CATHEDRAL LAKE TRAIL #1984
Length: 2.8 miles one-way (4.5 km one-way)
Trail Use: Heavy
Beginning Elevation: 9,880 feet (3011 m)
Ending Elevation: 11,866 feet (3617 m)
USGS Map(s): Hayden Peak
PERMIT INFORMATION: In order to provide quality recreation experiences and to protect the wilderness lands the Forest Service must gather data regarding visitor use and travel patterns. Each party overnighting in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is required to self-register at the Trailhead and to carry a copy of the registration with them during their visit. There is no fee charged and no limit to the number of permits issued.
DAY/BACKPACKING OVERVIEW: An extremely popular and difficult day hike which follows the Pine Creek canyon, ascending through forest, alpine meadows and scree fields to a high mountain lake. The scenic views of the peaks of the Elk Mountain Range are spectacular. Backpackers planning to stay overnight for fishing or an early morning hike to Electric Pass will find camping available below the lake area. Water on this trail is very limited and exposure to the sun is high. For most of the trail, Pine Creek is in a deep canyon.
ACCESS: Drive 1/2 mile west of Aspen on Highway 82 to the roundabout. Go around the roundabout and turn right onto Castle Creek Road. Drive 12.2 miles and turn right (shortly after passing Ashcroft) onto a gravel road, driving 1/2 mile to the trailhead.
NARRATIVE: The trail climbs for 3/4 of a mile through an aspen forest before it enters the Maroon-Snowmass Wilderness, then begins a steeper ascent, following Pine Creek cascading through the canyon just off the trail. It levels briefly at the top of the canyon then begins another ascent through spruce forests and rockslides, deadending at a series of short, very steep switchbacks. The lake is 15 minutes from the top of the switchbacks. The trail will fork several times. Take the left forks, the right ones go to Electric Pass. The trail crosses Pine Creek on a new bridge. The lake lies just beyond the meadow on the other side of the creek.
ETHICS/REGULATIONS: Cathedral Lake is within the Maroon Bell-Snowmass Wilderness, please educate yourself about Wilderness Ethics and the following rules:
* DOGS MUST BE LEASHED out of consideration for both other people and wildlife.
* Limit group sizes to 10 people and 15 stock/pack animals.
* SANITATION - bury human waste 100 feet from water and 6 inches in the soil.
* Lightweight campstoves are recommended and required above the timberline.
PACK IT IN—PACK IT OUT!! LEAVE NO TRACE!!
Alerts & Notices - http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/whiteriver/alerts-notices
Aspen Ranger District
806 W. Hallam
Aspen, CO 81611
United States Department of Agriculture
900 Grand Ave.
Glenwood Springs CO 81601
Book recommendations for this region:
Weather at the route's trailhead