Jon Brown and Jari Kirkland trail running through the mountains in Gunnison National Forest, Colorado.
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A couple trail running in Gunnison National Forest, Colorado; Photograph by J.C. Leacock, Aurora
Jon Brown and Jari Kirkland trail running through the mountains in Gunnison National Forest, Colorado.

Colorado: Hike High

Hike from Crested Butte to Aspen.

What Is It? Hike a butt-busting 11 miles from the tiny mountain hamlet of Crested Butte, over West Maroon Pass to the extravagant ski town of Aspen. From the Butte, you’ll climb 2,200 feet through patches of aspen and spruce that dapple a narrow, grassy valley. Even in summer, you’ll likely encounter persistent snowfields near the pass. Immense views of the vast mountains, including the iconic Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak, reward those who persevere to reach 12,500 feet. From here, the trail begins its rocky, 3,000-foot descent through a soulful, glacial-carved valley surrounded by towering peaks.

Why Do It? Breathtaking panoramas, fields of head-high wildflowers, critters galore, and a great workout—all capped off with a delicious meal and cozy bed. Bonus: In your downtime, you can tour two of Colorado’s coolest mountain towns. Ride the famed single-track of Crested Butte, hike up Pearl Pass, and photograph the iconic and renowned Maroon Bells outside of Aspen.

Make It Happen: Do it yourself with a good map and a shuttle. Or go guided with Crested Butte Mountain Guides. Reward yourself with a luxurious stay before and after your big hike at the Lodge at Mountaineer Square, a property with lavish suites and five-star service located just minutes from hiking and biking in the heart of the Crested Butte Mountain Resort.

What’s your favorite summer weekend adventure in Colorado?

50 Best Summer Weekend Adventures: Great adventures are all around us—and summer is the ideal time to seek them. To give you some ideas and inspiration, every weekday we will be sharing a different U.S. summer weekend adventure, state-by-state from A to Z. We invite you to share your favorite summer weekend adventures in the comments section below when your favorite state is featured. Report back after the weekend to tell us about the outdoor adventures you had.