Aspen Colorado Trails

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Aspen Trail System

More than 20 miles of paved and dirt walking, hiking, biking and horseback riding trails snake through Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley, making for one of Colorado's largest trail systems.

  • Singletrack mountain biking on Government Trail along slopes of Snowmass and Buttermilk ski areas.
  • Walking, running and biking on flat, paved Rio Grande Trail 19 miles from Aspen to Emma.
  • Steep singletrack hiking on Ute Trail to overlook 700 vertical feet and Aspen Mountain summit, another 2,300 vertical feet.

Managed by the Parks Department, most Aspen trails are multi-use in the dry months, and many are groomed for Nordic skiing in the winter. They range from relatively flat, paved pathways good for a morning walk to long, technical mountain biking trails. The Aspen Trail System provides an almost seamless web connecting Aspen/Snowmass and down valley to Woody Creek and Basalt.

Though the trails are free to use and open to anyone, there are a few simple rules. Dogs are welcome but must be leashed at all times. And users should respect private property along many of the trails, which exist because of public easements. No motor vehicles are allowed on the trails.

In the winter, the Aspen/Snowmass Nordic Trail System offers grooming for both classic and skate skiing, although there are some trails that are classic-only.

Here are some highlights:

ABC trial
Bike, hike or inline skate on this paved trail from Aspen to the Aspen Business Center. Link to the Rio Grande and other trails.
Trailhead: Various trailheads along Highway 82 from Aspen to the Aspen Business Center
Distance: 2.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy

Aspen Mountain Road
Bike or hike up an unpaved road on Aspen Mountain – to the summit, if you wish
Trailhead: Various access points, including the Silver Queen gondola in downtown Aspen
Distance: 4.9 miles
Difficulty: Hard

East of Aspen Trail
Bike or hike on this unpaved trail along the Roaring Fork River southeast of Aspen with wildlife viewing area along the way at the North Star Nature Preserve
Trailhead: Various access points along Highway 82 east of Aspen and the North Star Nature Preserve
Distance: 3.1 miles
Difficulty: Easy

Government Trail
Popular with mountain bikers, but also open to hikers, this technical singletrack trail links the lower slopes of Snowmass and Buttermilk ski areas
Trailhead: west of the Aspen Recreation Center or in Snowmass Village
Distance: 8 miles
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

Owl Creek Trail
Bike, hike or inline skate through forests and meadows on a paved trail from Aspen to Snowmass Village.
Trailhead: Connect from the ABC Trail or park at Buttermilk Ski Area and follow Owl Creek Road to trail
Distance: 4.4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate

Rio Grande Trail
One of the most popular trails in the area. Bike, hike or inline skate on this flat trail with paved and unpaved sections from Aspen to Emma.
Trailhead: Various access points from Rio Grande Park in downtown Aspen to Cemetery Lane to Woody Creek to Emma
Distance: 19 miles
Difficulty: Easy

Smuggler Mountain Road
Popular with both mountain bikers and hikers, the unpaved road winds its way up Smuggler Mountain, providing views of the Roaring Fork Valley and access to singletrack trails.
Distance: 1.5 miles
Trailhead: Silverload Drive and Park Circle
Difficulty: Moderate

Sunnyside Trail
Singletrack mountain bike or hike on the southern slopes of Red Mountain through aspen groves and wildflowers.
Trailhead: Typically a loop starting with the Hunter Creek trail system and ending near Henry Stein Park off Cemetery Lane.
Distance: 7.1 miles
Difficulty: Moderate

Ute Trail
Hike up singletrack switchbacks to an overlook 700 vertical feet up Aspen Mountain with option to continue to the summit, another 2,300 vertical feet.
Trailhead: Ute Avenue in east Aspen
Distance: 0.9 miles to overlook
Difficulty: Hard