The Grottos trail is near Aspen, Colorado and we hiked this short but fun trail during our fall 2020 road trip. We heard about this hike from our waiter the night before. We told him we were looking for a short, easy hike along the way of Independence Pass. He assured us this would be perfect and also he said not many people knew of this place.
The Grottos Trail is located on Independence Pass which is also Highway 82, less than 10 miles east of Aspen, Colorado. Note that this road is closed in the winter.
The Grottos Trail
It is important to note that you need to keep your eyes open for the sign, it is on the right side of the road if you are traveling east and it is easy to miss. The parking lot has ample spaces for a short trail and this was nice. This is an easy loop trail, less than a mile. There are three areas included in this trail, the Erratics, the Grottos and also the Cascades.
The hike follows an old stagecoach road at first. It is a packed dirt trail for the most part and easy. Although the maps showed the Grottos as first, the first landmark we came across was the Erratics. They are two random boulders that are sitting on a whaleback rock. A whaleback rock is a large granite rock that is mostly smooth on top.
Next we found the Grottos which are rocks that look sculpted due to erosion over many years, creating a slot canyon. This area was used by the Ute tribe years ago for protection from the elements and also for storage.
Finally we came to the cascades which are a series of small waterfalls falling from the Roaring Forks River. Although not massive, they are very pretty and accessible.
Steve and I really enjoyed the Grottos Trail in Aspen, another one of Colorado’s hidden gems. It was a perfect short hike as we were tired from hiking for so many days. We liked that there were a couple of places to scramble, although you could hike this without the scramble and still see everything.
You can also follow more of our Colorado adventures at these links:
Silver Lake, Telluride, Colorado October 2020
Odessa and Fern Lakes Aug 2020
St Mary’s Glacier Hike Aug 2017
Our Rocky Mountain National Park Trip Aug 2018
My Favorite Colorado Road Trip Aug 2016
42 thoughts on “Grottos Trail Aspen, Colorado”
What a great little trail It always helps to ask the locals for hidden gems like these, particularly if your time is limited. We did the same when we were in NZ and also down near Raid City SD. The locals are always keen to help. Thanks for sharing. Lori. Allan
I agree with you, Allan, the locals are a wealth of information and like to share their knowledge!! Thanks for reading!!
We drove past this last summer but didn’t have time to stop. Looks like a neat little hike next time we’re in the area!
Had we not asked I’m sure we would have never noticed it!!
It was definitely more crowded in the summer, so we noticed because the lot was full of cars. Sounds like fall might be a better time to visit.
That could be. We saw maybe 5 other hikers.
waterfalls, no matter the size, are one of my favorite parts of nature…
I 100% agree with you, Jim! I love waterfalls too!
Amazing land, only been to Colorado once, but these bring back a lot of memories! Took my kids there in the late 70s as a college graduating present to myself and them; love that bridge pic, Lori! 😊
Thank you, Adan! We love Colorado!
A good friend of ours, young man, just moved back there, north of Denver I think, where he grew up; seems very happy 😊
My son and his wife live in LaFayette which is North of Denver and love it!!
Very neat! He did say it’s really beautiful & not big city 😊
Sounds nice! I don’t care for the big cities
Lol, I hear that! 😊
Wow, this is really cool! Drove right past and had no idea this existed. Looks like I’ll have to make a stop next time I’m over there.
It was a fun little hike! Of course we loved scrambling along the falls!
Such a scenic trail! I especially love the lush pine trees and the coursing waters make for a powerful and dramatic shot. Thanks for bringing us virtually through the beauty of Colorado once more!
Glad you enjoyed! I am hoping to get back to Colorado early this summer or later spring! Love the area.
Looks like a pretty neat hike that showcases how the landscape has been shaped by glaciers.
Love what glaciers can do and have done to so many areas! Beautiful sculptors!
Wonderful! Thank you.
Looks beautiful. Having recently been whale watching, I can understand why it is called a whaleback rock. Looks just like the back of a humpback whale. I always enjoy reading your posts. Lots of great ideas for future road trips. Thanks!
Thanks for reading and commenting! I would love to go whale watching!! I bet that was awesome!! Lori
The Cascades! Gorgeous.
as always, gorgeous photos! thanks for sharing them!
Thank you for reading!!
Scrambling and waterfalls – win-win!
This looks so amazing! I would love togo on this trail
I love these short trails that pack a punch with beauty and fun!!
hey hey!, how is the weekend going?? 🙂 would like to tell you that I nominated you and this fantastic blog for the Outstanding blogger award 🙂 of course dont feel obliged to take part, but it would be awesome to read your answers to the questions I left you at
https://worldwidepedrol.com/2021/02/20/outstanding-blogger-award/ 🙂 see you soon then, PedroL
Thank you for this, Pedrol. I am very honored but have to decline at this time. Unfortunately I have not been partaking in the awards for various reasons but mainly because currently I started working after not working for over a year and I am having a hard time fitting everything in my schedule and am behind on my blog! Again I am very thrilled you nominated me and thank you so much!! Lori
dear Lori, thank you so much for your feedback, I totally understand and would like to wish you good luck with your work 🙂 all the best, PedroL
Thank you, Pedrol!!
It was a great little walk!