Capitol Lake

Distance: 12.8 miles (round trip)

Maroon Bells_Snowmass Wilderness, White River National Forest, near Aspen in Central Colorado

Trail to the saddle above Capitol Lake

Trail to the saddle above Capitol Lake


This long hike ascends a pretty valley through aspen groves and spruce-fir forest interspersed with meadows to Capitol Lake, an alpine jewel nestled beneath the massive west face of Capital Peak (14,130-ft.).
See Trail Detail/Full Description

  • Distance: 12.8 miles (round trip) to Capitol Lake
  • Elevation: 9,475-ft. at Trailhead
    11,580-ft. at Capitol Lake
  • Elevation Gain: 2,105-ft. to Capitol Lake
  • Difficulty: strenuous
  • More Hikes in:
    Aspen / Central Colorado

Why Hike Capitol Lake

From the Capitol Creek trailhead views stretch south to majestic Capitol Peak (14,130-ft.), a massive sentinel towering over the Capitol Creek Valley. This hike traverses the valley’s aspen groves, spruce-fir forests and meadows to visit scenic Capitol Lake, an azure jewel cradled beneath the Peak’s monumental west face. Beyond the lake the trail crosses Capitol Pass (12,060-ft.) and connects with the Avalanche Creek trail.

Capitol Lake makes a great, albeit long, day hike. The route is popular with day hikers as well as backpackers accessing the West Snowmass and Avalanche Creek trails and climbers seeking to summit Mt. Daly or Capital Peak, one of Colorado’s most difficult fourteeners to climb.

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile Capitol Lake Trail

Best Hiking in Central Colorado around Aspen, Marble, Leadville, Buena Vista and Crested Butte

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Trail Resources

Trail Detail/Full Description / Trail Photo Gallery / Trail Map

Basecamp(s) Information:

Region Information:
Central Colorado

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