Looking to kick off your day with an awe-inspiring sunrise hike? You came to the right place. Aspen has several scenic hiking trails that are perfect for an early-morning outing. From easy hikes for the entire family to more challenging trails, there’s something for everyone. Here are the best sunrise hikes in Aspen.
Start your day on Aspen’s most popular hiking trail. Follow Smuggler Mountain Road for 1.2 miles to the top of the mountain for breathtaking views of town, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Independence Pass. There is a lookout deck at the top that’s a popular photo spot and a perfect place to catch the sunrise. After catching the view, continue to the Smuggler Open Space or head down to Hunter Creek Valley and connect to Hunter Creek Trail.
Smuggler Mountain Road is a dirt trail. The trail is rated moderate and is popular with mountain bikers, joggers and hikers with dogs.
Just like the name implies, this hike is one of the best early in the morning. Follow the trail up switchbacks to the edge of Red Mountain and the views just get better and better the higher you go. At the top, take in majestic views of town, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass. It’s one of the best panoramic mountain views in the valley and a must for anyone who loves to see the sun come up.
The moderate hike is a smoother path, so you won’t need big hiking boots and a ton of gear. You’ll get a full dose of Vitamin D with all the sun, so don’t forget a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and ample water. The trailhead is near Slaughterhouse Bridge on Cemetery Lane on the west side of town.
Ute Trail is only a short walk from downtown Aspen and rewards hikers with one of the most iconic views around. The steep, difficult-rated trail has lots of challenging switchbacks. Along the way, a one-of-a-kind rock outcropping presents wonderful views of town and a memorable sunrise photo opportunity. Hikes who want to test their mettle can continue to the top of Aspen Mountain and ride the Silver Queen Gondola back to town.
The trailhead is on the east end of town. From Original Street, turn left onto Ute Avenue and follow the signs to the public parking area.
Experience serene Snowmass Village in the early hours with a scenic hike along Rim Trail. The dirt trail is more than seven miles long and traverses the north and west rims of Snowmass Village. At the high point of the trail, there is a giant marble Yin Yang platform with an unforgettable sunrise view. The serene location offers panoramic mountain views along with plenty of nature and wildlife.
Access the trailhead by taking Brush Creek Road to Divine Road. There is a free parking area along Divine Road right next to the trailhead.
Hunter Creek Trail
The moderate-rated Hunter Creek Trail is a picture-perfect hike in the early morning. The shaded trail follows Hunter Creek and has several bridges and a few private areas to see the sunrise glisten as it peeks through the trees. The trail is on the north side of town and leads to the Hunter Creek Valley, an open meadow with stunning nature and wildlife.