Aspen is a ski resort in the state of Colorado in the Rocky Mountains region of the United States of America. Its little sister is Snowmass Village, which is about 10 miles (16 km) from downtown Aspen.

Maroon Bells near Aspen

Get in


By plane


1 Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (also known as Sardy Field; ASE  IATA). Major carriers to Aspen include American Eagle, Delta Connection, and United Express. Private jet charters are a popular method of travel to the Rocky Mountains of Aspen.

Aspen-Pitkin County Airport is a small airport for small planes only, and traffic tends to stop in any inclement weather.

Flying into Denver Airport and driving up to Aspen is sometimes cheaper, but extreme weather conditions can make it hard to drive.

By car


The drive to Aspen is about 4 hours from Denver. There are two major routes from Denver - through Glenwood Springs or through Independence Pass. Independence Pass is only open in the summer months, but provides spectacular views and can be a bit faster than the longer route through Glenwood. To take this route, travel south from Copper Mountain exit off I70 through Leadville.

Altitude Sickness

For those prone to altitude sickness, it is recommended that you fly into Denver and spend a day or so getting used to being mile-high and then driving the next ~3,500 feet (1,000 m) up.

Get around


There are numerous large rental car services available at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport[dead link].

  • Alamo
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Go Rentals
  • Hertz
  • National

Scheduled and chartered services are available from Denver International Airport and Eagle County Regional Airport. Free buses operate within the cities of Aspen and Snowmass Village and many hotels have free shuttle service to and from the airport.

It's all about getting around on skis in the winter and mountain bikes or your own two feet in the summer!

John Denver Park
  • John Denver Park. This Aspen park is a pleasant place to take your dog or your kids for a splash in the creek in summertime. The park is named after the famous Country and Folk singer who resided in Aspen. Lyrics from his most popular songs are inscribed in the creekside boulders. John Denver Park is on the creek trail on the north side of Aspen, near the Rio Grande Ball Field and park at N. Mill St. and Rio Grande Pl.
  • 1 Maroon Bells. A short drive outside of Aspen, the Maroon Bells are one of the most photographed mountain scenes in Colorado. The lake and views of the 14,000 foot peaks are spectacular. In the summer months between 8AM and 5PM, visitors must take a shuttle bus to the Maroon Bells to control traffic. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for children. There are some short, non-strenuous hikes around the Maroon Bells that vary from 1 mile to 10. People also like to climb the Maroon Bells; however, it is very dangerous and a guide is highly recommended.    
  • 2 Independence Pass. In the summer months, this pass is open to vehicular traffic. The drive takes you up to the Continental Divide, and along the way passes some of the most beautiful scenery in the area and a ghost town that is open to visitors.    
A view of Roaring Fork River and Aspen Ski Area in early April


  • Ski - There are four downhill ski mountains in the area: Aspen Mountain, which has the best location, Snowmass, which is the largest, Aspen Highlands, famed for its epic Highlands bowl, and Buttermilk, which provides the best experience for beginners and freestyle. They are all quite large and sprawling, and will give you one of the best skiing experiences in the country.
  • Sleigh rides
  • Sledding
  • Snowshoeing
  • Snowmobiling


  • Mountain bike
  • Hike
  • Golf
  • Gondola rides to the top of Aspen Mountain
  • White water rafting
  • Fly fishing
  • Mine exploration
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Rodeos
  • Paint ball
  • Paragliding
  • Outdoor concerts


  • Belly Up. Small venue hosting some impressive artists, downtown Aspen.
  • June Festival.
  • Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival. Snowmass Town Park, the first weekend in September


  • 1 Aspen Golf Club, Truscott Pl, +1 970 925-2145. It opened with 9 holes in the early 1960s and expanded to 18 holes in the 1980s. The Aspen Golf Club facility features 7,114 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 71. The course has a rating of 73.8 and it has a slope rating of 139 from the tips. The course is primarily Blue grass and Poana.
  • Maroon Creek Club, +1 970 920-4080. The 18-hole course at the Maroon Creek Club features 7,100 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 70. The course rating is 73.6 and it has a slope rating of 140 on Blue grass. The course opened in 1995.
  • Snowmass Club, +1 970 923-5600. Ten minutes downvalley in Snowmass Village. The Snowmass Club's new 18-hole, par-72 Snowmass Club Golf Course. The 6,986-yard semi-private course designed by award-winning golf course architect Jim Engh includes a learning center, practice area and new golf clubhouse with Black Saddle Bar & Grille, a full-service restaurant and bar. With five sets of tee boxes at each hole and a truly unique design, golfers of all abilities will enjoy play that is as fun as it is challenging
  • River Valley Ranch Golf Club, +1 970 963-3625. Eighteen holes, slope 73.2, rating 125, 7,348 yards. 30 minutes downvalley in Carbondale,River Valley Ranch Golf Club. Good bang for buck.
Galena Street

Downtown Aspen has a plethora of shops for every budget. The downtown area also has two pedestrian-only streets lined with T-shirt and souvenir shops. Of course, Aspen is a great place to buy ski equipment and clothing with an abundance of ski shops and stores. The city also has an open air market in the summer months.

Snowmass Village also has its own shopping precinct, fitted with numerous candy shops, souvenir shops and ski shops.

  • Carl's Pharmacy, 306 E Main St. Sells typical drugstore goods, and their second floor has souvenirs and toys.
  • City Market, 711 E Cooper. A good place to pick up groceries to stock up your cabin.

Equipment rental


There are many places in Aspen Snowmass where you can rent all types of equipment including skis and snowboards in the winter and bikes in the summer.

Some of the stores that specialize in equipment rentals:


  • The Artisan Restaurant. In Snowmass in the Stone Bridge Inn has a fresh menu and many off-menu options.
  • Woody Creek Tavern. In "downtown" Woody Creek. Good for lunch, this is the former haunt of the late Hunter S. Thompson. It's about 15 miles from Aspen.
  • The Pine Creek Cookhouse. 20 minutes south of Aspen on Castle Creek Road. It is worth the trip down a beautiful valley to the elegant log cabinesque building. Their food is very fresh, on the gourmet side, and not overly expensive. Reservations recommended. Highly recommended to stop in for lunch after a morning hike to one of the many great trails in the area such as Cathedral Lake.
  • The Hickory House. Located on the bend towards the entrance to Aspen on Main Street. Tourists are often crowded out by the locals, drawn by fabulous barbecue and huge, hearty breakfasts. If you're lucky enough to be in Aspen for Thanksgiving (late November), turn out for annual Hickory House freebie: turkey, with all the trimmings, and all gratis.
  • Ajax Tavern, Base of Aspen Mountain, +1 970 920-6334. Great apres-ski complete with the who's who of Aspen. Fantastic deck perfect for watching skiers come down the mountain while you enjoy people watching of the rich and famous. Order the Ajax Double Double, the best burger in town.
  • J-Bar, 330 E Main St, +1 970 920-1000. The J-Bar is one of Aspen's favorite watering holes. Located at the luxurious Hotel Jerome
  • Prospect, Hotel Jerome, 330 East Main St, +1 855-331-7213. Prospect serves diverse Colorado cuisine with alpine influence prepared from wholesome natural ingredients. Breakfast, lunch and Sunday brunch.
  • Syzygy, 520 E Hyman Ave, +1 970 925-3700. A trendy, favorite for many visitors.


  • Pinions. Expensive, exquisite cuisine popular with celebrities and socialites.
  • Campo De Fiori. Great Italian food that makes you feel like you're in Italy. Also has a great bar scene.
  • Mezzaluna. Great Italian-American style food in a trendy establishment. Best place for lunch and late at night.
  • Boogies Diner. Centrally located diner located in a jeans store.
  • Paradise Bakery. Best ice cream in town, along with amazing baked goods and coffees. Located in central Aspen.
  • Lulu Wilson.
  • Cloud-9 Bistro. Excellent European food on Aspen Highlands. Very well priced. Perfect for a ski day lunch break. Frequently visited by celebrities.
  • Caribou Club. Insanely expensive and fancy private dining club for snobby locals.
  • bb's kitchen, 525 E Cooper Ave, +1 970 429-8284. Classy but casual restaurant known for brunch, but also serves excellent dinner. Also has balcony seating.
  • L'Hostaria, 620 E Hyman, +1 970 925-9022. Well known Italian restaurant serving handmade pasta. Their bar features a bar menu with less expensive alternatives to the restaurant menu (in the bar menu, pasta entrees start around $12, and meat entrees start around $15).
  • Grateful Deli, 233 E Main St, +1 970 925-6647. Good sandwiches, good-size portions for about $8 per sandwich
  • Annette's Mountain Bake Shop, 420 E Hyman. Baked goods and good sandwiches
  • Peach's Corner Cafe, 121 S Galena St, +1 970 544-9866. A busy place for breakfast, brunch, and lunch, featuring fresh and local food.
  • Butcher's Block Deli, 424 S Spring St, +1 970 925-7554. Good deli also known for its soup.


  • Cache Cache. Excellent French restaurant is the trendy place to see and be seen. Their bar menu is excellent and offers a less expensive alternative (~$20 per entree) than the restaurant section. The bar starts to fill up around 6PM.
  • Matsuhisia. Amazing and award-winning Japanese food along with some of the best sushi in the country.

Go next


Colorado is home to over 70 wineries and its own vineyards. Wine lovers can enjoy several scenic day trips from Aspen to many of the small towns that are a part of Colorado's Wine Country. These lovely little communities include Montrose, Palisade, Paonia and Hotchkiss, as well as the city of Grand Junction.

  • Glenwood Springs - Home to a quaint, historic downtown and the largest hot spring pool in the USA.
  • Carbondale - About 40 minutes down the valley from Aspen, Carbondale is a nice, eclectic mix of artsy, outdoorsy and earthy/hippie. It has art galleries with offerings much more affordable than you will find in Aspen, plus an astonishing range of restaurants from Chinese, Salvadoran, Mexican, Italian, Thai and Asian/Fusion. Restaurant 689, located at 689 Main Street, rivals Aspen's best offerings. During mid-summer, Carbondale's Mountain Fair is a 3-day (free!) music extravaganza and art fair. Artisans come from all over the US to exhibit and sell hand-made clothing, jewelry, toys, paintings, sculpture and home decor. The home town police - who are very low-key and friendly - wear tie-dye for this event.
  • Denver - A 4-hour drive away, Denver is Colorado's capital and largest city. Denver boasts historic buildings and modernistic skyscrapers, abundant shopping and incredible dining. Located where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains, Denver has some of the best views a city can have. It is also home to one of the last downtown amusement parks, Elitch Gardens.
Routes through Aspen
Ends at  Glenwood Springs  N   S  → (Closed Oct - May) → Ends at  

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