Aspen Visitor Guide 2023: Everything you need to know
Aspen, Colorado, is synonymous with skiing. This tiny town of only 7000 people was once the place to ski for America's wealthy. Nowadays, Aspen has broadened its appeal to become one of the top ski destinations in the country. But it remains an upmarket and glitzy place to this day.
Skiing has shaped the town's growth, but there's more to do here than just hit the slopes. The winter offers downhill and cross-country skiing, plus snowshoeing and sledding. Meanwhile, summer brings hiking, biking, rock climbing, and golf. Aspen is also home to several festivals, including a winter sports festival and a summer music festival. In short, whatever you like to do, chances are good you'll be able to do it here. Drop off your bags at an Aspen luggage storage service and enjoy what this small but perfectly-formed town has to offer.
A weekend in Aspen
Aspen is a classic weekend destination. Many visitors come to the city for a day or two to enjoy the slopes and the resort town atmosphere. A couple of days in Aspen lets you experience a lot of what makes it so special. Maximize your time by dropping off your unneeded bags at an Aspen bag storage.
- Independence Pass is a truly stunning area in the summer. Take the 20-mile scenic drive from Aspen to Leadville and enjoy awe-inspiring mountain views. The road rises to 12,000 feet above sea level, and the Colorado vistas are unforgettable.
- Take a ride on the Silver Queen Gondola. The gondola will take you to the top of Ajax Mountain where you can ski in the winter or hike in the summer. You'll also find the country's highest golf course on top of the mountain, plus a climbing wall and a trampoline for kids.
- Obviously, skiing is what Aspen is all about. Snowmass is the area's biggest ski resort and offers 3000 acres of terrain. Ajax Mountain is also popular, and Buttermilk Mountain is a great place for beginners to learn the sport.
Aspen is a small town with many of its streets closed to vehicle traffic, so it's ideal for exploring on foot. Make things easier by dropping off your unneeded bags at an Aspen luggage locker. Knowing your belongings are safely looked after means you can explore with peace of mind and take it easy on your Aspen vacation.
Off the beaten path in Aspen
Aspen is justifiably famous, and in the winter season, the small town can get very crowded. However, if you're looking to escape the crowds, there are a few things to do there that remain relatively unknown. Leave your luggage behind at an Aspen suitcase storage so you can explore off the beaten path.
- Step back into the Old West at Ashcroft, a bona fide ghost town. Founded in the 1880s, Ashcroft enjoyed only a few years of prosperity before the mine it was built around close. Now, the well-preserved saloon, hotel, post office, and other buildings are a haunting reminder of the boom and bust cycles of resource extraction.
- Celebrate a legendary American songwriter at the John Denver Sanctuary. This beautiful riverside park features boulders with some of Denver's lyrics engraved on them. In the summer, live performances of music by Denver and other related artists make the park well worth visiting.
- See unique rock formations along Grottos Trail. Located along the Roaring Fork River, these rocks have been carved into unusual shapes, creating caves and grottos that seem almost sculptural. It's a great place to get some exercise and enjoy the beauty of nature.
What to do alone in Aspen
Aspen is a great destination for solo travel. In the busy season, the small population swells with travelers from across the US and around the world, and the holiday atmosphere makes it easy to mingle and meet people. And if it's solitude you're after, you'll easily find it on the forest trails of Colorado.
- Sample the local microbrews at Aspen Brewing Company. This local beer maker operates a lively taproom where you can try some of their offerings. Daily happy hours and live music make this a great place to meet fellow travelers and have some fun.
- Enjoy the healing waters at Glenwood Springs. The area's natural hot springs have been channeled into a pool where you can soak in the warm water and enjoy stunning views of the mountains.
- Explore the Aspen backcountry on a Jeep tour. Off-road vehicles let you see areas of the wilderness you might not get to otherwise, and knowledgeable guides know all the best spots to see local wildlife and amazing views. It's also a great way to meet fellow travelers.
Best souvenirs in Aspen
Aspen's reputation as a playground for the rich means it has plenty of shopping options. You'll find famous brands by world-renowned designers in the town's boutiques. But there's more to Aspen than the glamorous lifestyles of the rich. You can celebrate Colorado's Western heritage at Kemo Sabe, where you can pick up cowboy hats and boots and other Western apparel. There's even a Western saloon on the shop's upper floor.
There is also a dog boutique in Aspen, where you can pick up mountain apparel for your furry friend. And while it may come as a surprise that Aspen has a thrift store, it can be a great place to shop due to the town's wealthy residents getting rid of last year's designer labels.