Length 5.56 km (3.45 miles), terrain is fairly flat (50 meter gain), but elevation is high: 2500 meters (8000 feet)!
For more running routes, see Route List
Warning: Make sure that you have had time to acclimatize yourself at this altitude before attempting a run. There is 25% less air at Aspen's altitude, and you will definitely feel it!
If you are visiting beautiful Aspen, there is one running/biking/walking trail that is by far the most popular with everyone: the Rio Grande Trail. The trail follows the old roadbed of the Rio Grande Railroad, and the trail heads northwest from Aspen all the way to Glenwood Springs, 40 miles away. There are no steep sections on this trail, so it is one of the few flat Aspen trails that you will find.
This route will only follow the short 2-mile section of the Rio Grande within Aspen, and return then to the start by running directly through town.
The route starts in the northwest corner of Aspen, on N 8th Street at Meadows Road, on the west end of town. The Meadowlands Trail runs northwards here, parallel to Meadows Road. Head north on Meadowlands Trail, which will soon dead-end into the Rio Grande Trail.
|Start of run at Meadowlands Trailhead|
|Along Castle Creek|
|A mansion along the Rio Grande Trail|
Soon you will cross the bridge over the Roaring Fork River and come to the Rio Grande trail, where you turn right.
|The Rio Grande Trail in Aspen|
There is plenty of traffic here: lots of bicycles, runners, walkers and dog-walkers, so you'll have to share the road!
|Flowers along the trail|
After 2.3 km, you'll run over a wooden bridge spanning Hunter Creek, which plunges into Roaring Fork from the left side, and you'll pass a creekside trail to the left. The Hunter Creek Trail is a great hiking trail, but the footing is so stony that I don't recommend it for running. But make sure you take a hike along that wonderful trail while you're in town!
|Hunter Creek bridge|
You will now enter a series of little parks lining the Roaring Fork.
After going by the art museum, you'll cross an old iron bridge. Turn left immediately past the bridge, and continue along the river. This is the John Denver Sanctuary, a rock garden with his song lyrics inscribed on some of the larger rocks.
|In the John Denver Sanctuary|
This is the turnaround point for our run. You could just run back the same way that you came, or see a bit more of town by following the way described here.
|Entering Herron Park|
|Run straight up that driveway on the other side of Mill Street!|
|In the Hallam Street neighborhood|
|A cross-stream in Aspen|