In the heart of the Roaring Fork Valley, Aspen is an idyllic mix of year-round outdoor adventure, luxury, and small town community. The town caters to any style traveler, offering a variety of experiences when it comes to lodging, dining, entertainment, and getting outdoors. In the summer months, don't miss a hike to the famous Maroon Bells, a day of fly fishing along the Frying Pan River, river rafting on the Roaring Fork, or an excursion in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area. In the winter, Aspen is known for its four ski areas, including Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk, each offering a unique skiing or boarding experience. A stroll around town will quickly open your eyes to the many ways to spend an evening, from high-end restaurants like the Little Nell to entertainment venues like the Wheeler Opera House.
Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains in western Colorado, Aspen creates booming hub at the southern end of the Roaring Fork Valley. Surrounding towns include Snowmass Village, Basalt, and Carbondale. There is a small airport (the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport) nearby but most visitors fly in and out of Denver. To access Aspen in the winter months, it is easiest to fly into Denver International Airport and follow I-70 to Glenwood Springs. From here Aspen is a straight shot to the south. In the summer months, Independence Pass opens to the southwest of Aspen, offering an alternative scenic drive from Denver via Summit County, Breckenridge, and Leadville. Aspen has very distinct seasons. Ski season is typically the busiest time of year, from December through March. It snows frequently and temps can range from the teens to mid-thirties. Summer, another popular season because of the many opportunities for outdoor adventure, runs from June through September with moderate temps in the 70s and low 80s. Because the shoulder seasons in fall and spring can be unpredictable when it comes to weather, they are typically less busy and less expensive.
Things to Do
Visit the Maroon Bells: The most photographed view in all of Colorado and for good reason. Maroon Lake reflects the two Maroon Peaks behind it just about perfectly. You can drive directly to the lake or take a bus (note that travel is regulated in the peak season) and then venture out on a few different trails to get a more unique perspective of the area.
Drive over Independence Pass: Closed in the winter months, Independence Pass is at the top of the Continental Divide and separates the valleys of Aspen and Leadville. A drive over Independence Pass will make you feel like you are on top of the world.
Fish the Roaring Fork or Frying Pan Rivers: The Aspen area is renowned for trout fishing and you can wade or drift the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan Rivers.
Soak at Glenwood Hot Springs: 40 miles north of Aspen, Glenwood Hot Springs is an enormous developed pool kept at an inviting 93 degrees. It makes for a great stop on the way to or from Aspen.
Explore Independence Ghost Town: Accessible only in the summer months, take some time on a self-guided tour through the wooden remains of this once booming town. It's close to Independence Pass so visit the ghost town in conjunction with a nearby hike.
Mountain Bike at nearby Ski Resorts: While there is a huge network of national forest trails near Aspen, one of the most enjoyable ways to mountain bike the area is with lift access. Head to Snowmass and experience the ease of lift-accessible mountain biking.
Go Whitewater Rafting: Nearby rivers offer a thrill you won't forget. Join a guided trip on the lower Roaring Fork for a mellow day or venture over the pass to the Arkansas Rive for something more exciting.
Stroll along the Aspen Pathways: From paved pathways to well maintained singletrack, the pathway system around Aspen is extensive. Take your pick from a huge network of trails connecting Aspen all the way to Basalt.