Ride the Gondolas
We will admit to our bias on this one, but when you consider all you can do atop Aspen Mountain and at Elk Camp on Snowmass, the Perfect Summer Package makes for a pretty good deal.
For $37 a person (or $30 a person when you purchase at least 7 days in advance), you get three days of unlimited gondola rides (and access to all the requisite free activities on the mountain), your bus ticket to the Maroon Bells, a $10 dining voucher to use at Sundeck or Elk Camp Restaurant, and a $5 dining credit at the Limelight Hotel.. Deals on bike rentals can be added as well. What can't be quantified with a price? That view from atop the Silver Queen Gondola.
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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.
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.
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.
Hike 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.
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.
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.