A Little Place Called Aspen
We decided to take a trip some place warm, a place where the beer flows like wine, where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. We’re talking about a little place called Aspen!
This place definitely lives up to it’s reputation. Breathtakingly beautiful views, cute/walkable downtown area, and… expensive. But, we can 100% say it’s worth the drive and the expense - and you can always find ways to make your trip more affordable along the way.
So, we’re going to highlight some things we’ve done while visiting Aspen in the past, and give suggestions (where we can) on ways to get there but not break the bank!
Visit Maroon Bells
It wouldn’t be a trip to Aspen without visiting the Maroon Bells. They’re the most photographed peaks in all of North America because, well, just look at them! Here are some things we wished we would have known ahead of time (and could have easily known because it’s on their website— oops!):
You have to take a shuttle into the park, they will not allow personal vehicles to drive between 8 AM and 5 PM. You park in a designated lot (paid) and pay for a shuttle ticket (I believe this was $8 a person). The shuttle DOES allow dogs!
While it is extremely beautiful, everyone else knows this as well and it is pretty highly trafficked. A lot of people are standing in the areas for photographs and you may have to wait a bit to get your perfect shot.
There are only a few hikes easily accessible from where the bus drops you off, there is the Maroon Bells Scenic Trail which is more of a “nature walk” around the lake, and the Crater Lake Trail which is a 3.6 mile moderately difficult out and back trail.
There are campgrounds inside the park that are first come first serve! If we had planned ahead a bit better, we could have driven in between the off hours (i.e., 5 PM- 8 AM) and set up camp. (This would have also made our trip MUCH cheaper!).
Bike the Rio Grande Trail to Woody Creek Tavern
This is a must when you’re in Aspen! We’ve done this bike ride multiple times and it never gets old. We always bring our bikes, but there are also places you can rent bikes in downtown Aspen. From downtown, it’s just a short ride to the start of the path. The Rio Grande Trail is an easy ride and provides scenic views of the Roaring Forks River and the mountains. You are rewarded with delicious margs at Hunter S Thompson’s favorite hangout, Woody Creek Tavern. The eclectic tavern is a must, with photos and memorabilia covering the walls and Christmas lights and disco balls hanging from the ceiling. Round trip, the bike ride is about 14 miles (7 miles each way).
Grab a cold one at Aspen Brewing Company
Another must - this brewery is located in the heart of downtown. It’s a small space, but we didn’t have any trouble finding a seat! We loved stopping there for a beer and enjoying the view from their patio. Check out their current taps here!
UsE the Mountain Passport
There weren’t too many locations on the Mountain Passport actually located in Aspen, but there were a few, which made hopping around downtown more affordable and allowed us to check out more locations! We stopped in at the Marble Bar, inside of the Hyatt for some seriously impressive craft cocktails all featuring Marble Spirits! They’re a distilling company located in Carbondale, and they we love their stuff, so we were pleasantly surprised. If you know you’ll be staying in mountain towns over the summer, we highly recommend the Mountain Passport just as a way to explore & grab 2 for 1 drinks!
Every time we go to Aspen, we find more and more things to do and areas to explore. As we were leaving town towards Independence Pass, we saw people floating down a river— and said “next time, we have to do that!”
What are your favorite things to do in Aspen? We’d love to hear your ideas!