It’s summertime in Aspen and Laura and Nicole’s favorite time to get out and explore the surrounding mountains.
There are many amazing hikes and places to discover. Here are three hikes Capricho’s founders make sure to do every summer.
Cathedral Lake is a 5.6 mile out and back hike. This is a relatively challenging hike that begins with gradual switchbacks through aspen groves up the Pine Creek Valley. The hike includes beautiful traverses through pine forests, meadows, and boulder fields. After about 2 hours of walking and a final steep climb, the hike culminates in a breathtaking view of crystal-clear Cathedral Lake, surrounded by awe-inspiring mountains. A Sunday morning by the lake is truly a spiritual experience.
Laura and Nicole love to end this hike with a celebratory lunch at Pine Creek Cookhouse. If you have never been to the Cookhouse you must go. Nestled at the end of the Castle Creek Valley, the restaurant’s views are awe-inspiring, and the food is delicious.
Capitol Lake (also known as Capitol Creek Trail) is Laura’s favorite summer hike. The 12.8-mile hike is satisfyingly long, not too strenuous, and beautiful. The hike ascends through a valley of aspen groves and spruce forests interspersed with meadows filled with spectacular wildflowers. And to make it more interesting, hikers occasionally share the trail with cows, horses, and other four-legged friends. Just when you think you have had enough you arrive at the lake, a jewel beneath the daunting west face of Capitol Peak, one of the classic 14ers in Colorado.
Laura and Mike always pack a picnic with a bottle of rose to enjoy while Mike fishes and Laura reads. Meat and Cheese Restaurant can help prepare the perfect alpine picnic for the day.
The hike of all hikes. A summer tradition for the Tarumianz family. It takes some planning and a degree in logistics but it’s worth it. While its approximately a 100-mile drive between Aspen and Crested Butte, the hike between the two mountain towns is only about 11-miles. The hike begins at the iconic Maroon Bells, climbing 3,000 feet and seven miles to West Maroon Pass and descending four miles toward Crested Butte. The wildflowers are truly stunning and the views from the top of the pass will have you singing The Hills Are Alive from Sound of Music. The trail ends at Schofield Park, 14 miles from Crested Butte. Make sure you arrange to have a car pick you up at the end of the hike. Spend the night in Crested Butte, and either hike, shuttle or drive back to Aspen the following day. There are different options and services to assist you when planning this hike.
Someone from Nicole’s group will drive a car to Crested Butte with their overnight bags (Clarita duffels of course) and extra gear. They stay the night in the laid-back mountain town, try a new restaurant or go to an old favorite and spend the next day hiking and mountain biking Crested Butte’s famous trails. This summer they put bikes and paddle boards on the car, paddled Lost Lake on the way out of town and stopped in Redstone for Detroit style pizza at Propaganda Pie. Highly recommended.
XX Laura and Nicole