As a remote area of the Rockies, Aspen is cozily tucked between the Sawatch Range and the Elk Mountains on one side, and the Roaring Fork River on the other. It elevates to just shy of 8,000 feet above the sea.
Similar to the majority of western towns, it was founded due to the discovery of precious metals. This time it was silver. So the mass of explorers, adventurers, and miners rushed to this newly found mine site. And the name came from the significant number of aspen trees that surrounded the settlement.
Blooming era was during the 1880s, but with the collapse of the silver market in 1893, the number of its residents began to decline. It stayed that way until the mid-1920s when Aspen Mountain ski resort was developed.
Walter Paepcke, the prosperous manufacturer, bought and revived many properties in the city. Today, three institutes, two of them founded with Paepcke’s help, are settled here — the Aspen Institute, the Aspen Center for Physics, and the Aspen Music Festival and School.
But the town indeed flourished in the late 20th century, when Aspen became an unavoidable retreat for celebrities. One of them was John Denver, singer, who popularized Aspen with his two songs about the town during the 1970s. Many of the stars, all kinds of them, regarded the city as an ideal place to live there.
Nowadays, wealthy CEOs occupy Aspen along with movie stars and musicians. This type of concentration influenced the rise of prices of the real estate. As a result, many middle-class inhabitants have to move because they can’t afford to live there.
It has survived, though, as an attractive tourist destination with neighboring White River National Forest, summertime vacation place, and the four ski locations.
You can unleash your culinary appetite here with a variety of exquisite cuisines. There is something for everyone’s sensitive palate.
On Saturdays, there is a famous Aspen Farmers Market nestled downtown. You can find locally-grown Colorado fruits, vegetables, bread, and meat. At the same time, you can listen to live music and browse the beautiful jewelry and artwork.
Another more relaxing add to your holiday list may be the Conundrum Hot Springs on the nearby Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Besides that, you can go on the ride on the Silver Queen Gondola.
Aspen has a humid central continental climate which it owes to its elevation. So the summer days are moderately warm. The temperature drops towards the dusk, enabling good and refreshing rest over the night.
There is a range of options for summertime activities in Aspen, beginning with familiarization with the town’s history and culture. Visit the Aspen Art Museum or Theater Aspen. Musical concerts are held during the summer as well as in winter.
For hiking devotees, there are a lot of options. For example, you can take a trip to the Maroon Bells in Whiteriver National Forest and roam trails with breathtaking views.
Casual hikers can enjoy The Rio Grande Trail and the intermediate ones Smuggler Trail with atop cliff with the view on all of Aspen.
|Difficult Creek Trail||Moderate||June–September|
|Grizzly Lake Trail||Moderate||June–September|
|Aspen to Crested Butte||Hard||July–October|
|Maroon Lake & Snowmass Lake||Easy–Moderate||June–October|
|Hunter Creek Trail||Moderate||March–October|
Most of these trails also allow mountain biking. For some downhill biking experience, you can go to Snowmass Bike Park.
And for adrenaline junkies, there is thrilling paragliding above Aspen and Snowmass.
Winter in Aspen
Winters may be severe and bitter-cold in Aspen as in all mountain regions in Colorado.
Apart from the usual winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding, Aspen, with its broad scope of animations, is really a dreamland for all cold season lovers.
With four locations, Aspen Mountain or Ajax, Snowmass, Buttermilk, and Aspen Highlands, the area offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding tracks in the whole Colorado.
The most distinctive feature that Aspen Snowmass can offer is a jaw-dropping Alpine Coaster. This monster provides you with some zooming rides through trees with up to 28 mph.
Snow-bike lessons can be engaging, as well as tubing down the hill. You can enjoy outdoor skating in Snowmass Base Village. As a part of its offer, Snowmass has an indoor 54-foot-tall climbing wall.
Buttermilk is home of Aspen X Games and kids’ and beginners’ paradise. All types of recreation are available on these four mountains, including snowshoeing, fly-fishing, and even hot air ballooning.
One of the originalities of Aspen ski scene is fabulous après ski. It involves popping bottles of champagne at the base of the slopes or sipping cocktails in hotel lounges.
No matter the season, Aspen generously shows all its beauty, glory, and both old-school and innovative distractions.