American Lake – Aspen
Trail: American Lake
Length: 6 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,020
Highest Point: 11,370
Where: Maroon Bells Wilderness
Closest Town: Aspen
Hiking Info: All Trails, Hiking Project
We recently spent a fabulous weekend with one of my best friends and her husband in the Snowmass/Aspen area. A friend sent me a list of recommended hikes but we decided that American Lake was the perfect length and difficulty level for our weekend hike – it really did not disappoint. After the hike, we cleaned up and went into Aspen for drink and dinner – more details at the end of the post!
Hike & Picnic at American Lake
This hike is strenuous – 2,000 feet over 3 miles… means a pretty steady elevation gain, it wasn’t easy, but so worth it. We took our time on the way up stopping fairly frequently, about halfway up the trail evens out with a few final pushes at the end. If you’re just getting acclimated I don’t recommend this hike, wait a few days to get comfortable then pack a lunch and enjoy the day there!
The first half of the hike is through gorgeous Aspen groves. I probably said 100 times that it would be absolutely stunning in the Fall. The second half is almost entirely wooded till the end where you have to cross a boulder field. The trail gets narrow but very passable, just pay attention. Four horses were ahead of us and I am not sure how they did it. Once you pass the boulder field you are almost to the lake.
Quick Tips: American Lake
- We got to the trailhead late like ~10:30 am on Saturday and the parking lot was full, we parked off the road
- It took us about 2 1/2 going up and an hour going down
- We were kinda doing a little shuffle/run down because of the grade but also we were dying to get back and get a beer! I highly suggest real hiking boots for this one (get all my hiking essentials here)
- I also highly suggest bringing a snack or lunch, after the climb you will want to chill out lol
- Pack a swimsuit – the water is chilly but feels good after a hike! See what all I have in my bag here.
Where to Eat & Drink in Aspen
I have only been to Aspen a few times and this was the first time in about five years so only a few recommendations but we all loved both of these spots! More details on my look here.
Drinks – Hotel Jerome – The famous hotel has an amazing patio with tables and lounges perfect for social distancing. Expect to pay Aspen prices with $15+ cocktails.
Dinner – Meat & Cheese – so many of yall recommended Meat & Cheese and it was so damn good! We of course got a cheese board to share then split some of the other boards too. Our waitress was so funny, we asked for her recommendation and she said the Chicken & Pork. She was like “You know Costco Rotisserie Chicken? It’s like that but even better” LOL! We had honestly had a full convo about how much we love Costco chicken earlier that day. In my opinion, the pork lettuce wraps really stole the show, the sauces – WOW so so good I wish I could bottle them! Highly recommended Meat & Cheese!