06/2018

1. Maroon Bells

Maroon Bells at Aspen Snowmass
Maroon Bells at Aspen Snowmass

North America’s most photographed mountains are a ‘must see’ when in Aspen Snowmass. If you are able – drive up for sunrise and take a walk around Maroon Lake to fully enjoy the reflection of the Bells in the lake at dawn’s break. For more adventure, continue hiking past Maroon Lake up to Crater Lake (about 45 minutes on a medium to difficult steep grade, rocky hike) for an even more stunning view of the Bells! The name “Colorado” is Spanish for the ‘color red’ – hence the reddish maroon in the Maroon Bells. To avoid sounding like a clueless tourist, never ask the question: “When do the maroon bells ring?” — but it could make a funny Instagram comment.

2. Red Mountain

Top 5 Instagrammable Locations of Aspen Snowmass
Top 5 Instagrammable Locations of Aspen Snowmass

Head up to one of the fanciest neighborhoods in Aspen and you will have an equally grand view of the quaint town of Aspen with a stunning backdrop of Aspen Mountain — and the Elk mountains further in the distance. Drive up Red Mountain Road as if you are headed to the Hunter Creek trailhead parking lot. A ways before the trailhead, stop at a stretch where one can pull off on the side of the road, right before a private residence mailbox at the top of a sloped driveaway. Here you can stop alongside the road to take in the full picturesque view. An Instagram story from this locale is sure to get tons of ‘likes.’

3. Top of Tiehack – Buttermilk

Top 5 Instagrammable Locations of Aspen Snowmass
Top 5 Instagrammable Locations of Aspen Snowmass

Hike up Buttermilk — or the Tiehack side of Buttermilk — for one of the best views of Pyramid Point and the Maroon Valley. The hike is steep and can take up to 1.5 to 2 hours. You will wind your way up a dirt road dipping into aspen groves, passing fields of wildflowers and possibly viewing some local wildlife. The view at the top is picnic-worthy, so be sure to pack some charcuterie and gewürztraminer (a favorite aromatic white picnic wine from the Alsace region of France) to sip at the picnic tables up top. You will feel as if you’ve been transported to the Alps.

Don’t be alarmed if you hear a loud chime - it’s not the maroon bells ringing, it’s a retired ‘wok turned gong’ that hangs next to the Cliffhouse’s Asian stir fry restaurant (closed outside of ski season). Make sure to stamp ‘volume up’ on this ‘gram.

4. Top of Elk Camp Chairlift – Snowmass

Top 5 Instagrammable Locations of Aspen Snowmass
Top 5 Instagrammable Locations of Aspen Snowmass

Take the Elk Camp gondola from the base of Snowmass Village to the Elk Camp restaurant where you will then board a fresh air chairlift ride to the top at 11,325 feet. Magnificent panoramic views, including the Maroon Bells in the distance will greet you. There are interactive trail maps with hiking and biking trails, as well as a coaster and zip lines to keep you active dur mag your day at Snowmass. Look out for abundant wildflowers spread over the landscape and the Rosy Finch – a unique bird that flocks exclusively to the Snowmass area.

5. Top of Ute Trail

Behold a dazzling bird’s eye view of Aspen after a challenging 30-45 minute uphill hike — complete with switchbacks, tight turns and a craggy peak. You will look and feel almighty at the finish overlooking a vast view of Independence Pass on one side, the town of Aspen below and the down valley views off to the west. Optional: You can continue hiking upwards to reach the top of Aspen Mountain and the Sundeck restaurant if you wish to keep going up another hour and a half or so.

Top tip for your pic: on Saturdays enjoy classical music and on Sundays, Bluegrass, lounging in Adirondack chairs outside of the Sundeck.

About the Author

Lea Tucker
Lea Tucker

LEA TUCKER

Prior to launching her own creative firm, Lea Tucker earned her chops managing international public relations for the Aspen Skiing Company for 9 years. When she’s not building creative communication campaigns for her clients, Lea can be found playing in the great outdoors: skiing, hiking, camping and en plein air watercolor painting. Lea also dabbles as a wildflower identifier, gourmet-backpacking chef, beachcomber, reader and writer.

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