Maroon mountains, trembling trees and white water — get a summertime Rocky Mountain high in Aspen, Colorado.
You can hike through mythic stands of trembling trees, bike down hills through purple mountains, and see the vast reach of the Colorado Rockies when you visit Aspen, the small town where the rich and famous live the high life.
Named for the striking white-barked trees of the same name, Aspen, Colorado is best known as a ski paradise for the jet set. But it draws all kinds of visitors in the warmer months when it becomes a haven for adventurers.
We can arrange mountain biking, hiking and white-water rafting journeys for you, but there’s plenty to see and do even if you aren’t ready to hit the trails. You can take a drive through Independence Pass, a high road above the treeline at 3,687 m (12,095 ft) that opens to vast, lonely vistas. Aspen itself is a pedestrian-friendly town, with plenty of boutiques, high-end restaurants and cultural destinations to explore.
Aspen is an impressive sight in the warmer months, when the bright white bark of the eponymous trees stands out against the green or vibrant yellow of their leaves. Set amid evergreens that climb the lower slopes of the surrounding mountains, they form part of a singular landscape in the Colorado Rockies, which are often snow-frosted even as wildflowers proliferate over the meadows in July. At a height of 2,400 m (8,000 ft), the former silver mining town is now a playground for the celebrity jet set — and a luxe and inviting setting for rest and relaxation after your adventures.
Hit the Bells
The two major mountain peaks in the area — North and South Maroon Peak — are known as the Maroon Bells for both their distinctive hue and their bell-like shape. Because these mountains were formed from sedimentary layers of mud rather than granite and limestone, they have a deep-purple, layered appearance, particularly near sunset.
In the pristine wilderness surrounding the Maroon Bells, we can arrange a downhill biking trip, or you can take a guided hike for a quieter, more peaceful experience.
Purple mountains and white water
The Roaring Fork is a tributary of the mighty Colorado River, and the Upper section tumbles through the mountains just 15 minutes from Aspen. We can arrange a family-friendly white-water rafting trip through the rapids for a truly adventurous way to explore the area.
A mountain respite
When your day’s exertions are over, you can visit one of Aspen’s many restaurants and bars, or take in a show at the city’s various arts venues. Aspen’s bus and shuttle system makes it easy to get around without a car, and the streets are very walkable, especially in the warmer months.
Aspen is also a great place to stroll, shop and people-watch if you just need a day of city life between your dips into the wild. On Saturdays from June to October, you can visit the Aspen Market for local produce and artisanal wares.
Best time to visit Aspen
Aspen is best in the summer months of June through early September. June’s snowmelt offers the best rapids for white-water rafting, and in July and August the town hosts many culinary and cultural festivals. The weather is also best for hiking and biking at this time.
In the autumn months, mid-September through October, the mountains are covered in rich autumn hues, including the striking gold of the aspen leaves. Some hotels close up for the between-season, but prices are also lower during this time and crowds less dense.
Suggested itinerary featuring Aspen
This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Aspen, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Aspen
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Aspen
- Vail 40 miles away
- Colorado 73 miles away
- Grand Junction 93 miles away
- Telluride 102 miles away
- Denver 106 miles away
- Estes Park 108 miles away
- Colorado Springs 112 miles away
- Alamosa 131 miles away
- Durango 145 miles away
- Arches National Park 151 miles away
- Moab 153 miles away
- Mesa Verde National Park 163 miles away
- Canyonlands National Park 175 miles away
- Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park 234 miles away
- Utah 245 miles away
- Santa Fe 249 miles away
- Kayenta, Monument Valley 253 miles away
- Torrey 255 miles away
- Wyoming 266 miles away
- Albuquerque 285 miles away
- Salt Lake City 289 miles away
- Page 297 miles away