ASPEN, COLOADO

Aspen is a ski resort city in the area of Pitkin County, Colorado situated in an isolated area of the Rocky Mountains’ Sawatch Range and the Elk Mountains. The elevation is slightly below 8,000 feet above sea level on the Western Slope. The name “Aspen” derives from the copiousness of aspen trees in the surrounding area. Today, the city is a popular getaway for celebrities. Additionally, it is an admired destination for tourists who love outdoor recreation, as there are four ski areas in the surrounding area. At 7838 feet above sea level, hydration is always a concern in Colorado. Be sure to drink plenty of water in order to avoid dehydration.

Things to do in Aspen

Aspen Highlands

As a preferred ski area among Aspen residents, this ski area provides a challenge for all ski enthusiasts. More than half of the trails were carved with advanced and expert skiers in mind. Fly down Golden Horn, Highland Bowl, and Olympic Bowl in order to experience some incredible descents. Located about three miles southwest of Aspen, this resort is open daily from 9AM to 4PM between December and mid-April. Two-day lift passes range from $138 to $186 for adults and are valid at all four Aspen ski areas. If visiting during the peak season and winter holidays, it is best to purchase a lift pass in advance in order to beat the crowds. Check out the Aspen-Snowmass website for additional savings. When appetites are in full swing from a day full of skiing, visitors highly recommend grabbing a bite to eat at Cloud 9 Bistro. Here, guests will experience awe-inspiring views of the Maroon Bells.

Buttermilk

Enjoy 21 miles of widely open, stress-free trails. This is the perfect location to attempt a first run or teach children to ski. The beginner slopes are groomed, not terrible challenging, and serve as a wonderful option for people who are not ready to hit the huge slopes as of yet. Private ski and snowboard lessons are available from friendly, helpful, and positive instructors. Additionally, this mountain is also home to a 22-foot super pipe and an X Games-inspired course. Furthermore, there are two terrain parks, and an additional course for novice boarders that entail approximately 100 unique features. Buttermilk is located 5 miles northwest of Aspen and is open between 9AM and 4PM daily from mid-December to early April. Two-day lift tickets can be used at this location.

Glenwood Springs

Located 40 miles northwest of Aspen along Route 82, Glenwood Springs provides several opportunities to hike, fish, and whitewater raft. Additionally, this area is home to a sophisticated collection of caverns ready to be explored. Not only do the caves and trails earn a good reputation among visitors, the town’s hot springs are also must see aspects. Native American tribes have used the Hot Springs Pool for centuries. Admission ranges from $15 to $20 per person depending on the season. Travelers can reach Glenwood Springs by car or bus. Another great option is riding the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority for a mere $7.

Independence Pass

Travelers who do rent a car should take the 20-mile drive through Independence Pass. This is a scenic road that is one of the highest in North America. At an elevated 12,095 feet above sea level, visitors can take a thrilling drive full of turns along towering cliffs and thick forests. Take a break from driving, and head out on foot to the paved hiking trail that leads to a sightseeing platform. Be ready to view some breathtaking landscape. Be advised that the trek along Independence Pass is full of winding twists and turns. Guardrails are not present, so proceed with caution. The risk is definitely worth the awesome views ready to be seen.

Snowmass

Snowmass is Aspen’s most popular ski area. It is the largest and the ultimate spot for winter sport lovers. With 3,132 acres of skiable territory, it is no wonder why ski enthusiasts rave about this destination. On the grounds, experience 147 miles of trails along with 21 lifts. This resort dedicates itself to intermediate-level skiers. However, there are more than enough challenging stretches of snow for advanced participants. Additionally, Snowmass is known for one of the best snowboarding schools in the United States. When taking a break from the slopes, enjoy a variety of shopping opportunities and restaurants. Located eight miles west of Aspen, visitors can hit the slopes daily between late November through late April. The property opens between 8 and 10AM, depending on the weather, and remain open until 4PM. Definitely get an early start if visiting during peak season or winter holidays. The two-day lift ticket is applicable at this location.

Pick the time right!

Tourists visit Aspen in Winter

Travel dates to Aspen vary depending on what kind of sport travelers wish to participate in. Ski and Nordic season begins around Thanksgiving and lasts through April. With the right amount of snowfall, lifts will continue to run into June. Hiking season is in full swing from July to early October. Storms are likely during this period. Summers are dry and pleasant with temperatures at 80 degrees. If fall color sounds appealing, head out to Aspen during mid to late September. Many tourists agree that ultimately, the best time to visit Aspen is from December to February. During these months, the town sparkles as it is buried beneath beautiful snowflakes with slopes ready to provide entertainment to ski lovers. Be advised that prices climb during this popular time period, but planning in advance will allow travelers to take advantage of some decent deals. The second high season is typically among the months of June, July, and August. Temperatures remain in the 70s, which provides perfect weather for hiking.

Getting There

Aspen’s only airport is named Aspen-Pitkin County Airport. Also known as Sardy Field, this airport has a big General Aviation section that accommodates corporate airplanes and private jets during the busy holiday seasons. The airport is the hub of two commercial air carriers: United Airlines, operated by SkyWest Airlines, and American Airlines, operated by American Eagle. While waiting for a flight to take off or land, enjoy a drink at the bar located outside Security in General Waiting/Arrivals. Two restaurants are also available as well as a coffee bar and light, quick, Colorado style food. Furthermore, ground transportation options are available on the grounds. Hotel shuttles, the local bus service, taxis, limos, and rental cars are a variety of possibilities providing transportation to local hotels and tourist destinations.

Getting Around

The only major road providing access to Aspen is State Highway 82. There are a few mountain pass roads that lead vehicles into the city, but be aware that these are typically impassable during the winter and require all-terrain vehicles. Be advised that Independence Pass on Highway 82 at 12,095 feet usually opens in late May. It is closed in the winter due to avalanche activity. The opening of Independence Pass signals the start of road-biking season. Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) offers free bus service within the Aspen area. In addition, Amtrak serves Glenwood Springs in conjunction with RFTA. This is the most efficient way to travel to Aspen.

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