American Lake Trail in Aspen Colorado

The American Lake Trail in Aspen Colorado was highly recommended due to its spectacular scenery, golden Aspen trees and the stunning mountain lake. We were also warned it’s a leg burner. This should be fun!

American Lake Trail
Aspen, Colorado

A great hike with stunning scenery in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness near Aspen, Colorado. The initial 1.5 miles of switchbacks will make you work for it but it is well worth the effort.

Some highlights:
– Rocky Mountain views
– the smell of the pines
– friendly birds
– hike through a scree field
– two trails in one; the first half of the hike takes you through towering golden Aspens and the second half through a green forest of pines until you reach the lake

Facts To Remember


Difficulty: Strenuous
Distance: 6.5 miles round trip / 4 to 5 hours
Elevation Gain: 2020 feet
Starting Elevation: 9,400 feet
When To Hike: Summer, Fall
Permits: No
Pets Allowed: Yes on leash
Starting Location: From the Aspen roundabout, drive nearly 10 miles on Castle Creek Road (CR 15) then turn right into the parking area when you see the Trailhead sign
Time of Year: October, 2019

Hiking American Lake Trail

We arrived late morning and fortunately got the last spot in the parking area. A few people arrived after us and parked just off Castle Creek Road. We were pleasantly surprised that the trail wasn’t crowded after seeing the number of cars. Possibly an important fact, there are no toilets on this trail.

The Trailhead

We are very excited about this hike based on all the recommendation and can’t wait to get started. Check out this useful map.

The Hike Begins

Aspens in the First Half of the Hike

The initial trail is fairly steep with lots of switchbacks. The trail is well maintained but gains elevation constantly. The scenery is fantastic and our legs are burning! We are lucky the colors are at the peak.

Pines in the Second Half of the Hike

American Lake

Friendly Birds

Starting the Hike Down

We felt the hike down was possibly more scenic than the hike up. Perhaps due to looking down onto the scenery.

Colorful Aspens

Our Thoughts

We now know why this is a “highly recommended” trail – it is perfect! Of course hiking during the Aspens peak color change may have biased us. We absolutely loved this hike! Everything from the Rocky Mountain views, forest green pines and scents, golden Aspens, birds and lake were fantastic.

There are so many trails in the Aspen area and we will now be recommending the American Lake Trail.

Suggestions and Tips

Are you Considering This Hike?

You should be physically fit – this hike is steep and some narrow sections.
Check the weather for rain or bad weather and dress accordingly.

Hike Recommendations

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