Aspen is one of Colorado’s most popular high-end destinations with amazing scenery, festivals, terrific shopping, and fantastic restaurants. Known for its skiing and snowboarding amongst four different resorts, the town is often thought of as primarily a winter destination. While winter is a wonderful season to visit, there are plenty of things to do year-round. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the trail system for various levels of hiking, biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, camping, or rafting; while visitors looking for other opportunities can take part in one of the local festivals, take a beautiful gondola ride, or pay a visit to the art museum.
We have put together a list of some of our favorite things to do in Aspen for every season of the year. Learn why the Aspen area offers a plethora of things to do year-round.
ASPEN IN WINTER
Aspen is at its prime in the winter season with unparalleled scenery and breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains. Winter skiing and snowboarding are at their peak, and there are special events to add to the fun. Aspen Gay Ski Week, the Winter X Games, and Wintersköl offer more opportunities for fun that are outside of skiing or riding the slopes, while the town begins to take on the idyllic look of Aspen with its picturesque beauty and snow-capped peaks.
Skiing & Snowboarding
The biggest draw to Aspen in the winter is, of course, its world-renowned skiing and snowboarding. Once opening day has arrived, you are certain to feel the energy shift as skiers and snowboarders from all over come to experience what makes Aspen so special. One of the biggest draws to the area is the opportunity to experience 4 different resorts all within the same vicinity and take advantage of what each has to offer.
Known to the locals as AJAX, Aspen Mountain is ideal for experienced skiers and riders with steeper, more advanced runs. The mountain features a variety of terrain, including lots of moguls and groomers all leading to the heart of Aspen.
Aspen Highlands offers the infamous Highland Bowl, many double blacks, and fantastic uphilling if you want to elevate your heart rate.
With over 3,300 acres of terrain for skiers and snowboarders, Snowmass is the most popular of the 4 mountains with on-mountain restaurants as well as a large base village that offers dining and ski-in/ski-out amenities.
Snowmass also offers a well-renowned ski and snowboard school, making it ideal for beginners and well-suited for people of all levels.
Perfect for beginners or families, Buttermilk is a fun mountain that offers a ski school, magic carpet area, and a beginner chairlift. More advanced skiers can enjoy uphill skiing at Tiehack or a bit more advanced skiing off the Tiehack lift which is less crowded on this beginner-friendly mountain.
Winter Events in Aspen
Aspen has been home to this flagship action sports event for the past consecutive 22 years. Held at Buttermilk, this event draws large crowds of spectators who have come to watch the best skiers and snowboarders compete. In addition to the adrenaline-fueled action, there are live DJs and VIP offerings that allow spectators the chance to interact with the world’s best snowsport athletes.
Having celebrated its 46th year, this week-long festival is recognized as the longest-running gay ski week in the nation, and one of the largest LGBTQ+ non-profit fundraisers for Aspen (and the main annual fundraiser for AspenOUT).
Participants are invited to explore all 4 Aspen Snowmass ski areas and attend apres-ski gatherings at local bars as well as “friendship dinners” at restaurants. The event also includes late-night parties such as the highly sought White Party as well as comedy and musical shows.
Currently, in its 72nd year, this 4-day celebration of Aspen’s unique alpine lifestyle offers an eclectic variety of activities including concerts, on-mountain activities, Soupsköl™, a torchlight descent down Aspen Mountain, and a bonfire and fireworks.
ASPEN IN SPRING
Often called the secret season, locals know springtime is one of the best times to be in Aspen. As the crowds dissipate, the atmosphere becomes more tranquil and relaxed while still offering plenty to do.
Spring Skiing & Snowboarding
Spring ski days are something special. Nothing beats skiing or riding on a warm bluebird day when you don’t even need a snow jacket as you cruise down the slopes under sunny blue skies. March and April in Aspen offer warmer temperatures, plenty of snow, and a great sunny apres ski scene. Amazing powder days are still accessible as springtime often brings big spring snowstorms for those eager to get the last turns in before the season ends. If the snow sticks around, bonus weekends will be announced after the typical season closure in mid-April.
Discounted Lodging, Shopping, and Dining
With smaller crowds, lodging prices are at their most reasonable in the spring. This season is a great time to take advantage of spring dining specials and open seating in Aspen’s famed dining scene. Local discounts are also available in many of downtown’s multiple retail shops as well as discounted spa treatments and class rates at local spas and studios.
Take advantage of the pleasant temperatures by enjoying the beauty of the season. Whitewater rafting, kayaking, paddleboarding, paragliding, road cycling, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, rock climbing, and horseback riding are popular spring activities.
ASPEN IN SUMMER
While winter is the most popular time to visit Aspen, summer is a close second. With unbeatable temperatures that hover around the 70s and 80s, the weather is one of the highlights. The summer season also offers plenty to do in the way of activities and special events.
The summer season brings lots of people to this area and for good reason. These iconic bell-shaped peaks offer breathtaking views along with the opportunity to enjoy outdoor adventures such as fishing, camping, mountain biking, and hiking with numerous trails of varying difficulty. While this area gets crowded in the warmer months, it’s definitely a must-see destination.
Aspen Mountain offers multiple activities and events that are family-friendly in the summer season. Take a trip up to the mountain top on the Silver Queen Gondola and enjoy the amazing scenery, then play disc golf course on the world’s highest disc golf course or enjoy lunch at the Sundeck!
Bluegrass Sundays are another event held at the top of the mountain. Ride the gondola or hike up and enjoy live music and activities for the kids. It’s a fantastic event held against the majestic backdrop of the Elk Mountain Range.
Aspen Saturday Market
The Aspen Farmer’s Market runs from mid-June through mid-October on Saturdays from 8:30AM-2:00PM. Featuring Colorado-grown fruits, vegetables, bread, meats, cheeses, flowers, and homemade crafts, the market is a great way to support local artisans.
Whether looking for a special gift or a great way to shop local, the Aspen Saturday Farmer’s Market is sure to have something for everyone.
Learn more about the market and vendors on their website.
Summer in Aspen brings with it amazing opportunities to check out amazing educational events such as the annual FOOD & WINE Classic, the Aspen Ideas Festival, and the Aspen Music Festival. Whether you are a lover of amazing food and wine, fantastic classical music, or thought-provoking discussions led by amazing cultural leaders, there are many opportunities to attend special summer events that are unique to the Aspen area.
Obviously one of the best advantages Aspen has in the warm summer weather is the opportunity to get outdoors. With a multitude of trails for hiking and biking, rivers and lakes for rafting, paddleboarding, kayaking, or fishing, or even just areas for casual exploration, Aspen is your playground. The warm temperatures mean longer days and more chances to fully immerse in the beauty of the mountains and gorgeous scenery.
ASPEN IN FALL
With its crisp mountain air and sunshine-filled days, fall is one of the most spectacular times of the year to visit Aspen. The weather is mild and the ski crowds have not yet arrived, so lodging tends to be less expensive than in the winter, though you will still see plenty of visitors. Many people have learned that this is a magical time to experience Aspen and bask in the fantastic fall temperatures and eye-catching beauty that is on display in the mountains.
One of the biggest draws to the Aspen area in the fall is to watch the changing of the leaves. As the foliage begins to change, entire mountainsides appear to glow in the golden hue of the aspen leaves.
There are several ways to check out the fall leaves while visiting Aspen. Shuttle or bike up Hwy 82 to Maroon Bells and take in this iconic scenery, or head up Hunter Creek Trail and catch the aspens in various states of transformation. Heading into Snowmass Village is also a spectacular sight as the thousands of aspens that drape across Snowmass Mountain are blazing with gold. You can also check out the ghost town of Ashcroft and Castle Creek Road for more autumnal beauty. Regardless of where you decide to go, there are plenty of opportunities to catch nature at its finest.
Hiking and Nature Walks
Fall is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the brisk air and colors before the snow arrives. Take a mellow walk along the Roaring Fork, or opt for a more strenuous hike along Government Trail, American Lake Trail, the Lost Man Loop, or Sunnyside. Take in spectacular views and beautiful crisp alpine air, but make certain to check the forecast. Trails are typically snow free at this time of year, but overnight dustings are possible. Dressing in layers is also advised as temperatures tend to fluctuate (sometimes drastically) throughout the day!
Mountain biking is a favorite fall activity in the mountains. In fact, the Roaring Fork Valley is deemed a Gold Level Ride Center by the International Mountain Bicycling Association. From cross-country trails to downhill courses to easy enjoyable rides, there’s something for all levels.
Aspen Saturday Market
The market is still open and brimming with fun through October. Listen to live music and sample farm-to-table foods as well as fresh fall produce in a less crowded and more laid-back atmosphere than the summer season.
PLANNING YOUR ASPEN VACATION
Regardless of when you are planning on visiting Aspen or what activities you have planned, staying downtown will help you get the most out of your vacation. At Aspen Square, we offer the convenience of walking to the mountains, hiking trails, downtown restaurants, shopping, and special events. We are located just a block from the main free skier bus terminal which will take you to Buttermilk, Snowmass, or Aspen Highlands, with the Aspen Mountain gondola situated only one block away.
Explore our Aspen condo rentals to view our available rentals and start planning. Reach out to Aspen Square’s Reservations desk (email@example.com) if you need assistance in booking your stay with us.