What to do in Aspen in the Summer?
June 2, 2011 6:39 AM   Subscribe

Mr. jshort and I just decided to join some friends in Aspen for 4th of July weekend. What should we do while we're there? What things shouldn't we miss?

Most previous questions about Aspen were regarding winter/ski trips, except for this one and this one, which don't really apply since we're not really into shooting stuff or photographing wildflowers.

I'm sure our friends, who are from Colorado and more familiar with the area, have ideas of things for us to do as a group, but we're looking for things for the two of us to do when they are off mountain biking.

We're hoping to get in lots of hiking - what trails are good? We're relatively fit and adventurous. We are coming from sea-level but haven't had too much trouble adjusting to altitude.

We belong to an indoor rock climbing gym at home and would love to do some outdoor climbing while we're there - any recommendations on guides? We have our own personal equipment (harness, shoes) but no ropes and very limited experience climbing outdoors, so we definitely wouldn't want to go it alone.

Any other recommendations for outdoor activities or sites not to be missed?

And, of course, dining/drinking recommendations are greatly appreciated - we love all types of food and don't have any dietary restrictions. We tend to prefer a laid-back atmosphere.
posted by jshort to Travel & Transportation around Aspen, CO (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Since there haven't been any recommendations, I'll post one that I got from a friend... She recommended going to Glenwood Hot Springs.

Also, we'll post our experiences in case anyone comes back to this question in the future.
posted by jshort at 12:32 PM on June 2, 2011

I've only been to Aspen once, in the summer, for a wedding. One of the planned activities was hiking in the "grottoes" area, which everyone who went to said was lovely! here's a rather brief link, if that helps!
posted by mccn at 7:12 AM on June 6, 2011

Response by poster: Post-trip report, in case anyone comes back to this in the future... mccn - we didn't see your response until just now, so we didn't make it to the grottoes, but thanks for the recommendation!

Aspen was beautiful! We stayed in a condo, right next to the ski lift, which was a little far away since it isn't ski season. It was nice to have a kitchen, as dining out is quite expensive (at least by Philly standards).

For activities, we did two nearby hikes, at Buckskin Pass Trail and Cathedral Lake Trail, and nine holes of golf at a par three course (The Ranch at Roaring Fork). And, of course, lots of eating and drinking.

Both the hikes were pretty strenuous, especially for us flatlanders, but we completed them in about 2 hours one-way, rather than the 4-5 hrs stated in the links. We were very happy we got an early start (7-8am), as the trails were pretty busy on our way down. Buckskin Pass has amazing views of the Maroon Bells most of the way, but we did eventually hit enough snow that we turned back just a little ways from the end. Not as much snow on Cathedral Lake, so we completed that hike and were rewarded with the very scenic lake. We stopped at Ashcroft, an abandoned silver mining town, and were underwhelmed even for the $3/person we spent.

The golf course was beautifully maintained and exactly what we wanted - $58 for two people, one club rental, balls, tees. We only played nine, which took about an hour, but we could have played as much as we wanted. They don't do tee times, so we showed up when we were ready to play. Since the holes are short and everyone walks, you don't end up waiting too long if there's someone in front of you.

We enjoyed all our meals - Junk (fun concept, good tacos), Little Annie's (low-key, comparatively low-cost, excellent variety of comfort and healthy food), Mezzaluna (more locals at the bar, great lunch/brunch). We also enjoyed drinks at the Brewery (BYO food), the Library (old-fashioned cocktails) and Su Casa.

One thing not to be missed is the drive through Independence Pass. When driving from Denver, it is the shortest route in terms of distance, but much slower than I-70/CO-82. However, the views are amazing. We did it on the way into town.
posted by jshort at 5:00 PM on July 5, 2011

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