There’s something special about celebrating the Fourth of July in Aspen. It’s the height of summer and the snow has finally melted from all of the best hiking trails, hot days are followed by cool nights, and there’s usually (fingers crossed!) not a cloud in the sky. Here are 10 ways to celebrate the day:
1. Boogie’s Buddy Race
Lace up your running shoes and hit the pavement early for the 31st annual Boogie's Buddy Race, hosted by Aspen's own Buddy Program. The Buddy Program is an organization dedicating the valley's youth through mentoring. Choose between the classic and USA Track + Field certified race and the family- and canine-friendly one-mile walk. Click below to learn more about Boogie's Buddy Race, or sign up to volunteer here!
2. THE OLD FASHIONED FOURTH OF JULY PARADE
Starting at 11 a.m. sharp, find a good spot downtown to watch the festivities and wear your very best red, white and blue. Parking downtown can be a challenge, so it’s recommended to either take the bus (RFTA) or use WE-cycle.\
3. THE DEVIL'S PUNCHBOWL
Drive up Highway 82 toward Independence Pass for about nine miles, and you’ll see a parking area for the Grottos Trailhead on the right. A short hike to the Ice Caves and you’re sure to see people jumping off the rocks. Beware of high waters and remember that the water is very, very cold.
4. THE ASPEN MUSIC FESTIVAL AND SCHOOL’S FREE FOURTH OF JULY CONCERT
Head to Benedict music tent to listen to some of your patriotic favorites like, “The Star Spangled Banner,” “Yankee Doodle,” and “Liberty for All.” Music starts at 4 p.m.
5. ROAD BIKE TO THE MAROON BELLS
Buckle up those bike shoes and don your best spandex for the 18-mile-round-trip bike ride up to the infamous Maroon Bells. The climb to the top is worth it for a view of Colorado’s most-photographed wilderness scene. OR, for those less interested in a long ride, take the bus from Aspen Highlands to the Bells and walk around the trails near Maroon Lake.
6. AVSC’S FOURTH OF JULY PICNIC
Join Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club in Koch Lumber Park (corner of Garmisch & Cooper Ave) for a classic barbecue, with a side of snow cones, kid’s games, and even a beer garden. $20 for adults; $15 for kids 10 and under.
7. AN AFTERNOON AT THE ART MUSEUM
With free admission, there’s no reason you shouldn’t walk through the Aspen Art Museum. Explore the three floors of exhibits and don’t forget to grab a cappuccino at the cafe on the top floor, the views of Aspen on the outdoor patio don’t hurt, either.
8. DINE OUTSIDE AND PEOPLE WATCH
The Fourth of July is one of Aspen’s busiest times of the year. Head to a restaurant like The Grey Lady, Ajax Tavern or The Red Onion and try to score seats on the patio. Choose from summer classics like a lobster roll (The Grey Lady), truffle fries (Ajax Tavern) or a pulled pork sandwich (The Red Onion) and watch the throngs of visitors (and their dogs) enjoy an afternoon in Aspen.
9. HIKE AMERICAN LAKE
What’s more patriotic than hiking up to American Lake on the Fourth of July? Take Castle Creek Road for 10 miles, before turning into the parking lot on the right. The hike is 5.9 miles long, but if you start after lunch, there’s still plenty of time to enjoy a barbecue with friends later in the evening.
Kick things off with a free, community street dance on the Mill Street/Cooper Ave. Mall at 8 p.m.