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Top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Aspen

Best Places to Visit in Aspen

When it comes to great Colorado ski towns, Aspen often tops the list. It’s not hard to see why. This historic former mining town has become one of America’s top-rated, captivating, and visually stunning cities and one of Colorado’s top tourist destinations. It has some of the most acclaimed ski areas on the planet.

As you can imagine, the best things to do in Aspen are often outdoors. This is true in both winter and summer. That’s because Aspen is surrounded by four skiable mountains, all surrounded by the White River National Forest. A scenic gondola ride from the city center will take you to the top of Ajax in all seasons for some of the best skiing and hiking in the world.

If you prefer to be closer to the base camp, Aspen itself has a rich mining history. The structure of the building tells the story. Inside these historic fa├žades are now upscale restaurants, boutiques and art galleries. Aspen is also home to some of Colorado’s best hotels.

Whether you’re taking a quiet walk in the park or on one of the world’s most extreme ski slopes, Aspen has an adventure for you. Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Aspen and make your trip enjoyable.

10 Best Places to Visit in Aspen

Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Aspen:

1. Downtown Aspen

It doesn’t get livelier than downtown Aspen. No matter the time of year, this Colorado Rocky hotspot is one of the best in the state. Normally, the town only has 7,000 residents, but this number varies considerably during the winter and summer months, and the historic streets are packed with adventurers and lovers of food, shopping and entertainment.

You’ll find everything from designer brands to local boutiques in downtown Aspen. Stylish hotels, restaurants, art galleries, bakeries and more are next to brick walkways. In downtown Aspen, you can also take the Silver Queen Cable Car to the top of Ajax. Stop at the Ajax Tavern at the entrance of the cable car for an alfresco lunch at the foot of the mountain.

You’ll also find the Aspen Environmental Research Center, where visitors and locals alike can learn about the area’s environment. Plan a private tour or stop by to learn how we can be more environmentally responsible as travelers.

2. Aspen Snowmass

For a small town like Colorado, Aspen shines in the winter sports department, especially skiing. This is because Aspen is not one, but four skiable mountains not far away. Come winter, you’ll be sharing a lift with some of the world’s most passionate and discerning skiers.

The Aspen Snowflake area has four ski areas that tackle 5,300 acres of mountain terrain. Mount Aspen, also known as Ajax, is the most famous peak and you can reach it directly from the city center with the Silver Queen Gondola.

Then there’s Aspen Heights, home of the Highland Bowl. This basin has double black diamond terrain and can only be reached by hiking. The distance from the cup means you will be skiing with some of the best skiers in the world and the area is not suitable for beginners.

For starters, Ayran Mountain is the peak to visit, it is known for hosting extreme winter sports and is one of the best mountains to hone your skills. There is also a children’s area called Panda Peak.

Finally, there’s the Snowflake, alone at 3,300 acres and the state’s highest vertical rise of 4,400 feet.

3. Maroon Bells

If there is an iconic image of Aspen, it is probably the burgundy bells. You’ll know when you see it – a mirror-like lake that reflects two snow-capped peaks, Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak.

Maroon Bells is a Colorado icon, especially Aspen, just 16 miles from the tiny ski village on Maroon Creek Road. The two peaks of 14 (called the 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado) are among the most beautiful of all the Rocky Mountains and are a must for any avid hiker or nature lover visiting the White River National Forest.

There are some hiking options, depending on how much time you have in the area. The Maroon Lake Scenic Trail is an easy one-mile loop, while the Crater Lake Trail is 5.6 miles and offers the best views of the lake. Camping is also popular in this part of Colorado, or you can choose from the many five-star resorts in Aspen or Snowmass.

Remember, access to Maroon Bells is limited in the summer and fall. Reservations are required and can only be reached by bus.

4. Independence Pass

The main arterial route through Colorado is I-70. This road will get you where you need to go as soon as possible. But if you want to take the scenic route, you’ll want to cross the Independence Pass. This is a historic mountain pass that leads directly to Aspen and is one of the best routes you can take in Colorado.

Part of Colorado Highway 82, Independence Pass ascends and descends into Aspen, crossing the Continental Divide in Leadville. The summit is over 12,000 feet above sea level and the route is 32 miles long. The return route takes you through stunning views of the mountains, aspen groves, and the Roaring Fork River.

The Indie Pass is also packed with trails that range from easy to difficult, depending on the problem you’re trying to solve. There are also campgrounds all over Highway 82, or you can head back to Aspen for one of the many gorgeous boutique hotels.

5. John Denver Sanctuary

In the heart of downtown Aspen sits this green oasis that exists as a quiet break from the swirling activity around it. Named after the American singer who composed Rocky Mountain Heights, John Denver Sanctuary is adjacent to Rio Grande Park near the Roaring Fork River. It is a beloved place where tourists and residents take a breather.

Inside the park is the famous Song Garden, which highlights many of John Denver’s most famous lyrics, carved into the rock and placed to represent the cycles of life. In the center of the circle is a Colorado blue spruce, intended to represent the spirit of the late folk singer.

Every October, the temple hosts a celebration honoring the deceased artist. The event includes musical performances, readings, celebrations and other ways to highlight the life and career of the artist who feels at home in Aspen.

Address: 470 Rio Grande Pl, Aspen, Colorado

6. Maroon Lake Scenic Trail

You don’t need to be a mountaineering champion to get the best view of the Maroon Bells or Maroon Lake. One of the top things to do in Aspen, the Maroon Lake Scenic Trail is perfect for hikers of all levels.

An easy loop from Maroon Creek Trail, this two-mile trail is one of the most incredible ways to experience this part of Colorado. The year-round trail is one of the best in Colorado.

The trail follows the lake along the stream that flows into the lake. From this trail, you will have access to many more challenging trails such as Crater Lake, East Sorrel Trail or Willow Lake Trail.

7. T-Lazy-7 Ranch

Not far from the Maroon Bells, tucked away in the Maroon Creek Valley, T-Lazy-7 Ranch is a true outdoor playground for any adventure. Whether it’s snowmobiling in the winter, horseback riding, fishing or checking out a real-life working farm, the T-Lazy-7 is a great way to spend the day when visiting Aspen.

The farm is 80 years old, raising beef, eggs and honey. They also offer summer rentals as well as long-term residences if you’re looking for a change of pace. But most of all, this farm is known for its activities.

Snowmobile is one of the popular items to visit the farm. They offer a variety of snowmobile tour packages, some of which also include lunch. Whichever route you choose, you’ll enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery as you head out into the White River National Forest.

In the summer the farm becomes a stronghold for horseback riding and fly fishing.

Address: 3129 Chestnut Creek Road, Aspen, Colorado

8. Hike on Many Trails

You can’t talk about winter skiing without mentioning hiking. We’ve covered Maroon Bells, but Aspen has many more great ways to explore. As the winter wonderland melts away, Aspen’s woods and meadows reveal lush greenery and gorgeous wildflowers, all set against the backdrop of the epic Colorado Rockies.

One of Aspen’s best hiking trails, the Rio Grande Trail is easily accessible from the downtown post office. The trail is 42 miles long. It climbs the hill and connects Aspen to Glenwood Springs. The trail itself isn’t particularly challenging, but its length can certainly make it a multi-day adventure with an ever-changing background.

For something shorter, consider the Grottos Trail, a half-mile looping trail with a beautiful, babbling waterfall that’s easy for anyone of any skill level.

9. Ashcroft Ghost Town

A quick drive along Castle Creek Road will take visitors back in time, from present-day Aspen to the historic, spooky ghost town of Ashcroft. Founded in the 1880s, this historic silver mining town was once a thriving mining community until it was quickly closed and abandoned, causing the area to freeze in time.

In 1883, Ashcroft had a population of 2,000 and many businesses and facilities. But as the town was built, the mine quickly ran out, and by 1885 only 100 summer residents remained.

Today, visitors to Ashcroft can explore what remains, including the Salon and Post Office, the Bird House Hotel, and a number of other buildings. Guided sightseeing tours are offered, as well as photographs and landmarks that tell the story of historic Ashcroft’s rise and fall.

10. Castle Creek Road

Colorado is surrounded by dozens of scenic driveways and trails spanning epic peaks, valleys, and canyons. Castle Creek Road, also known as County Road 15, is one of them and runs through the beautiful Elk Mountains not far from Aspen.

As mentioned, Castle Creek Road will be your way from Aspen to Ashcroft, so when you get to Ghost Town you can simply skip another item off the list and enjoy the ride. The road has many opportunities to stop for a drink in the scenery.

Seasonal trails are only open from mid-May to late October, but you’ll find plenty of opportunities to stop and hike along the way. If your car is up for the challenge, an unpaved road forks and climbs to the top of Mount Taylor at about 12,000 feet.

The entire driveway is 13 miles long with several steep grades and sharp turns. This is one of the most beautiful driveways in Colorado.

Read More: Top-Rated Ski Resorts in Colorado


Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Aspen. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Aspen, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.

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