Aspen, Colorado may be best known for the skiing, but there’s more to the area than just skiing. Of course, if you love to ski, you’ll find plenty of it throughout the area. Many of the ski resorts provide plenty of great summer activities for residents to enjoy. Here are some of the top things to do in Aspen.
Skiing is the major activity found in Aspen and the area is home to many top ski resorts. Whether enjoying the slopes at Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, Snowmass Ski Resort, Aspen Highland, Maroon Bell or one of the other ski areas, you’re sure to have plenty of fun during the winter. Each ski area provides something unique including:
- Maroon Bells – Providing twin peaks with heights up to 14,000 feet, Maroon Bells is one of the top areas for skiing. The jagged peaks and multicolored slopes provide excellent photography, as well.
- Snowmass Ski Resort – The largest ski resort found in Aspen, Snowmass provides more than 3,100 acres of skiable area. Visitors enjoy more than 140 miles of trails, 21 different lifts, a village full of shops and restaurants and some of the best snowboarding schools in the country.
- Aspen Mountain – First opened for skiing in 1947, Aspen Mountain provides amazing slopes and incredible views. Even the most advanced skier will enjoy the slopes here with more than 64 miles of runs.
- Aspen Highlands – Aspen residents have been skiing at Aspen Highlands for more than 50 years. It’s one of the favorite choices and provides plenty of challenges for all skill levels. Some of the popular routes include Highland Bowl, Golden Horn and Olympic Bowl.
- Buttermilk – Providing 21 miles of open trails, Buttermilk is a great place to teach a beginner how to ski. It’s one of the best places for beginners with well-groomed trails and private lessons.
Many other ski areas are found nearby and provide plenty of great slopes for skiers to enjoy.
A free activity anybody with a vehicle can enjoy, Independence Pass provides some of the most amazing views found throughout the area. It’s one of the highest scenic roads in North American at more than 12,000 feet above sea level. The drive is 20 miles long and will make you feel like a daredevil with the tight turns and towering cliffs.
Visitors often stop along the way to enjoy the paved hiking trail with sightseeing platforms for incredible views of the Continental Divide. Even though the drive is quite beautiful, many travelers have stated you should proceed with caution. The road is very winding and there are no guardrails. However, many also say the views are well worth it.
Both Aspen Mountain and Snowmass provide Gondola rides in the summer months. Silver Queen Gondola is the most popular and travels 2.5 miles from Aspen to the 11,000-foot-high summit of Aspen Mountain. After you reach the top, you can enjoy dining, live music and hiking opportunities. The 20-minute ride provides some amazing views you will find in the area. Rides are available from 10am to 4pm from June through September.
Elk Camp Gondola & Chairlift provides the rides for Snowmass from June 25th to September 5th. Once at the top, you can enjoy many activities and the views are quite breathtaking.
John Denver Sanctuary
If you love John Denver’s music, this is the place for you. Many of his songs were about the Aspen area and the sanctuary is found near the Aspen Art Museum in Rio Grande Park. Even if you’re not a huge fan of John Denver, visiting the monuments and the park will provide plenty of beauty anybody can appreciate.
One of the most popular areas for hiking in the Aspen area, Glenwood Springs is found about 40 miles to the northwest of Aspen. This area offers plenty of hiking, fishing and even whitewater rafting. It’s also the home to a very interesting set of caverns visitors often explore.
Even though Glenwood Springs offers so much for visitors to enjoy, the one thing most come for are the legendary hot springs. The Hot Springs Pool has been visited by President Theodore Roosevelt, Al Capone, Molly Brown and many other celebrities over the years. Swimmers come to enjoy a soak and the peacefulness of the area.
Wheeler Opera House
A huge source of area entertainment, the Wheeler Opera House was constructed in the 1800s. This beautifully decorated Victorian opera house provides regular concerts, theatrical performances and much more. You can stop in for a quick look at the historic building or come for one of the many performances.
Hiking on Amazing Trails
Aspen may be best-known for the skiing, but the area is also home to some of the most amazing trails in the country. If you enjoy hiking, a few of the top trails to visit while in Aspen include:
- Rio Grande Trail – Whether taking a short stroll or completing an 80-mile bike trip, this is a trail you don’t want to miss.
- Grottos Trail – A great place for picnicking, the Grottos Trail provides easy hikes, beautiful waterfalls and plenty more.
- Crater Lake Trail – Providing some of the most amazing views of Crater Lake, this trail provides an easy hike for the entire family.
- Maroon Lake Scenic Trail – The high elevations don’t keep many away because of the fantastic views found on this trail.
Many other area trails provide excellent views and different types of hiking opportunities in Aspen.
Other fun things to do in Aspen, Colorado include:
- Horseback Riding
- River Rafting & Tubing
- Nature Programs
- Farm-to-Table Dining
- Disc Golf
- Mountain Boarding
- And More!
Residents enjoy all types of activities, events and attractions year-round in Aspen. Of course, skiing will probably always remain the top draw.
You may come to Aspen for the skiing, but you may just stay for the amazing summer activities. It doesn’t matter what time of year you decide to visit or move to the area, you will find plenty of things to do throughout Aspen, Colorado.