Aspen—and the entire Roaring Fork Valley—is the epitome of a hiker’s paradise with a system of trails for all abilities. Whether it’s the multi-night trek across the Four Pass Loop for experts or a paved path for beginners, the scenery through fields of wildflowers, across rushing streams, or deep into a dense forest will stay with you forever.
While you can find endless options for day hikes and backpacking trips surrounding Aspen, the quintessential quick locals hike is Smuggler Mountain, which is usually done during lunch breaks. But since you have all day on vacation, head down the backside after posing for an obligatory Observation Deck photo and pick up the Hunter Creek Trail, which ends just down the street from where you started. The Ute Trail is another in town favorite, but takes a little more stamina to master the steep switchbacks. If you’re in great shape, take it all the way to the top of Ajax (what locals call Aspen Mountain) for lunch al fresco. And don’t worry…you can ride the gondola down for free. Visit Aspen Trail Finder, one of our favorite local sites, for an in-depth database of all area hiking trails. Our Hiking Guide listings can assist you if you would rather go with a guide than go it alone.