When we think about Aspen, snow-covered mountains, wooden cottages, and ski always come first in our mind. I know Aspen is famous for winter activities, but there are a lot of summer activities you can enjoy in Aspen. The beauty of Aspen is really hard to describe. I have been to Aspen both in summer and winter and both of the seasons have their own uniqueness and beauty. For Aspen, my favorite one is fall, especially with the fall foliage and a little bit of snow on the top of the mountain peak. No matter which seasons you visit, there are plenty of things to do and experience in Aspen. In this blog, I am going to talk about the things to do in Aspen during the Summer months.
Visit Maroon Bells
The top thing that should be on your Aspen list is the Maroon Bells, which is located about 10 miles southwest of Aspen. The beauty of this place is unimaginable. The snow-covered Maroon Peaks and the reflection of it on the Maroon Lake creates a very beautiful scene. This place is one of the most photographed places in Colorado. To visit Maroon Bells, you must make a reservation online, here:
Remember to make the reservation in advance as this place is always in high demand. You can also hike Crater Lake here, which is around 3.6 miles out and back with an elevation gain of 700ft and gives a different perspective view of the Maroon Peaks. You can also read our blog post about Maroon Bells: (insert link here)
Between Leadville and Aspen on Highway 82, there is a most scenic mountain road known as Independence Pass. When this road was first opened in 1881, it was known as Hunter Pass. Later it was named ‘Independence Pass’ as a remembrance of the nearby gold-mining settlement. This road is open only for certain months of the year. If you are visiting Aspen in Summer, driving this 32-mile road is a must to do. This road is so scenic that you may end up taking a lot of stops and enjoying the surrounding beauty.
While driving from Independence Pass to Aspen, Grottos Trail is one of the stoppages you should take. It is located along the road and an easy short forest hike that will take you to a waterfall and ice caves. You can hike 0.5 miles to Grottos rocks and make a loop on your way back. Be careful if you decide to go down to the ice cave.
Ashcroft Ghost Town
Located about 12 miles south of Aspen, Ashcroft Ghost House is an interesting place to visit near Aspen. This silver mining town was established in the 1880s and once upon a time it was bigger than Aspen in population and length of the town. The town had a school, sawmills, courthouse, about 20 saloons- which all went bust after a few years and never recovered. Today this town is an abandoned place and turned into a sort of open-air museum. This town was included as a National Register Historic Site in the 1970s. You should include this historical beautifully preserved ghost town in your places to visit in Aspen list.
Explore Aspen town
I love the vibe of Aspen. There is a certain ‘happening’ vibe in this town that makes people happy and vibrant. Aspen may be now famous as a ski destination, but once upon a time, it was an alpine mining town full of history. You can enjoy a guided downtown walking tour to know more about this Victorian west-end of town. You can also take the ski-history tour during ski season if you are particularly interested in history. You can also visit Wheeler Opera House, Hotel Jerome, two of Aspen’s showstoppers. It would be amazing to experience traditional opera or any classical performances in this Opera House, one of the wild west’s most notable landmarks. Overall, Aspen is a very lively mountain town. Even roaming around the town, window shopping, eating in the restaurants are also quite fun here. You can also rent a bike or go for a guided tour to explore the town fully.
One of the most amazing things to do in Aspen is the Silver Queen Gondola, which will take you to the top of the Aspen Mountains straight from the town center. You will be able to experience some of the most incredible views of Aspen standing on the sundeck at 11,200 ft elevation. You can experience this one with your friends and family.
There are many hiking trails in and near Aspen that you can explore as a part of your trip. Also, biking, mountain biking, and visiting the Lost Forest can be good options for outdoor activities. Particularly the Lost forest- you can take your kids with you. There are a lot of interesting activities including rope challenges, biking trails, alpine coaster, fishing ponds, climbing walls, etc.