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Cathedral Lake

A memorable adventure to an alpine lake nestled in a rugged mountain landscape.

2.67 Miles
1,998' Ascent
17' Descent
11,906' High
9,908' Low
Elevation View

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About Cathedral Lake

Like alpine lakes and rugged, mountain scenery? This hike is for you!

The hike to Cathedral Lake begins near the ghost town of Ashcroft. From the trailhead, you’ll immediately start to gain elevation as you hike through the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness accompanied by the sound of a rushing creek flowing from Cathedral Lake. During this high-altitude hike you’ll have the opportunity to witness the change in flora as the forest starts to dwindle and the boulder fields (home to many a chirping marmot) start to take over.

As you get closer to the lake, you’ll see a ‘wall’ with imposing switchbacks standing as the gateway to your alpine lake reward. Once you’ve crested the top of these steep switchbacks you’re almost there (and the trail flattens out). After cruising through some high alpine meadows you’ll arrive at Cathedral Lake, an idyllic spot for a lunch break. Hang out and take in the scenery before making your way back to your car.

Please note, dogs must be on leash.

Insider Tip: Combine this hike with a stop at the famousĀ Pine Creek Cookhouse for lunch, it’s only a 5 minute drive from the trailhead.


Note: You need a car (or a ride) to get to this more remote trailhead.

From Snowmass, drive towards Aspen and take the Castle Creek Road off-shoot from the roundabout. Follow Castle Creek Road for about 12 miles, past the ghost town of Ashcroft, and look for a trailhead sign pointing right. Follow it until it’s end at the parking lot. If you have reached Pine Creek Cookhouse you have passed the trailhead.

Map Location of Parking Lot

More about Cathedral Lake

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