If you only have one day to spend in Aspen, use this list to check off the "must-do" activities. We hope you have much more time to spend here and can spread these exciting experiences out over the course of your vacation.
Wake up early and catch the bus to the Maroon Bells, the most photographed peaks in North America. They are the perfect Rocky Mountain backdrop for a hike, picnic, or even an overnight camping excursion.
Head towards Independence Pass, driving east of Aspen along the winding, two-lane Highway 82. Favorite stops include the Grottos ice caves, Independence Ghost Town, hiking trails, and the continental divide at the top of the pass.
Return to town to ride the Silver Queen Gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain for spectacular views, delicious food, free classical and bluegrass music (weekends only), kids' activities, disc golf, and miles of trails to hike and bike. Purchase of a gondola ticket required.
At the northern end of Aspen is the Hunter Creek Loop, a favorite hiking trail amongst locals looking for a convenient nature fix (plan on 2 hours). The trail winds along a mellow creek, through dense aspen groves and meadows with blooming wildflowers. Go as far as you want, or complete the loop by coming down the Smuggler Mountain Road.
The Rio Grande Trail is Aspen's can't miss trail for visitors looking to enjoy their surroundings, either by foot or bike. The "Rio" follows the Roaring Fork River all the way to Glenwood Springs. The ride or walk possibilities are endless. If you can't make it the whole way, stop at the Woody Creek Tavern to refuel for your walk/ride back into town!
You have earned the right to relax after such an action-packed day. Walk around downtown Aspen's pedestrian malls and enjoy an ice cream cone at Paradise Bakery while you take in the surroundings. Don't miss the Dancing Fountain on the corner of Mill & Hyman Streets as children and adults delight in the dancing waters.