There are so many things to do in Aspen. From vigorous outdoor activities to relaxation and luxury. We’ve put together a list of the “Must Do’s” for your visit.
Aspen is one of the most beautiful areas in all of Colorado and maybe the entire United States. All of the aspen trees come together to provide stunning views of the mountain and valleys. Many of the activities in Aspen are centered around the outdoors so you will be able to enjoy every inch of the beautiful Colorado landscape.
The most photographed mountains in North America are right here in Aspen! Located 10 miles from Aspen up Maroon Creek Road, they are not to be missed, whether you are visiting Aspen for an hour or 3 months they are sure to be a highlight of your trip. Their accessibility is limited by car, so see below on how to get there:
From mid-June to Labor Day the Maroon Bells can only be accessed by public bus between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm. You are welcome to drive your own car before 8 am and after 5 pm or if you have a child, age 2 and under, in a car seat (other exceptions apply*). Please be prepared to pay a $10 per vehicle fee should you choose to drive. After Labor Day bus access will only be in place Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The road will be open to traffic Monday-Thursday, again the $10/vehicle fee would be required. Take Maroon Creek Road from the roundabout on HWY 82 just outside of Aspen heading west.
The Maroon Bells bus can be accessed at Aspen Highlands which is just 2 miles up Maroon Creek Road on the left hand side. There is free parking available at Aspen Highlands. Purchase bus tickets for $6 inside of Four Mountain Sports. Busses depart every half hour.
If you don’t have your own car you can also take the Castle/Maroon RFTA bus from Rubey Park Transportation Center in downtown Aspen. This bus is free and departs every 20 minutes starting on the hour. Take the Castle/Maroon bus to Aspen Highlands and then transfer to the Maroon Bells Bus.
Maroon Bells, Snowmass, Colorado, 81654
Aspen Ski Mountains
Anyplace else, this would be considered four separate vacations, but not in Aspen, where skiers will find more than 5,300 acres of terrain between Snowmass, Aspen Mountain (Ajax), Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk. Not to mention the endless dining, nightlife and shopping the town of Aspen is known for, providing more than enough reasons to visit one of the world’s most famous and exciting ski resorts. There’s no better time to experience “The Power of Four.”
Aspen Brewing Company
If you enjoy a variety of different beers, Aspen Brewing Company is the place to be. They offer many different types of beers such as ales, pilsners, and stouts. Tours of the brewery are available during the summer season so be sure to check of the behind-the-scenes making of their beers. The fantastic atmosphere is atrributed to the fact that there is a view of Aspen Mountain from the back patio. This is a very fun activity for beer lovers of all kinds!
304 E. Hopkins Avenue, Aspen, CO, 81611 :: (970) 920-2739
Aspen Art Museum
The Aspen Art Museum presents the most important evolutions in contemporary art. AAM exhibitions, education and public programs, and activities engage audiences in thought-provoking experiences.
637 E Hyman Ave, Aspen, CO 81611 :: (970) 925-8050
Gold Medal Fly Fishing
Winter, spring, summer or fall – fishing is perhaps the one sport you can enjoy in Aspen year-round! Cast a line on a high-alpine lake in summer, or fish the Gold Medal AND Blue Ribbon waters of the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan rivers in just about any season. World-renowned fly fishing is technically as close as Mill Street in Aspen, but most travel just ten minutes outside of downtown on the Roaring Fork River. And if you’re feeling like a drive, the Frying Pan and Crystal Rivers also hold fantastic fly-fishing a bit further afield.
What are Gold Medal waters anyway? These fishing areas have been designated by the Colorado Wildlife Commission as providing great spots to catch large trout. Only about 168 miles of Colorado’s 9000 miles of trout streams, and three lakes, carry the “Gold Medal” signature. You heard correctly, Aspen’s got good fishing!
The higher the quality of the habitat the greater the number of fish in that locale, and because so many of the streams on the Upper Roaring Fork are privately permitted that means the fish WILL be biting when your guide takes you out. You’ll find mainly Cutthroat, Rainbow, Brown and Speckled Trout, along with a few Sculpin and Whitefish. There are three main fly hatches that occur on the area waters – Caddis, Stonefly and Baetis/Mayfly. These insect hatches are the driving force behind hours of joyful fly-fishing.
Local outfitting services are available to get you going with gear, the inside scoop on what the fish are biting, or – better yet – a guided tour to some of the local fishing hotspots. This is one fish tale you’ll be proud to tell!
Smuggler Mountain Trail
This trailhead accesses Smuggler Mountain Road, one of the most popular recreation areas in the immediate Aspen vicility. Any spring, summer or fall afternoon, Smuggler Mountain Road is busy with Aspenites hiking, running, mountain biking or walking their dogs. This four-wheel drive road is open to motorized vehicle use to the Warren Lakes area, though generally not busy with motorized traffic.
Many users turn around at the primitive overlook deck, about 1 1/2 miles up, but others continue on up Smuggler Mountain Road toward Warren Lakes, turn left to loop into the Hunter Creek Valley and back to Aspen, or even continue from Hunter Creek over to Lenado or the Sunnyside Trail.
In winter months, the trailhead is used to access the Benedict Huts of the Tenth Mountain Hut System.
Whitewater rafting is the ultimate Colorado experience and Aspen is home to mellow streams and Class IV rapids alike. If you prefer a quiet canoe or stand up paddle, check out the North Star Nature Preserve and its winding meander through untouched Rocky Mountain splendor. If action packed adventures are more your speed then there are plenty of Class II, III and IV options along the Roaring Fork River, Colorado River and even day trips headed over Independence Pass to the Arkansas River. Aspen’s local rafting companies have years of experiences and loads of good funning on board.
Forget feet, bikes and horses, sometimes the best way to see what surrounds Aspen is by car. And if four-wheels fit your vision for a day in the backcountry, the only way to travel is on a Jeep tour. Rent your own, or sit back and relax on one of numerous specialized Jeep tours offered by local guide companies.
It’s so easy it’s like riding a bike! Seeing the Aspen area via bicycle is quite spectacular and you don’t have to be a pro to do so. Check out one of Aspen’s many bike shops and rent a cruiser for a jaunt around town or down the Rio Grande Trail. If you want to take it up a notch for road biking or mountain biking, we recommend taking lessons from our highly talented and experienced local professionals! It might just be one of the best ways to explore the Maroon Bells area and Castle Creek Valley. For those who enjoy off-road adrenaline, mountain bikes are also available and the local trails can’t be beat. Smuggler Mountain Road is a gateway to multiple loops such as the Hunter Creek Loop, Iowa Shaft, Tootsie Roll and Lollipop.
In the central region of the Colorado Rocky Mountains which covers Aspen, Snowmass Village, Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and Rifle there are plenty of easy, paved trails for leisure bicycling and walking. All of these trails follow creeks and rivers making for small elevation changes and gorgeous scenery! Plus there are many opportunities to stop along the way. Lay Some Tread’s website will tell you more!
Aspen is host to several biking events throughout the summer kicking things off in May with the ever-popular Ride for the Pass which takes cyclists to the top of Independence Pass prior to the road opening for car traffic for the season. The Aspen Gran Fondo, an epic 50 mi group ride around the Aspen area followed by the USA Pro Challenge. This year Aspen will host the Stage 3 Finish and Stage 4 start of the USA Pro Challenge, August 19th and 20th.
Dog Sledding and Dinner
Established in 1974, Krabloonik Restaurant & Dog Sledding has welcomed guests for over 40 years with exquisitely prepared game and fresh fish, an award-winning wine list and spectacular mountain views. All this is savored in our romantic gas-lit log cabin, while below, Krabloonik sled-dog teams leap and howl in wild anticipation of the run.