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This trail can be either strenuous day hike, or a short backpack. It leads to American Lake.

From the trailhead, the trail heads downvalley for a short distance to a trail junction. The trail to the lake takes off at a right angle at the junction. The trail rises steeply, switchbacking for about 1-1/2 miles through an Aspen grove before reaching spruce trees where the trail levels a bit. Continue to a large meadow, stay along the lower side of the meadow, turning southward, and reenter the forest. The trail will rise gently, approximately 1/2 mile before the lake, the trail crosses a rock slide area. The trail arrives near the lake's outlet.

Directions: From Aspen, Drive 1/2 mile west of Aspen on Highway 82. At the roundabout, turn onto Castle Creek Road. Drive 10 miles to the Elk Mountain Lodge. There is parking on the right where the trailhead begins.

Elevation: 9,400 feet

Ending Elevation: 11,365 feet

Elevation Gain: 1,965 feet

Distance: 3.2 miles

Usage: Heavy

Difficulty: Strenuous

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White River National Forest, Colorado

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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