Colorado has many beautiful and beautiful places to visit. The Aspen Highlands is not an exception. If you visit or live someplace like Aspen, it is a serious undertaking to hike all of the region’s trails. The Grottos Trail provides for one more otherworldly Aspen experiences. The Grottos Trail is found just past the mile marker 50 off Highway 82/Independence Pass, this is about 9 miles east of town, and easy-to-moderate winds difficulty up through the pine-heavy White River National Forest which is along the Roaring Fork River.
The forested Grottos trail is named for the ice caves and sculpted boulders which have formed resulting from the 8,000-year-old glacial activity. You should come to see the grottos, which are caves of rock by turns jagged and undulant, hacked and bowed and worn by fitful river currents. It is possible to get down into them. If you do this, you will be able to see the formations from the inside.
Many people go in spring or winter to understand why the locals nicknamed them “ice caves.”
Hikers who are less-skilled should take caution especially when they are climbing back out since the rocks can be very slippery. The trail leads to the cascades, where you find a ribbon set of waterfalls which streak through the restless rock gullies. What Grottos lacks in extreme adventure, it makes up for with restorative and scenic and attributes. It is for sure a lovely spot for just chilling out.
Before one crosses the Roaring Fork River, they follow the level, handicapped-accessible trail which skirts the northern bank to a fantastic viewpoint of the rushing cascades. The dramatic drop of the chute and flow could easily be considered a waterfall in its own right. There is a smooth bedrock through which the falls slice. The end of the trail presents a picnic table.
The Grottos trail remains relatively level within the first 50 yards or so, then bears west and ascends exposed tree roots rocky slope. It is necessary to note that this trail is not convenient for anyone in a wheelchair. The path makes to a junction after edging past an ovular granite dome which is on the left. Bearing right leads one to the ice caves.
Descending the Grottos
Descending the rocky steps gives your first view of the slot from above.
The trail leads to a small pinch in the slot, which is the most viable entrance to the ice caves. These Ice cave’s passage is not entirely enclosed, and more closely resembles an aperture where light enters from above.
To enter the slot, you require a couple of nimble moves and sure footing
It is possible for one to chimney down by the use of the opposite wall which will ease the descent. Most can complete the entry but with the help of caution. When one drops to the left, an unpleasant dip into icy cold water or injury can result.
The passage is partly filled with water, is a slot that is carved by ice. The bravest probably limit visits to the impressive opening chamber, which has a high possibility of being dry in summer. Downstream, the slot becomes mostly flooded and brushy and is an adventure which should be probably avoided.
As light bounces off the murky waters and the undulating walls, the rock cavity into which you drop is a beautiful and eerie and sight. A small archway is formed at the entry, and a natural bridge between two sun-soaked cavities makes the ceiling above.
Be very careful as you enter the chamber and get out of the ice caves
After enjoying the unique sight, shimmy back up the pinch and out of the ice caves, then return to the main trail. The path winds east, north, then at a second entrance crosses a wooden bridge to the ice caves, this one is by far more treacherous. The slot then cuts some 30-40 feet deep into the granite, narrowing to about 3-4 feet wide. As one progresses on to the cascades, it is usually a couple minutes’ walk, approached halfway up the falls. Being keen and careful is very important.
The final leg is a roller coaster of sorts which roughly follows the southern bank of the Roaring Fork River. The trail has ascending stairs and descending rocky slopes just before crossing minor drainage. After reaching the shady picnic spot, the Grottos route leads to the main junction. One can then retrace their steps for the final 1/10 mile back to the parking area.