Endless Sunshine and Outdoor Opportunities Make Aspen an Adventurer’s Dream
ASPEN, Colo. — Aspen begins and ends with its love of the outdoors. Spring, summer, and autumn are filled with bluebird skies and warm days perfect for hiking and rock climbing, paragliding adventures, and water activities. Aspen’s trails, rivers, and sky are our legacy, and experiencing Aspen in its simplest form is as easy as opening the front door.
Hiking – Whether searching for a leisurely stroll along a meandering creek or a technical ascent of a “14er” (a peak higher than 14,000 feet), Aspen has hiking trails for all abilities and fitness levels.
Aspen’s local trail system, accessible from the downtown core, is perfect for half-day hikes. Favorites include the Hunter Creek Trail, a beginner to intermediate day hike; Sunnyside Trail, a great spot to see Aspen valley views; and the Ute Trail, a more strenuous hike because of its switchbacks but worthwhile for the views at the summit. Maps of local trails are available at Ute Mountaineer.
The most photographed peaks in North America, the Maroon Bells are known for their rugged splendor and challenging hiking trails, but many visitors opt to spend the day enjoying a picnic beside picturesque Maroon Lake followed by a moderate hike to Crater Lake. Buses depart from Highlands Village throughout the summer and drop visitors at the base of the Maroon Bells, accessing views of the North and South Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak. Reservations are required to access the Maroon Bells Scenic Area and related amenities by vehicle or by RFTA shuttle. Reservations can be made here. Bus information and schedules are available at www.RFTA.com.
• Aspen’s 14ers represent some of the best mountaineering in Colorado. Ranging from highly technical, knife-edge summits to tame, switch-back ascents, seven of the state’s 14ers are located in the Elk Mountain Range bordering Aspen, and local outfitter Aspen Expeditions leads guided trips.
• Mount Sopris, located about 20 miles from Aspen, is not among Colorado’s 14ers (topping out at 12,953 feet), but it claims the biggest vertical relief of any mountain in the state and is on every serious alpinist’s checklist.
Trail Running – Experience Aspen’s breathtaking scenery and clock some high-altitude training by trail running through Aspen’s massive network of trails accessible from town.
• An ideal route in either direction is the eight-mile Government Trail (the course for the Golden Leaf Half Marathon), which connects Aspen to Snowmass through brilliant groves of Aspen trees that open to dramatic vistas.
• Other outstanding trails include road-less Conundrum Creek, located in the Snowmass Wilderness Area (which also prohibits bikes), and the Hunter Creek Trail, which begins in town and quickly climbs along a creek with waterfalls and swimming holes.
Rock Climbing – Aspen’s Independence Pass, minutes from downtown, offers rock climbers hundreds of routes, from the classic Edge of Time to the challenging Cryogenics. Dick Jackson, internationally-certified IFMGA/AMGA Mountain Guide and owner of Aspen Expeditions, offers private and group lessons and courses in mountaineering and rock climbing. Perched high above the Rio Grande Trail and the Roaring Fork River, the Gold Butte Climbing Area is another option that’s close to town and features routes for climbers of all abilities. Aspen Alpine Guides offers a full roster of year-round mountain guiding adventures as well as technical mountaineering instruction.
Paragliding – Get a bird’s-eye view of Aspen’s spectacular topography with Aspen Paragliding. Year-round tandem flights launch from Aspen Mountain and lazily drift to the valley floor. Autumn is a particularly popular time to paraglide, as the Rockies are aglow with brilliant fall foliage.
Fly-fishing – Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley have spectacular fly-fishing with 45 miles of Gold Medal waters, the largest stretch of Colorado’s 165 miles of Gold Medal waters.
• The 70-mile Roaring Fork River runs through town and boasts rewarding fishing holes full of rainbow, brown, cutthroat, and brook trout.
• The Fryingpan River sustains an amazing amount of fish including mountain whitefish, rainbow, and brown trout. For spectacular seclusion, fishermen take to the tributaries including the Crystal River and Castle Creek to seek out smaller trout and stunning scenery.
Rafting, Kayaking, River Surfing, and SUP – Aspen is one of only a handful of Colorado mountain towns to offer a river running directly through its center, which has everything from flat water and mellow float trips to class IV Slaughterhouse Falls run.
• Aspen is an epic rafting and kayaking destination. The Roaring Fork River offers Class I to class 1 to class IV runs from Aspen to Carbondale. The Colorado River, 40 minutes away in Glenwood Springs, has the popular Shoshone run and across Independence Pass is the Arkansas with adventurous Class III – V runs including Numbers. Water lovers take to the rivers on a variety of equipment, including traditional rafts and kayaks with Blazing Adventures, Aspen Whitewater Rafting, and other local outfitters. Charlie MacArthur, the owner of Aspen Kayak and SUP Academy, innovated “river surfing” where he uses a stand-up paddle board to ride the standing waves on sections of the Colorado River.
For information on Aspen biking, please see additional release.
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For visitor information, visit www.aspenchamber.org, or call 1.888.290.1324 or 970.925.1940.