After spending the day in Great Sand Dunes National Park we starting make the 3 1/2 hour drive to Aspen. On the way we were fortunate to go through Independence Pass, a rather scenic drive full of gorgeous mountain ranges and winding roads. Many times we would find a place to pull over and take in the breathtaking scenery that we were being surrounded by in the Rocky mountains.
We got so lost in the moment that hours later we noticed a storm coming in and might we add… quickly! However, we decided to visit the Grottos Trail on our way down because we had heard that there was an area with amazing ice caves. Within 15 minutes of starting the hike on the Grottos Trail the storm we had seen previously caught up with us and it started pouring (go figure)! Determined to still visit the ice caves we kept moving forward only to find out, to our disappointment, the ice caves were completely flooded within moments of the rain starting. We both counted our blessings that we weren’t inside the caves before it had started raining or we may have been in a rather grim situation with flash flooding. We decided to then turn around and head back to the trailhead.
Grottos Trail Facts
Length: 1.2 Mile Loop
Elevation Change: 78 ft
That evening we went to Creperie du Village, a French restaurant that serves fondue, crepes, and many other French delicacies. We enjoyed the unique ambience and the beautifully displayed and deliciously prepared cuisine.
Hours: 11:00am-11:00pm | Menu
After a night of restful sleep at The Westin Snowmass Village we woke up at 5am to visit the Maroon Bells. We sat at Maroon Lake for hours watching the sunrise and taking in the beauty that surrounded us.
There are two trails nearby that we would recommend:
Maroon Snowmass Trail
Length: 18.3 Mile Loop
Elevation Change: 3,257 ft
For more information on the Maroon Snowmass Trail trail visit here.
-If you arrive before 8am you should be able to drive straight to the parking lot by the trailhead ($10 for parking). We suggest getting there no later than 7am.
-If you arrive after 7am or 8am you might have to park at the Aspen Highlands, and take the shuttle which operates from 8am-5pm.