Starting June the 18th the free guided hikes up Snowmass and Aspen Mountain are back. The naturalists from the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) in partnership with the US Forest Service are offering daily hikes to some of the area's most scenic spots. Taking a hike with a knowledgeable guide is the best way to enjoy the mountain and learn more about its beauty and how to preserve it.
Here is a list of the free hikes and special programs offered by ACES this summer:
Aspen Mountain Walk - The Mountain Walk is offered daily on the hour from 11AM to 3PM. It allowes visitors to explore the top of Aspen Mountain on Richmond Ridge, starting at elevation of 11,200 feet and reaching 11,300 feet at the highest point. It is an easy hike that keeps a leisurely pace and is approximately 1 mile long. Wildflowers, wildlife, and mining history are just a few of the topics that will be shared as the walk winds up through the forest to a 360-degree viewpoint.
Maroon Bells Crater Lake Hike - This classic Aspen hike is offered twice a day at 10:15AM and 1:15PM.Starting at the Maroon Bells Information Center it goes to Crater Lake winding through beautiful aspen groves and alpine landscapes. On this guided tour ACES Naturalists will share local ecology, natural history, and more as hikers make their way to Crater Lake, right at the base of the towering 14,000 foot peaks of the iconic Maroon Bells. It is a 2 hour one-way tour(1.8 miles),rated as a moderate at times strenuous hike. 9 person tour maximum, first come first served.
Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Walk - This easy but scenic walk around the iconic Maroon Lake is offered daily at 10:15AM and 1:15PM. This short guided tour meanders along the shore of Maroon Lake with breathtaking views of the Maroon Bells and surrounding mountains. ACES Naturalists will share information about geology, local ecology, and more. It is a 45 minute tour, hikers meet outside of the Maroon Bells Information Center near the bus drop off.
Snowmass Ice Age Discovery Hike - Available daily at 1PM this ACES guided tour tells the story of Snowmass’ incredible Ice Age Discovery Dig. Along the hike, which takes place adjacent to the site of the incredible fossil discovery, Naturalists share photos, props, and stories from the dig. The tour takes 2 hours round-trip and is approximately 3.5 miles long. The terrain is rated as moderate hiking and the groups keep leisurely pace.
Snowmass Wildflower Hike - Offered daily at 10AM the Wildflower tour invites visitors to explore the gentle, kid-friendly Snowmass Nature Trail in the company of the knowledgeable ACES Naturalist. Hikers learn about the local ecology and the incredible diversity of wildflowers as the tour winds in and out of lush alpine meadows and aspen forests. Groups meet outside of the Snowmass Ice Age Discovery Center in the Snowmass Village Mall.
Here is a short film introducing Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) and its mission.