Aspen and Snowmass Colorado
A solitary angler on a frosty morning
Biking along winding Castle Creek Road
The iconic Aspen Block Building, constructed in 1886
Hiking the Ute Trail through the alpine woods
Skiing the slopes of Snowmass Ski Area
Riding the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster through the woods
Hiking West Maroon Pass Trail, awash in wildflowers
Mountain biking on Tom Blake Trail in Snowmass
The autumn sun sets the Maroon Bells ablaze
Wildflowers growing around Cathedral Lake
- Major Airports:
- Denver (DEN)
The spectacular alpine destination with a community feel
Mountain Fun for All Seasons
Much has been made of Aspen and Snowmass’ incredible skiing, with four individual mountains – Snowmass, Aspen, Highlands and Buttermilk – offering a total of 2,232 hectares of skiable terrain just a few kilometers apart from one another. Aspen Mountain sits in the heart of vibrant downtown Aspen, while Snowmass offers slopes for all abilities. Buttermilk is known as the home of the Winter X Games, and Highlands is a favorite of expert skiers who earn their turns in Highland Bowl.
In summer, gondolas on both Aspen Mountain and Snowmass whisk adventurers up to hiking trails, disc golf courses and outdoor games for kids. Sit a spell at the Sundeck, a restaurant renowned for its panoramic views and top-notch American and Asian food atop Aspen Mountain. At Snowmass, 145 kilometers of mountain biking trails include cross-country and lift-served terrain. These are part of the valley’s Gold-Level Ride Center as designated by the International Mountain Bicycling Association – one of seven in the world. Family activities include an alpine coaster, ropes courses and climbing walls. Don't miss the locally-sourced fare at Elk Camp restaurant, including a farm-to-table dinner every Tuesday.
Wilderness Views and Outdoor Recreation
Set your Smartphone’s camera to panoramic mode and take a tour to nearby Maroon Bells, two extraordinary peaks – the most photographed in North America – rising up from the White River National Forest and Maroon Lake. Mountain bike the Rim Trail, which traverses Snowmass Village and beyond, offering great views of the village, mountains and a reservoir. Just outside of Aspen, climbers will find Independence Pass in the Rocky Mountains – 3,687 meters up – a breathtaking challenge. Back in town, head to the John Denver Sanctuary. Along the scenic walking path you’ll find rocks engraved with Denver’s lyrics and come upon a huge perennial flower garden while following the Roaring Fork River.
From al fresco to après ski, more than 100 restaurants (many with locally-sourced menus) satisfy both your need to take in the view and the healthy appetite you’ve worked up. There are boutique shops here alongside the most lauded designer stores, making shopping an all-day activity. In summer, hit the Aspen Saturday Market for produce, crafts and music. At the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, see international artists at work and admire the pieces on display in the gallery. Catch a film, comedy show or musical performance at the Wheeler Opera House.
Good branding: In the 1940s, a Chicago industrialist visited the area and proposed the “Aspen idea,” describing it as a place where mind, body and spirit could flourish.
Mammoths, mastodons and giant ground sloths used to roam here. The Ice Age Discovery Center in Snowmass Village tells the story of the treasure trove of alpine Ice Age fossils found here in 2010.
Aspen has been celebrating what makes its winters so special with its annual Wintersköl festival since 1951.
Photo: C2 Photography