The views reveal themselves gradually as you ascend the switchbacking Rim Trail. Then, upon reaching the marble yin-yang platform at Spiral Point, the Elk Mountains spread themselves in front of you in all their glory. Nearly 360-degree views include Mount Daly with its distinct diagonal stripe, the pointed cap of 14,137-foot Capitol Peak, and a panorama of Snowmass Ski Area. Click here for more information about the Rim Trail.
There’s nothing more iconic to Aspen Snowmass than the Maroon Bells — and a unique perspective on them can be found at the top of the Elk Camp chairlift. Presiding over the upper end of a glacier-carved valley like royalty, the twin 14,000-foot peaks top off a panoramic alpine view that also includes jagged summits, steep cirques and Snowmass’ rugged Hanging Valley.
The lookout point just one mile into the flat, easy Ditch Trail offers major rewards for minor effort. Looking into the magical Snowmass Creek Valley you’ll see a mosaic of aspen and evergreen trees dominated by majestic Mount Daly. It’s like you’ve discovered a natural fairy tale kingdom that begs further exploration. Click here for more information about the Ditch Trail.
The Ice Age
While it’s fun to point out landmarks from a mountaintop, the view from Snowmass’ Sam’s Knob includes perhaps the most interesting story of all. Ringed by aspen trees and perched on a ridgeline, the nearly perfectly round lake below you is Ziegler Reservoir. Ziegler is the repository for thousands of perfectly preserved fossils of Ice Age animals, including mastodons and ancient camels, accidentally discovered by a bulldozer operator in 2010. Click here to learn more.
Between Snowmass and Aspen, a ridge crisscrossed with trails rises from sage- and scrub oakcovered foothills, offering endless views in all directions. From the imposing peaks in the Elk Mountain Range, to the gentler terrain rolling down toward the lower elevations of Basalt and Carbondale, to the bucolic hayfields of the Owl Creek Valley and the flank of Aspen Mountain behind it, it’s a beautifully complete vista of the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond.