once again a trip up Mill Street will give you access to the Hunter Creek Trail. This is truly one of my favorite trails in the area.  The accessibility, changes in terrain, the flowing creek below and the reward – a beautiful meadow up top.  This makes the Hunter Creek trail kind of a must do.  Depending on the rate travel up the trail you can definitely break a sweat.  And for those that are not used to “working out” at altitude I recommend at least 1 for the road – water that is.  Switch backs – uphill – over the creek with a few “rocky” spots make this trail a bit much for those with limited mobility but do realize that this trail has been conquered by most.  I say challenge yourself but please know your limits.  For those into mountain biking there is an area of the trail just for you and tours can definitely be arranged by the concierge.   90 minutes total is the average time from bottom to top and back down.  For those that want a longer experience there are other options once you reach the meadow.  I say – DO IT!

Maroon Bells – A 20 minute drive (car traffic is permitted only during certain hours of the day) or a 30 minute bus ride will get you to the most photographed set of mountains in North America.  There are 2 main trails in the area and a bit of something for everyone.  Bring a picnic lunch & spend some time on the lake.  For those wishing to spend some time here take a hike to Crater Lake and make a morning or afternoon of it.  There are horse back and hiking tours available daily.  For the more adventurous a downhill bike ride from the “Bells” to town can be arranged.  Did I mention that this is the most photographed set of mountains in North America?  You probably want to experience this.  Those that have been in town for 30 years still make an annual trip up to the “Bells”.  You won’t be disappointed.

Stanton Moore
St. Regis Aspen Concierge

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