Aspen, Colorado, is a spectacular mountain town that is a popular destination year-round. It’s a place that has it all. During the winter, it is a famous ski destination, and during the summer, it is an outdoor lover’s paradise.
For a luxury travel advisor with clients who love adventure travel and the great outdoors, Aspen is an ideal destination. There are facilities for all types of adventures. While it is outdoors, it is far from roughing it. There are glitzy resorts and a quaint town to enjoy.
Is Aspen better during the winter or summer?
Here’s a breakdown of each season so you can decide which one is the better fit for your client.
Where to stay in Aspen
Hotel Jerome has been an Aspen staple since 1889. Throughout its lifetime, it has seen many historical events. These include the silver industry’s rise and fall, the great depression, and even cowboys.
Today, the hotel still retains some of that wild west spirit. This historic hotel with modern luxuries has a contemporary design laced with plenty of character.
Guests will find elegantly appointed rooms with breathtaking mountain views.
Walk around the grounds, and you can enjoy delicious dining and a relaxing spa treatment center.
If you’re looking for high-class accommodation right next to the ski slopes, The Little Nell would be perfect for you. It stands out as Aspen’s only five-star and five-diamond hotel.
At The Little Nell, you can’t get any closer to the action. The ski slopes are literally outside your doorstep.
You can find all types of lodgings here, from guestrooms to luxury suites. The threshold for “standard” is quite high here, and even the most “basic” of rooms will be elegant.
Those looking for a grand hotel nestled into the mountains need not look any further than the St. Regis Aspen Resort. It is a five-star experience with incredible skiing and wellness programs.
The hotel rooms have an outstanding town or mountain view. Its décor is modern mountain luxury with terraces where you can enjoy the stunning sights. Each room has marble bathrooms, Ralph Lauren furnishings, and 400-thread-count linens.
Onsite, there are exceptional dining services, including a restaurant with local cuisine and sophisticated cocktails.
Viceroy Snowmass is a world-class ski resort just a few minutes away from Aspen. It lies in the heart of Snowmass Village at the base of some of Aspen’s top ski resorts.
The hotel has accommodations for guests year-round. In the winter, skiing is popular. Throughout the year, guests can enjoy a pool, wellness spa, and café.
The W Aspen is an exciting hotel year-round.
During the winter, you have access to all of Aspen’s top slopes. If you visit during the summer, you can rent a bike at the adjacent shop and go mountain biking. Additionally, you have access to rock climbing, white water rafting, paragliding, museums, and art galleries.
At the hotel, you’ll see its bright, bold, and modern décor. Nothing is boring and stuffy about this hotel. Around the property, there are geometric patterns and unique artwork inspired by the area’s Native American heritage and 60s counterculture.
This retreat has ample room types that are suitable for any kind of guest.
Activities in the summer
Summer is an exciting time to enjoy Aspen’s great outdoors. There are unique activities visitors can participate in during the warmer months. Here are a few you can enjoy:
A scenic place to visit near Aspen during the summer is Maroon Bells. This destination is worth visiting because of its unique bell-shaped maroon peaks that tower over the valley. It’s excellent for hiking and visiting the lake.
World-Class Hiking Trails
The Aspen area is full of world-class hiking trails. There are options for all skill levels surrounding the town. You’ll find everything from easy walks to rigorous all-day hikes.
Saturday Farmer’s Market
Head to the Saturday Farmer’s Market if you are in town on the weekend. You’ll find locally-grown produce, bread, artisanal products, and lunch options during the event. The market is open from 8 am-2 pm.
Silver Queen Gondola
Head up to the top of Aspen Mountain using the Silver Queen Gondola. On top of the mountain, you’ll find the world’s highest disc golf course and hiking and biking trails. You can also enjoy lunch with a view from the top.
Fishing enthusiasts will find excellent fly fishing opportunities surrounding Aspen. On a float or wade trip, you can catch brown trout at the Roaring Fork or Frying Pan river.
A fun way to stay cool during the summer is by paddleboarding. You can do this at Stillwater, Twin Lakes, the Ruedi Reservoir, or the Colorado River at No Name.
Lost Forest Adventure Park
Tucked away in the thick vegetation at Snowmass is the Lost Forest Adventure Park. This recreational center has fishing ponds, hiking trails, an alpine coaster, climbing walls, and ropes challenges suitable for all ages.
Aspen has endless miles of mountain biking trails suitable for beginner and advanced riders alike. You can spend hours speeding down the paths and enjoying the magnificent scenery surrounding you on your way.
See Aspen from above by paragliding above the town. It’s hard to find better panoramic views than from 3,000 feet in the air. Rides last about 15 minutes, and you do not need any prior experience to participate.
If you want to experience a little bit of the wild west, you’ll enjoy the Snowmass Rodeo. You’ll watch cowboys and cowgirls perform stunts like bull riding, barrel racing, ribbon roping, saddle bronc riding, and other rodeo events.
Conundrum Hot Springs
High up in the Maroon Bells wilderness is Conundrum Hot Springs. There is an 8.5-mile (one-way) trek to the hot springs. It’s rigorous, but you’ll have a well-deserved reward waiting for you once you reach the end.
Activities in the winter
When wintertime comes around, the entire Aspen landscape changes. There are a new set of activities to enjoy. Here are some of the top winter activities in Aspen:
Snowshoe through the trails
Walking in a winter wonderland is possible in Aspen when you snowshoe through its trails. A snowshoe tour will take you through fir and spruce forests. Along the way, you can learn about the area’s history and ecology.
Tubing and sledding
Skiing isn’t the only snowsport in town. Tubing and sledding are also popular in Aspen. Places like the Meadows at Elk Camp in Snowmass have great slopes for this activity.
Experiencing the après-ski scene
Sometimes, skiing is only the beginning of the fun. Après-ski (activities and entertainment after skiing) is an integral part of Aspen’s ski culture. You’ll find many venues in Aspen that participate in this tradition.
Experience the magic of winter by taking a sleigh ride in a horse-drawn carriage in Aspen. You can snuggle under a blanket while sipping on hot chocolate during your enchanting journey.
Ice skating is a winter staple almost everywhere, and Aspen is no exception. In Aspen, you can ice skate with the beautiful mountains and twinkling lights surrounding you.
Riders of all levels can enjoy Aspen’s backcountry on a snowmobile. It’s an exhilarating activity for thrillseekers of all ages. One particularly famous snowmobile spot is Maroon Bells.
Fly fishing isn’t just a summer activity. In Aspen, you can go year-round. It’s a great alternative activity to take a break from winter sports and high-energy activities.
Silver Queen Gondola
The views from the Silver Queen Gondola are entirely different in the winter than they are during the summer. You’ll have sweeping views of a snow-covered Aspen from a birdseye perspective.
Smuggler Mountain hiking
If you’re an avid hiker looking for a winter trail near Aspen, Smuggler Mountain is an ideal choice. It’s a challenging 14-mile round trip trail that has a beautiful lake at the end.
Aspen Good Eats
Matsuhisa is a high-quality sushi restaurant with delicious specials curated by Chef Matsuhisa Nobu. You can sample chilled appetizers and hot entrees at this spot.
The Stew Pot (Snowmass)
If your stomach is growling for some hearty American fare, The Stew Pot will hit the spot. They serve delicious soups, stews, and sandwiches to fill you up.
White House Tavern
An intimate restaurant where you can enjoy some premium sandwiches and libations is the White House Tavern. This inviting space is a warm and cozy eatery you can enjoy year-round.
Pine Creek CookHouse
Fill yourself up on some hearty alpine cuisine at the pine Creek CookHouse. This restaurant draws inspiration from its surroundings to serve delicious local cuisine in a stunning setting.
Those looking for a high-quality Italian meal can find one at L’Hostaria. This restaurant has mouthwatering antipasti, pasta, seafood, and meat selections.
Mawa’s Kitchen (ABC)
A great place to grab some healthier fare is Mawa’s Kitchen. The menu has an eclectic mix of internationally inspired food.
For the best ribs and barbeque in town, visit the Hickory House. They have a to-go “picnic pak” menu that you can take on the go with you to enjoy Aspen’s great outdoors.
Il Poggio (Snowmass)
A fantastic option for delicious artisan pizza, pasta, and Italian entrees is Il Poggio in Snowmass. You’ll find high-quality dishes made with fresh ingredients at this restaurant.
When your taste buds are craving something south of the border, try Su Casa. The restaurant has a wide assortment of Mexican dishes that pair perfectly with refreshing beverages.
Bangkok Happy Bowl
Transport your tastebuds to the other side of this planet at the Bangkok Happy Bowl. You’ll find fresh and flavorful Thai dishes at this bistro.
Not feeling like eating heavy? Spring Café has healthy, fresh, and organic menu items that will leave you feeling refreshed after your meal.
A downtown Aspen staple is Pinion’s Restaurant, an eatery serving up elevated traditional American classics. Their dishes center around local and fresh ingredients.
Mi Chola serves delicious Mexican cuisine in an elegant setting. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy a great meal after a long day exploring.