The Grottos Hiking Trails

White River National Forest

Sawatch Range + Elk Mountains, Colorado

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The Grottos Hiking Trails


  • The Grottos parking area is just past Weller Campground on the right- The Grottos Hiking Trails
  • The path first crosses a bridge over the Roaring Fork River- The Grottos Hiking Trails
  • Downstream from the bridge, the river is temporarily calm- The Grottos Hiking Trails
  • The trail climbs a little before reaching the ice caves- The Grottos Hiking Trails
  • The aspens are beginning to turn color in late September- The Grottos Hiking Trails
  • The ice caves are deeply-eroded cracks in the rock- The Grottos Hiking Trails
  • The ice caves sometimes have ice in them into the summer- The Grottos Hiking Trails
  • The top of the trail- The Grottos Hiking Trails
  • Many beautiful cascades tumble down the gorge- The Grottos Hiking Trails
  • The rocks have been shaped by water- The Grottos Hiking Trails
  • Yellow aspen trees- The Grottos Hiking Trails
  • The Devil's Punchbowl is just downstream from The Grottos- The Grottos Hiking Trails
  • Independence Pass road is narrow in spots, even below The Grottos- The Grottos Hiking Trails
Overview + Weather
Fun, accessible area. Beautiful creek. Interesting "ice caves."
Short hiking trails.
Sawatch Range + Elk Mountains, CO
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
40.00 ft (12.19 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
1.00 mi (1.61 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
9,570.00 ft (2,916.94 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

One of the most popular destinations for outstanding hikes in the Aspen area, The Grottos is a wonderful playground for families and water lovers as well. The Grottos offers easy hiking for all ages, lots of picturesque waterfalls and cascades, marvelous carved rock formations, deep fissured ice caves (which may or may not have any ice depending on the season), and it is all within a short drive from Aspen.

This is an area where the crystal clear Roaring Fork River drops steeply through a boulder field and heavily eroded rock, forming green pools among the aspens. There is a network of trails, formal and social, that allows easy exploration of the small area. The official loop trail is about 0.6 miles, but most people will do more than that.

The infamous Independence Pass is just up the steep road to the east, and many trailheads are in the area for a variety of longer hiking adventures (Linkins Lake, Independence Lake, Lost Man Lake to name a few). Devil's Punchbowl is a very popular swimming hole during the summer months, and Weller Campground and Difficult Campground are both nearby.

If you are moving from The Grottos over Independence Pass, note that vehicles over 35 feet are not allowed.


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(20 within a 30 mile radius)

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(34 within a 30 mile radius)

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