Difficult Campground is the closest camping to Aspen, just 6 miles from downtown, and it is an excellent place to enjoy all aspects of one of Colorado's most well-known mountain communities. To most people, just the mention of Aspen brings up images of jet-setters in fur-lined ski outfits, four-star restaurants and $20 million homes with a view of the ski slopes. Aspen is all that, but it is also stunning fall colors, high-mountain lakes, fly-fishing in gold medal waters, more than 110 hiking trails, and camping in the midst of it all; Difficult Campground gives you access to all of the above without a $20 million mortgage!
A typical old forest service campground, Difficult Campground has its challenges. The roads are narrow, the sites are in even worse condition than most forest service campgrounds, and amenities are minimal. There are vault toilets and drinking water spigots scattered among the sites, and there are the typical picnic tables and fire rings. There is very limited to no cell service in the campground. The setting is at an elevation of 8,180 feet among the aspen and pine trees in the Roaring Fork River Valley south of Aspen on the highway to Independence Pass. In a good fall color year, the views of blazing yellow trees are stunning. Sites are mostly well-isolated and private, though finding one that is close to level is...well...difficult. Reservations are possible on all sites and highly-recommended during the summer and on weekends the rest of the season. Small and medium RVs up to 35 feet can find sites to fit, and tent campers will find lots of sites to choose from.
The list of things to do nearby is endless. Difficult Creek Trail originates in the adjacent day use area. There is a flat dirt bike trail, the East of Aspen Trail, leading from the campground entrance into town that is about 3.5 miles each way and which includes with many beautiful stops. Independence Pass, The Grottos, and several great hiking trails are not far to the south and east. The Maroon Bells are a 45-minute drive, and the vast outdoor options of the Hunter Fryingpan, Collegiate Peaks, and Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Areas are easily accessible. Difficult Campground is a great choice for a base camp to explore Aspen and all of these phenomenal aspects of Colorado.