Travel

Aspen Activities

Establishment neighborhood
Snowmass
Snowmass
While it's the farthest from Aspen proper, Snowmass is actually the largest of Aspen's four mountains, with more than 150 miles worth of skiable trails—Longshot alone is famously more than two miles long. Snowmass also offers the most diverse mix of terrain, as you're just as likely to find classic bowls and steeps as you are groomers. From the top, there are stunning views of the Maroon Bells (and just about everything else in the valley). Starting in December, the mountain is also home to a packed-out tubing hill. Go during the daytime with littles for a pleasantly fun ride or with grown-ups in the evening, when the ice freezes, for something a little more adventurous.
Hike Cathedral Lake
Though they're iconic in many ways, the Maroon Bells can get grossly crowded. For those who prefer to enjoy the mountains in quiet silence, Cathedral Lake offers plenty of views and requires a lot less sharing. Meanwhile, the picturesque lake at the top makes a photo-worthy picnic spot and a perfectly serene place for a few casts. Fair warning: At 7 miles round trip and steep in some areas, this hike isn't for the faint of heart. Leave early to avoid getting caught in afternoon thunderstorms, which are are all but guaranteed in the summer. Photos: Protrails
Fly Fishing
601 E. Dean St., Aspen
Aspen's Roaring Fork Valley is home to four different rivers, and between them they make up some of the best fly fishing in the United States: In the summer, the cold mountain waters are home to gorgeous rainbows, brown trout, and more. Even inexperienced fishermen will appreciate the scenic surroundings; most finishing spots also offer panoramic views. While guide companies are a dime a dozen, Aspen Fly Fishing is our pick—their experienced guides will tailor a trip to your needs, whether that means fitting you with waders or organizing a full-fledged float trip.
Aspen Center for Environmental Studies
Hallam Lake, 100 Puppy Smith St., Aspen
The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES), which operates out of four different locations in the area, is a tremendous community asset. The organization provides classes and a host of educational activities for the community from a nature camp for kids, to senior birdwatching, to cooking classes using local ingredients, and everything in between. Visitors can hire a naturalist guide from the center to give a personalized—and vastly informative—tour of the surrounding mountains, focusing on wildlife, native plants, and more. You'll go by foot in the summer and snow shoe or cross-country skis in the winter.
The Maroon Bells
Maroon Creek Road, Highlands, Aspen
Even if you've never been to the Maroon Bells, there's a good chance you've seen them before—the view of them from the parking lot is one of the most widely photographed vistas in the United States. While driving up the trailhead (there's a $10 entrance fee) is gorgeous, it's also crowded. To find some quiet, head up in the winter when you'll have to snowshoe or cross country ski to reach the view, or hike up to nearby Crater Lake via a 3.6-mile trail—it's steep, but worth it for the constant photo-ops.
Biking
315 E. Hyman Ave., Aspen
Cycling is a pretty huge part of Aspen's culture, especially in the summer, when the professionals make their way through town in the Colorado Pro Cycling challenge. And while some of the most famous rides are best left to the experienced or the extremely fit (the climb over Independence Pass, for example, is challenging), there are plenty of options for beginners as well. Bike Hub of Aspen will outfit the entire family with bikes and send you out with maps and information about where to go. As a warm-up, check out the paved Rio Grande bike path that spans much of the Roaring Fork valley, which is as tame as it is stunning.
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