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Outdoor Activities

One of the great joys for visitors and locals alike is being in Aspen’s magnificent natural surroundings. Winter or summer, Aspen’s natural beauty beckons everyone outside to play. Whether you seek adventure and challenge in your athletic pursuits, or just like to stroll through town looking at the mountains, every season offers nearly limitless opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. And Aspen Square’s central location across from the base of Aspen Mountain is the perfect jumping off point.

Winter

Aspen is internationally renowned as a winter playground and outdoor activities clearly center on skiing and snowboarding on the four mountains of Aspen Snowmass: Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass. Each mountain has its own distinct personality and unique terrain, which gives the resort great breadth and variety of experience for skiers and boarders of all ability levels. Free skier shuttles run all day from Rubey Park Transportation Center taking visitors to the other ski mountains, making sampling each area an easy proposition. When planning an Aspen ski vacation, check out our ski vacation packing list for a few recommendations.

But there is more to enjoy here in the winter besides downhill skiing and boarding. Cross country skiing trails wind throughout Aspen and Snowmass. Sleigh rides, dog-sledding, snowmobile tours, snowcat dinners and snowshoe tours can all be arranged by our concierge staff during your stay. For people who like to glide on the ice, Aspen boasts three ice skating venues—the Silver Circle Ice Rink in downtown Aspen, the Aspen Ice Garden in west Aspen and the Aspen Recreation Center, located on Maroon Creek Road just outside of town.

Summer

You might think that you couldn’t top the number of outdoor activities winter offers. But you’d be wrong! Summer weather ushers in nearly limitless opportunities and excuses for being outside. With warm, dry daytime temperatures and plenty of sunshine, Aspen summers are the ideal environment for outdoor activity.

Getting around town in summer can be as easy as hopping on a bike. Whether you prefer a flat roadbike trail like the Rio Grande, or a demanding, adventurous single-track mountain-bike ride, like the Government Trail that runs from Snowmass to Aspen, there are plenty of places to rent bikes and helmets, obtain trail maps and head out for the day.

Intrepid guests may find opportunities for backcountry jeep tours, rock climbing up Independence Pass, paragliding over Aspen Mountain, balloon rides, river rafting with Blazing Adventures and horseback riding day trips. In addition to whitewater rafting, guests can explore the river on a kayaking adventure. You can even plan a kid-friendly paintball party in Snowmass or a Frisbee golf game atop Aspen Mountain or in Snowmass.

History buffs can learn about Aspen’s silver mining days by taking a mine tour or a walking tour of Aspen’s West End neighborhood presented by the Aspen Historical Society. And hikers can easily access in-town hiking trails or plan for day-long hikes like Conundrum, up Castle Creek Road, or the Sunnyside Trail with its trail head just off of Cemetery Lane.

Traditional summer pursuits like golf, fly fishing, tennis, and swimming are all available in the Aspen area, just ask the concierge staff for help in arranging tee times, court reservations or fly-fishing outfitters during your stay.

Fall

The fall season in Aspen is an ideal time to explore scenic hiking trails, go on a bike ride to the Maroon Bells, enjoy a hot air balloon ride, and take in the beautiful aspen fall colors. The aspen trees change from green to yellow anywhere between mid-September to mid-October, with the peak season fluctuating each year depending upon fall weather.

Aspen hiking trails light up in the fall season from the bright golden color of the aspen surrounding trees. Going on a fall hike in the high country affords spectacular mountain views and opportunities to take stunning photographs of the fall foliage. A few recommended fall hikes include American Lake Trail, Cathedral Lake Trail, Crater Lake Trail near the Maroon Bells, and the Smuggler Mountain Trail just outside of downtown Aspen.

In addition to hiking, many summer activities, like mountain biking, fly fishing, horseback riding, and jeep tours, can still be enjoyed during the fall months. The fall is also a great time to play a round of golf or a match of tennis at the Aspen Golf Course & Tennis Club. With cooler fall temperatures, fewer people, and abundant sunshine, fall is perfect time for being in the outdoors in Aspen.

As you can see, Aspen is an amazing place in which to enjoy our scenic surroundings in any season of the year. And it’s one of the many reasons that people flock to Aspen for memorable vacations year after year.