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Aspen Mountain Gondola
17 Sep 2020
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You’re planning a vacation to Aspen Snowmass, but you’re not sure how to schedule everything you’d like to do. That’s both the benefit and the challenge of visiting a mountain town paradise. The great thing is, no matter your inclinations or your age, Aspen Snowmass has something you can be sure to enjoy while here.

Choosing where to stay may be your biggest decision. You’ll want to make sure that regardless of where you adventure out during the day, your lodging base is both convenient and snug. We’ll help you evaluate your requirements so that you can make an informed decision when choosing whether to stay in Aspen or in Snowmass.


Getting to Aspen Easily

You can’t dispute the convenience of staying in downtown Aspen. Downtown Aspen hotels and vacation properties are a short 10-minute ride from the Aspen Airport (Sardy Field), and you’ll easily be able to walk and bike to numerous activities and events (free WE-cycle bikeshare rides, anyone?) once you’re there. And Aspen’s free in-town bus system makes it easy to ride to activities on the far side of town. The Rubey Park Transit Station is less than two blocks from Aspen Square and maps with bus routes are easily available in our lobby.

Hike-able, Bike-able, Bus-able 

From downtown, you can hike to some epic views in just a couple of hours without a complicated itinerary — both Smuggler Mountain Overlook and Aspen Mountain are within city limits. Downtown Aspen’s streets are bike-friendly, and you can bike towards Independence Pass on the East Aspen trail, along the Rio Grande Trail, or head to the Maroon Bells if you’re planning a longer ride from your front door.  If you’d rather bus, the City of Aspen has seven free Roaring Fork Transit Authority (RFTA) shuttle routes for accessing shopping or the slopes (AJAX, Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass). During the winter, skier shuttles run from Rubey Park every 15 minutes all day until 4:30 pm. The Snowmass bus runs late into the evening seven days a week.

Gondola Access

When you stay in downtown Aspen, you’ll find the Silver Queen Gondola within walking distance from virtually any point. In fact, the Aspen Square is directly across the street from the Gondola Plaza. Visitors can get to the top of Aspen Mountain quickly during the warmer months (for summit views, a snack, disc golf, and even mountaintop yoga) and throughout the winter (for hassle-free skiing and snowboarding). 

Ongoing and Annual Events

One of the biggest perks to choosing a rental in Aspen is the variety of nearby events and activities on any given day of the week. Whether you’re a film buff, a foodie, or a fan of live music, you’ll have your pick of restaurants, unique boutiques and galleries, and events at surrounding venues. You’ll be close enough to it all, you can even hit several events in one evening!


Getting to Snowmass Easily

Getting to a vacation rental in Snowmass can mean a short 20-minute shuttle ride from Sardy Field airport. Driving to Snowmass is a little less convenient, though, since Brush Creek Road is the main route both in and out of the town. Once you’ve settled into Snowmass Village, however, you’ll easily be able to access Snowmass activities, and if you want, you can take the free RFTA bus ride to Aspen for its livelier nightlife.

Hike-able, Bike-able, Bus-able

The main hikes in Snowmass are Snowmass Mountain itself and the Rim Trail. Other popular hikes include the Tom Blake Trail, the Ditch Trail and the Vista Trail. Cyclists can ride along paved paths, while mountain bikers can downhill at Snowmass Bike Park, part of the Roaring Fork Valley’s MTB offerings (an official Gold Medal Ride Center) or challenge themselves with the single-track Government Trail. Getting to anything beyond Base Village or the Snowmass Mall is a bit more difficult in Snowmass; destinations such as Clark’s Market, the Nordic Center, and Anderson Ranch Arts Center aren’t easily walkable along Brush Creek Road. That said, you’ll still be able to ride the free Village Shuttle around Snowmass if you need to leave Base Village itself. 

Gondola Access

Once you’re at Base Village, you’ll find the Elk Camp Gondola operating year-round. Head up to Elk Camp Meadows and Elk Camp Restaurant for food, the Lost Forest (including the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster), or stay for Friday Ullr Nights at Elk Camp. The Gondola is also the way you and your bike will bypass the strenuous uphill journey to opt for downhill-only fun.

Ongoing and Annual Events

While activities in Snowmass are generally fewer than in Aspen in summer, you’ll come to enjoy the comfort and convenience of Base Village if you choose to stay there. You’ll get a closeup of the annual September Snowmass Balloon Festival, walk to weekly concerts at Fanny Hill, and stretch your travel-weary form at Yoga on the Mountain. And in Base Village and the Snowmass Mall, there are lots of winter activities too, from ice skating to the indoor climbing wall, and of course, fantastic skiing and boarding all winter. 


Truthfully, there’s no wrong choice when you’re planning a stay at the Aspen Snowmass resort. Whether you choose Aspen or Snowmass as your base, the other is just a 25-minute drive or bus ride away. That said, if you’re hoping to pack as much as possible into a short week or longer visit, and enjoy fun nightlife and plenty of entertainment options, staying at Aspen Square in downtown Aspen allows you to maximize your activities within walking distance of our hotel.  Reach out to Aspen Square’s Reservations desk ( if you need assistance in booking your stay with us. Guests can contact our concierge staff ( for advice and assistance in choosing activities, purchasing event tickets or making restaurant reservations.