Aspen & Snowmass On A Budget (Summer Edition)

Aspen Snowmass on a Budget Summer

Though Aspen is known for its glitz and glam, planning a trip here doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, there are quite a few ways to stay within budget while visiting the Roaring Fork Valley. Here are a few inside tips to help you plan an exciting, yet affordable vacation this summer.


Stay Aspen Snowmass

Arguably the most expensive part of any trip, lodging can be a headache to find. But, it doesn’t have to be!

Book your trip through Stay Aspen Snowmass, the official central reservations of Aspen Snowmass, for the best selection of local properties and lodging + activity package options. Their knowledgeable and friendly staff will help you find the perfect lodging for your vacation needs.
As a bonus for booking, you can cash in on a variety of promotions from the Lost Forest to Snowmass Bike Park and everything in between. Adventure awaits with zip lines, bike trails, rope challenges and more.

Here is a brief look at some of the best lodging package offers for the summer:


Just interested in booking activities? Don’t worry, there are still ways to do it on the cheap.

Hiking Guide - Aspen Snowmass
The Sightseeing Package is one of the best deals out there. This offer includes two days of gondola access and food and beverage discounts at the Sundeck on top of Aspen Mountain. Sightseeing is free for children ages 3 & under.

For guests booking at least seven days out, Aspen Snowmass is offering 20% off select Lost Forest and Snowmass Bike Park activities, bike rentals from Four Mountain Sports, and the Sightseeing Package. Learn more about info, dates and rates.

+ Learn more about the Sightseeing Package

Summer Free concerts
Attend a Free Concert
It’s hard to imagine two mountain towns that love live music more than Aspen and Snowmass Village. Throughout the summer, you’ll find plenty of live music, including free concerts atop Aspen Mountain (Bluegrass Sundays, free with purchase of a gondola ticket) and in Snowmass Village with their Summer Free Music Series.

The Aspen Music Festival and School also offers a variety of free performances around town throughout the season.

Summer ghost town Aspen Snowmass
Visit a Ghost Town
To take a proper glimpse of the area’s mining history, visit a ghost town. Two in particular — Ashcroft (located up Castle Creek Road) and Independence (off Hwy. 82 just west of Independence Pass) — are easily accessible and offer a haunting look at what happened when the bottom fell out of the silver boom. Independence is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Summer play downtown Aspen Snowmass
Let the Kids Play Downtown
Parents of active kids can take them to the rock climbing-themed Wagner Park playground or the nearby water fountains at Hyman Avenue and Mill Street. Park benches, plenty of shade and great people watching make this an appealing place to chill out for a couple of hours. The fountains were originally installed in 1979 and were revolutionary (well, at least in aquasculpting circles) for being the world’s first dancing fountains controlled by a computer.

Smuggler Hike, Aspen, Colorado
In addition to the promotions listed above, Aspen boasts miles of trail, and is the epitome of a hiker’s paradise. With everything from easy, paved paths to difficult hikes, there is something for everyone.

The Rio Grande Trail is both a biking and hiking trail, it starts behind the Post Office on Puppy Smith Road. The first two miles of the trail are paved, and then turns to dirt. Meanwhile, the Hunter Creek Trail begins on Lone Pine Road east of the apartments. You can also access the trail directly off the Rio Grande. Upper portions of the trail weave through alpine meadows, and pass several abandoned homestead cabins.

Finally, there is the Smuggler Trail. Beginning at the bottom of Smuggler Mountain Road, this trail is short but sweet, and easily one of the most popular hikes around Aspen ending at a beautiful lookout overlooking Aspen Mountain. Take time to enjoy the scenery before continuing to hike (Hunter Creek Trail connects at the top), or heading back into town for a meal.

Summer hiking Aspen Snowmass
Hiking in the Wilderness
Whether you head up one of the popular trails that originate at Maroon Lake or climb up Snowmass Creek valley to Snowmass Lake, the wild and vividly-colored Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness offers unparalleled scenery.

On the road to Independence Pass, you’ll find a two trailheads that access the rugged Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness. Trails to Lost Man Lake, Linkins Lake and Independence Lake pass by numerous cascades and flower-filled meadows, making for a great day hike.

The hiking trails due east of Aspen are adored by locals, but often overlooked by visitors. The aptly named East of Aspen Trail is a good, mellow alternative, passing by beaver ponds, willows and the oxbow waters of the Roaring Fork River.


ACES Nature Programs
Join an ACES Program
The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies is a cherished nonprofit that educates and inspires locals and visitors to better understand our unique Rocky Mountain ecology. And best of all, their daily hikes with a naturalist in summer are free.
Daily on the hour from 11am to 3pm from atop Aspen Mountain, naturalists will take you through the scenic meadows and forests and share a wealth of information. Hikes last for 45 minutes and cover about 1 mile in distance.

Summer cruiser bike Aspen Snowmass
Go for a Cruiser Bike Ride
You don’t have to be a major gearhead to enjoy cycling in Aspen. While many cyclists flock to the area for the famous ride to Maroon Bells or the tour-de-force climb up Independence Pass, more low-key riders can take a cruiser bike around town or down valley along the Rio Grande Trail. You can either rent a bike from Four Mountain Sports, or with a quick ride on a WeCycle bike (30-minute maximum). Also, guests of the Limelight Hotel have access to the hotel’s fleet of cruiser bikes.

Summer at Aspen Snowmass is in a league of its own. Talk with any local and they’ll likely tell you that while they love winter, they really love summer. As the saying goes, “move here for the winter, stay for the summer.” Take advantage of the summer promotions offered this season, and be sure to make the most of your trip here.

Published July 2019

About The Author

Writer Katherine Keel


Katherine Keel has been telling stories since she could talk. A former Division I swimmer, she ditched the pool for the Rocky Mountains shortly after graduating from the University of North Carolina, armed with a journalism degree and a faint knowledge of how to ski. She quickly fell in love with the sport, and recently moved to Aspen to be closer to fresh turns and high peaks. Never short of ideas, she’s always scheming up another adventure… or the next great meal.

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