Located in The Centennial State’s rocky mountains, Aspen is a famous ski resort town and a must-visit place for people who love the outdoors.
Other than skiing, you can also take a hike in one of their popular trails. And it is also known for boutiques and high-end restaurants. Thus, Aspen is a great place to spend time with your family while connecting with nature.
Plus, you can couple your experience with a stunning Instagram post!
Here are eight Instagrammable and must-visit places in Aspen.
While the Maroon Bells are praised as the most photographed place in Colorado, photos don’t do the peaks justice.
It is located just 10 miles west of Aspen off Highway 82, and it boasts a reflective lake and two enormous snow-striped mountaintops. Named Maroon Bells and North Maroon Peak, it is a scenic panorama embodied by a symphony of color that shifts with the seasons.
When you take a hike to one of its trails, you’ll be rewarded with Instagrammable views of the White River National Forest. This includes the wildflower fields, fly-fishermen, and the dazzling fall colors on aspen trees.
Smuggler Mountain Observation Deck
The Smuggler Mountain Observation Deck is an observation spot. To get there, you will need to bring your trusted hiking poles and hike up to the observation deck. Luckily, it is a magnificent little hike just north of downtown Aspen.
The best part? It is a kid-friendly trail so that you can bring your children with you.
However, it is not a quick stroll. The hike ascends more than 850ft in just over a mile. Nonetheless, the trek offers a marvelous view of the Elk Mountains. It is like a spectacular backdrop to the town with the Aspen Mountain (Ajax) Ski Resort.
Nestled in the center of the White River National Forest and encircled by the peaks of the Elk Mountains, Aspen is well recognized as a ski destination. But there is more to the town’s history and what it can offer.
Originally populated by the Ute Indians, Aspen became a silver-mining town during the mining boom of the late 1800s. Following the devaluation of silver, Aspen encountered a cultural rebirth in the 1940s with the arrival of Walter and Elizabeth Paepcke. The Paepckes drew a vision for the community that concentrated on the mind, body, and spirit, called “The Aspen Idea”.
These days, you can go shopping, visit an art gallery, and dine in downtown Aspen.
Prestige and privacy represent one of Aspen’s most posh neighborhoods. After all, this is where billionaire retail tycoon Les Wexner, Miguel and Jackie Bezos (parents of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos), and shopping hub developer Stanley Kroenke live.
Most homes face toward south and west, appreciating the all-day sun. From the Red Mountain, you can view the Aspen Mountain and hills in the Elk Range.
Top of the Ute Trail
Ute Trail is a challenging and technical trail. It boasts a rocky yet steady uphill that continues to Ute Rock and extends to the top of Aspen Mountain.
To reach the trailhead from downtown Aspen, drive down Ute Avenue for 0.4 miles. There is a parking area on the left, and the trail starts on the right across the street.
What’s cool about the Ute Trail is that it’s dog-friendly and rewards you with a scenic view.
Snowmass is the perfect representation of a ski mountain. It is a massive land formation that boasts different terrain types, from smooth to rough and extreme.
The Snowmass features more than 3,000 acres of various snowsports, which includes 98 trails. The trails range from cruisers to cliff bands and terrain parks and pipes.
They also have seven on-mountain restaurants where you can rest and dine. No wonder it is dubbed as one of the best ski regions in the Western US by Ski Magazine.
Continental Divide, Independence Pass
A part of Colorado State Highway 82, the Independence Pass stretches through the Continental Divide between Leadville and Aspen.
It is a spectacular byway, a popular recreation spot during the summer months, and the highest covered pass in Colorado. But due to snow build-up, the Colorado Department of Transportation sometimes blocks the highway at the Winter Gate.
Rio Grande Trail
The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority operates the majority of Rio Grande Trail. It runs from Glenwood Springs to Aspen.
The trail is a rail-trail design that stretches 42 miles. It boasts of an endless multi-use trail meant to accommodate vehicular traffic.
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Spring in Aspen is short but sweet. Nonetheless, you can still enjoy spring ski days in March and April.
It comes with a warmer climate where you can have goggle tans and sunny après ski. This is also the time when roads are clear, and cyclists can experience a car-free road bike to the Maroon Bells or the top of Independence Pass.
The official ski season ends around mid-April, but bonus weekends will be declared if the snow is still clinging. It can be followed by a winter storm, which is a fickle time of the year. Still, you can relax, unwind, and be close to Mother Nature during your time in Aspen.
Late May and early June call for white water rafting. That’s because it is during this time of the year when the snow has just started to melt, and the rivers are enthusiastic about taking you on a wild ride.