Locals may call it off-season, but during May and October, hiking trails in Aspen are uncrowded and room rates are affordable. Unlike other resorts, Aspen is a thriving town year-round. I prefer being in Aspen during these off-season months because it provides a more authentic feel. You end up seeing the same people on the hikes in Aspen that are close to town. Being in a town that is so centered around tourism has its pros and cons. I found that Aspen is a rare exception in that the town is great all year long.

Hikes in Aspen off Independence Pass

If the trails around downtown Aspen were not enough for you, take a drive up Independence Pass to discover more hiking trails. Note that Independence Pass may be closed in May due to snow or avalanche danger.

weller lake aspen colorado
Weller Lake, Aspen CO

We found hiking bliss while exploring some of the trails off of Independence Pass this last season (2022). Hiking through forests on tacky, chocolate-brown dirt that magically opens up to a pristine lake is something that trail runners dream of. In Aspen, this is just another Tuesday.

klubb banner hike

Weller Lake Hike

A short drive from downtown Aspen, the Weller Lake Hike is the perfect afternoon adventure. There is ample parking in the designated parking lot by the road making it an easy spot to meet friends. If you are feeling adventurous, hike in an inflatable SUP board and paddle the lake as well.

Hikes in Aspen Close to Town

Stein Park Trail

While in Aspen, it is easy to get caught up in the amazing restaurant scene. And while a meal at Steak House No. 316 is one of the greatest of all time, there are many other ways to experience dining in Aspen. One of our favorites is a lake-side picnic at Stein Park after a fun 4.8-mile out-and-back easy hike.

The Stein Park Trail is right in town and has outlets to the Rio Grande Trail making it easy to extend the length of your run. The quiet park is a hidden gem within the town. It is the perfect spot to enjoy a sandwich from JUS (see below).

Hunter Creek Trail

One of our personal favorites is the Hunter Creek Trail. This trail is perfect for a quick afternoon hike or a full-day marathon adventure. The endless routes that come from Hunter Creek Trail make this a “must-hike” when in Aspen. The easiest trailhead to find is just a half mile in on the Rio Grande Trail, starting at Clarks Market.

Hunter Creek Trail, Aspen, CO

Best Healthy Restaurants in Aspen

After a long run in Aspen, there are only two places that I want to go eat at; JUS Aspen or Spring Cafe Aspen. These are also my top two featured spots in “The Best Healthy Food Options in Aspen“. The affordable price, good service, and healthy meals are why I live solely off these two restaurants whenever I am in Aspen.

jus aspen
Acai Bowl + Oat Milk Latte (JUS Aspen)

Running Routes in Aspen, CO

Aspen Ski Company makes up four resorts in the Roaring Fork Valley; Aspen Mountain (Ajax Mountain), Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass. These resorts are all connected by miles of running trails in the summer months and cross-country ski trails in the winter.

The Rio Grande Trail is the premier Aspen running trail that goes for over 42 miles from Downtown Aspen to Glenwood Springs. The Rio Grande trail is the perfect warm-up for when you arrive and are adjusting to the 8,000′ elevation. Once acclimated, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of hiking trails that you can take off of the Rio Grande trail.

From Rio Grande Trail you can access the popular Hunter Creek Trail. If you want a run/hike workout, take a 4 mile jog to the start of the Sunnyside Trail. Check out the video below of the best hikes in Aspen; Sunnyside Trail.

Top Running Trail in Aspen

Be sure to check out The 5 Best Beginner Trail Runs in Aspen guide as well, which highlights some of our other favorites.

About Aspen Colorado

Aspen is a charming mountain town located in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Known for its stunning natural beauty and world-class skiing, Aspen has become a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. But beyond its picturesque scenery and luxurious ski resorts, lies a rich history that dates back to the late nineteenth century.

History of Aspen CO

Founded in 1879 as a mining camp during the Colorado Silver Boom, the town was named after the abundance of aspen trees that grow in the area. With the discovery of silver deposits, Aspen quickly boomed into a thriving mining town. It became one of the most prosperous cities in Colorado and was even nicknamed “the richest square mile on earth”.

klubb banner hike

However, the mining industry eventually declined and Aspen faced economic hardship. In the 1940s, a group of investors saw potential in turning Aspen into a ski resort destination. They built the first ski lift in 1946 and thus began the transformation of Aspen into a world-renowned skiing destination.

Today, Aspen continues to attract visitors for its beautiful scenery, outdoor activities, and rich history. The town has preserved many of its historic buildings, giving visitors a glimpse into its past.

Getting to Aspen CO

Landing at Aspen Airport (ASE) is a crapshoot. The small airport is ranked as one of the most difficult runways for pilots to land on. Commercial airlines can only fly one type of airplane to ASE because of its difficult location and short runway. Once you are at the airport, the bus is the best way to get to town. When you are in town, there is no need for a car.