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Backpacking: Colorado > White River National Forest > Aspen Ranger District

Quick Facts

Sunnyside Trail

Average Time: 8 - 9 Hours one way
Beginning Elevation: 7,800 Feet (2431.4 Meters)
Difficulty: Difficult
Elevation Gain: 2,200 Feet (685.8 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 7,850 Feet (2447.0 Meters)
High Point: 9,720 Feet (3029.9 Meters)
Length: 10 Miles (16.67 Kilometers) one way
Pets: Yes - Keep dogs under control
Recommended Season: Spring to Fall
Trail Number: 1987
Usage: Moderate
USGS Maps: Aspen
Vehicle Accessibility: Passenger Vehicle

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Mt. Hayden as seen looking south from Sunnyside Overlook.
Copyright: - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Mt. Hayden as seen looking south from Sunnyside Overlook.
This trail offers a challenging day hike or backpack trip and access into Hunter Creek, Lenado and Van Horn Park. On warm days, be prepared for little shade for the first several miles. This is a popular trail with both mountain bikers and hikers. Due to the steep climb up the face of Red Mountain, mountain bikers normally start from the Four Corners area, near the Hunter Creek end of the trail, and finish at the Cemetery Lane/McLain Flats Rd. trailhead. The trail is narrow and not recommended for horse use. There are beautiful aspen groves and good views of Aspen and the surrounding mountains.

From the Cemetery Lane/McLain Flats Rd. trailhead, the trail starts climbing up Red Mountain. There are great views of the surrounding peaks. The trail continues to switchback along the side of the mountain through shrub oak. In about two miles, the trail enters the aspen groves. Stay on the main trail through the aspen, there are several faded spurs along the way. The trail follows along the ridge entering areas of spruce and coming out on an old road. Follow the road to a sign marking the Sunnyside Trail off to the right. The trail becomes a single track again and descends toward Hunter Creek. The Sunnyside Trail ends at the intersection with a 4 WD road (the left fork on the road goes to Van Horn Park), but you can pick up the single track Hunter Creek Trail on the other side, which descends into Hunter Valley.

At the trail junction at the bottom in the Hunter Valley, turn right and continue for about 1/8 mile to the Tenth Mountain Bridge. Cross the bridge and head right, following the single track through the meadow. The trail descends steeply through the trees and crosses Benedict Bridge. Take an immediate left just after the bridge. The trail follows Hunter Creek crossing over the creek several times. The last section is mostly boardwalk and ascends steps ending behind the Hunter Creek Condominiums in Aspen. If you haven't done a car shuttle you can walk into town and catch the Cemetery Lane bus back toward the trailhead.

Directions from Aspen: There are (2) options for access to Sunnyside Trail. The first is from Cemetery Lane and the second from Hunter Creek. These directions are from Cemetery Lane, please follow them in reverse for access from Hunter Creek. Traveling west from Aspen 1/4 mile on Highway 82, turn right at the first light out of town onto Cemetery Lane. Continue 1-1/2 miles to the trailhead on the right.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: June through September (NOTE: Snow may obstruct the trail at high elevations in Early June and Late September.) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Winter Conditions. Beware of avalanche danger and hypothermia. Updated: 2002-12-23 14:38:00.0

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking
ICON Hiking & Walking Sunnyside Trail
ICON Horseback Riding The trail is narrow and not recommended for horse use.
ICON Mountain Biking Sunnyside Trail

More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

Aspen Ranger District, 806 W. Hallam , Aspen, CO, 81611, Phone: 970-925-3445


Local Lodging

Stay at the Aspen Square Hotel
Stay at the Aspen Square Hotel

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