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Best Things To Do in Aspen In Summer

When you think of Aspen, Colorado, you may think of ritzy hotels and decadent parties, or world-class skiing. But there is so much more to this beautiful destination than meets the eye. In the summer,...

When you think of Aspen, Colorado, you may think of ritzy hotels and decadent parties, or world-class skiing. But there is so much more to this beautiful destination than meets the eye. In the summer, Aspen transforms into a natural playground for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide range of activities that cater to everyone's interests. From hiking and biking to fishing and paragliding, there is something for everyone to enjoy. So, if you're planning a trip to Aspen this summer, here are the best things to do to make the most of your time.

Aspen Summer Hiking

Aspen is blessed with the stunning Roaring Fork Valley, which boasts a network of trails suitable for hikers of all levels. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced hiker, you'll find a trail that suits your preferences. Picture yourself surrounded by fields of wildflowers, with majestic mountain vistas and dense forests all around you. Here are some of our favorite hiking trails in Aspen:

West Maroon Pass

Start your hike at Maroon Lake, one of the most photographed spots in the country, and make your way towards West Maroon Pass. The initial part of the trail may be crowded, but once you pass Crater Lake, the number of hikers diminishes significantly. The views along the entire trail are simply unbeatable. You can choose to turn back whenever you like, or if you're up for a challenge, continue to Crested Butte on the other side of the pass.

Maroon Bells peaks reflection in Crater Lake Maroon Bells peaks reflection in Crater Lake

Triangle Peak

For a shorter yet rewarding hike, make your way to Triangle Peak. Although you'll need to drive a few miles down the valley to reach the trailhead, the effort will be worth it. The hike up a jeep road to the summit of Triangle Peak offers breathtaking panoramic views of the entire Roaring Fork Valley, the Elk Mountain Range, and Aspen-Snowmass's four ski areas.

Ute Trail

If you're up for a challenging hike, the Ute Trail will lead you all the way to the top of Aspen Mountain. While it may be steep at first, it's a less crowded alternative to the popular road up the face of the ski hill. And if you find yourself exhausted at the summit, you can always take the gondola back down to town.

Aspen Summer Biking

Aspen is a haven for biking enthusiasts, with options that cater to riders of all levels. Whether you're into road biking or mountain biking, there's something for everyone.

Road Biking

For a lung-busting challenge, try tackling Independence Pass, a climb that will take you to a staggering elevation of 12,065 feet above sea level. If you prefer a flatter ride with stunning scenery, embark on the Maroon Creek Road, which leads you to the iconic Maroon Bells. And if you're riding with kids or simply prefer a traffic-free experience, the Rio Grande Trail is a fantastic option. This former railroad track turned multi-use pathway stretches over 40 miles, following the Roaring Fork River all the way to Glenwood Springs.

Independence Pass in Aspen Colorado Independence Pass

Mountain Biking

For the thrill-seekers, Aspen offers a multitude of mountain biking trails. Head up Aspen Mountain on the forest service road for a challenging climb and enjoy the exhilarating single-track descent. Alternatively, explore the trails above the old Smuggler Mine for a scenic ride across town. If you're up for more adventure, Snowmass Mountain has a plethora of singletrack, downhill, and enduro trails to keep even the most experienced riders entertained.

Mountain Biking Near Aspen Mountain Biking Near Aspen

Aspen Summer Fishing

Aspen is a paradise for fishing enthusiasts, offering some of the best fly fishing in the world. The Roaring Fork River, a gold-medal fishing river, flows right through town, providing ample opportunities to reel in some impressive catches. In addition to the Roaring Fork, you can also explore the Fryingpan River and the Crystal River, both known for their excellent fly fishing. Whether you choose to hire a guide or venture out on your own, this area is a haven for anglers.

Best Aspen Restaurants

After a day filled with outdoor activities, you'll undoubtedly work up an appetite. Luckily, Aspen is a foodie's dream with a plethora of gourmet options. If you're looking for a more casual dining experience, here are some of our top recommendations:

  • Zane's Tavern: A popular sports bar among locals, perfect for enjoying a game while indulging in some delicious pub grub.
  • Big Wrap: A casual joint offering a variety of options, including tacos, wraps, and sandwiches.
  • Jour de Fete: A no-frills deli that serves mouthwatering sandwiches and salads.
  • Bangkok Happy Bowl: Satisfy your cravings for Thai cuisine with a visit to this fantastic restaurant.
  • Woody Creek Tavern: Known as the hangout spot of the late Hunter S. Thompson, this eclectic tavern offers comfort bar food and a unique atmosphere.

Other Things To Do In Aspen in Summer

If you find yourself with extra time during your trip to Aspen, don't worry - there's plenty more to explore. Here are some additional summer activities that you shouldn't miss:

  • Hike or take the gondola up Aspen Mountain and enjoy a game of frisbee golf. The disc golf course at the top of the ski area provides a fun and scenic challenge.
  • Tube or paddleboard through Northstar Nature Preserve for a relaxing and refreshing experience on the water.
  • Take a plunge into the icy waters of The Grottos, a series of snowmelt-fed pools and waterfalls that will leave you feeling exhilarated.
  • Immerse yourself in the local music scene by attending the Aspen Music Festival or catching live performances by talented students on street corners. Don't forget to check out the live music calendar at the Belly Up.

Aspen Camping & Lodging Options

Aspen is a popular summer destination, so it's essential to plan ahead and book your camping or lodging in advance. Here are some tips to help you find the perfect accommodation:

  • Camping options are limited in and around Aspen, with Difficult Campground being the closest site located eight miles outside of town towards Independence Pass. Another option is Silver Queen Campground near the iconic Maroon Bells. Both of these campgrounds fill up quickly, so it's advisable to make reservations in advance if possible.
  • If you're looking for budget-friendly hotels, consider Mountain Chalet, Tyrolean Lodge, or Annabelle Inn. These establishments offer great locations without breaking the bank.
  • For a more luxurious stay, check out the Limelight Hotel, Hotel Aspen, or The Gant. These options provide top-notch amenities and an unforgettable experience.

Have you ever visited Aspen? Did we miss any of the best things to do in Aspen in summer? Let us know in the comments below!