Aspen is known as an international winter ski resort, but is also worth a visit in summer. Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, the mountain resort is 2,400 metres above sea level and offers fun for the whole family. Aspen has an interesting history and is the perfect holiday destination – unique nature experiences, a great cultural program, a pleasant climate and breathtaking nature.
Thanks to the hard work and dreams of its 16,000 inhabitants, Aspen became a thriving silver mining town towards the end of the 19th century. (Today Aspen has 6,700 inhabitants.) After the opening of Aspen Mountain in 1947, the town experienced a second boom and recovered from the so-called “quiet years” after the end of silver mining. In 1949 the Aspen Music Festival, the Aspen Music School and the famous Aspen Institute were established by Walter and Elizabeth Paepke, the founders of modern Aspen. The philosophy was born that Aspen was the place to unwind.
A small town with cultural events that hold a candle to a big city: The calendar of events includes music, art, theatre, lectures and dance. In addition to cultural activities, residents and visitors can enjoy activities such as scenic walks, horseback riding, rafting, fly fishing, climbing and cycling.
Treat yourself to culinary and fashionable experiences at the end of a full day. Aspen has over 100 restaurants and bars, as well as some 200 boutiques, art galleries and souvenir shops – there is something for everyone.
Ten great summer adventures in Aspen
1st Maroon Bells: The most photographed summits in North America are the perfect Rocky Mountain backdrop for a hike, picnic or day trip with overnight stay. Since the roads are closed to public traffic, buses run every 20 to 30 minutes from Rubey Park and Aspen Highlands. Tip: On Wednesdays, tickets cost half as much. For departure times and information, please call RFTA at 970 925 8484.
2. special events: Aspen offers a wide range of culinary events, arts festivals and outdoor events to appeal to lovers of nature, spirit, culture, music, dance and theatre. Tip: If you go to the Food & Wine Festival tasting approximately 30 minutes after the official admission time, you can avoid long queues without missing the culinary highlights. A full calendar can be obtained from the Aspen Chamber of Commerce at 970 925 1940 or www.aspenchamber.org
3rd music: At the corner of the bakery “Paradise” you can enjoy a delicious ice cream waffle and at the same time the music of young artists. But you can also find young musicians from the Aspen Music School at other corners and in restaurants. Tip: Pack a picnic basket and listen to an Aspen Music Festival concert on the lawn in front of the music tent – free of charge. The concert programme is available on 970 925 9042.
4th Independence Pass: East of Aspen you will find numerous gems after a winding drive on the country road 82. Popular places to visit are the ice caves (Grottos), the ghost town Independence Ghost Town, countless hiking trails and the continental watershed at the pass. Tip: Hike past the ice caves and sunbathe on the floods of the Roaring Fork River.
5th weekly market on Saturdays: From June to October, fresh fruit and vegetables, specialities, works of art, live music and more are offered at this weekly market. Tip: Leave your dog at home because the pavement gets hot in summer and the many smells can be very confusing. The market is on the corner of Hopkins Avenue and Hunter Street.
6th Silver Queen Gondola: Take the gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain. There are breathtaking views, culinary delights, free classical music and bluegrass, children’s adventures, frisbee golf and beautiful long hiking and biking trails. A ticket is required for the gondola. Tip: You can get a $5 discount at our Visitor Centre. Please contact the Aspen Skiing Company at 970 925 1220 for more information.
Hike 7 along the Hunter Creek Loop: North of Aspen is the Hunter Creek Loop, a popular hiking trail with the locals. The trail meanders along a gurgling stream and crosses dense aspen forests and meadows with wildflowers. Tip: Smuggler Mountain is in the sun all day. Don’t forget your sun cream and drinks. For further information call 970 925 1940.
8th Cycle Tour to Woody Creek: Visitors can rent bicycles at the local bike shops and the picturesque Rio Grande Cycle Route invites you to cycle. A perfect summer excursion leads along the Roaring Fork River to Woody Creek. The margaritas and the history of the Woody Creek Tavern – a popular favourite of the writer Hunter S. Thompson – are also a great attraction. Tip: You can also take the High Mountain Taxi on the way back if you have enjoyed the margaritas too much. For more information call 970 925 1940.
Ninth fountain: The dancing waters of the fountain on Hyman Avenue invite children and adults to linger – a pleasant cooling off on a hot summer day. Tip: Children often bring their balloons, which are also available from nearby Carl’s Pharmacy, and let them dance on the water fountains. The fountain is opposite the Wheeler Opera House (corner of Mill Street and Hyman Avenue).
10 Rafting on the Roaring Fork River: Local rafting companies offer one-day and multi-day trips of varying difficulty levels on the rivers around Aspen. Enjoy a day of cool water on the Roaring Fork River. Tip: Leave the camera at home and leave the snapshots to the rafting staff. For local providers, please refer to the appendix of this brochure.