Aspen in the fall *le sigh* So peaceful and so beautiful. When the snow subsides, Aspen has some of the most breathtaking panoramas. The feeling of walking out onto my balcony in the early morning and being enveloped in the unmistakable crisp mountain air in the Aspen Highlands is a moment I won’t soon forget. I sat there wrapped in a robe with a warm mug of coffee, the vibrant shades of green danced along the burnt colors of changing leaves on grandiose mountainsides, all set against a clear blue sky… do I ever have to go home ? 😉
In addition to the infectious atmosphere, there is so much to do and see in this time of year in Aspen that simply can’t be done when it’s cold and snowy. Here are some of my picks while visiting Aspen in the warmer months.
Room with a View – the Ritz Carlton Club Aspen Highlands
On this trip to Aspen, we flew into Denver to take the incredibly scenic 3.5 hour drive to Aspen. Rounding out the last leg of the trip, State Highway 82 will take you through the beautiful Independence Pass. At about 12,000 ft in elevation, it is the highest paved road on the Continental Divide. Due to its narrow roads and switchbacks bordered by nothing but steep cliff drop-offs, it’s no wonder these roads are only open during the warm months!
From the lookout point, you can see some notable peaks including Mount Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado and the nearby Maroon Bells, Snowmass Mountain, and Capitol Peak. Campgrounds and grottos for swimming are also among some of the other attractions in Independence Pass
The Maroons Bells
The Maroon Bells are the most photographed peaks in North America, and rightfully so. The peaks are absolutely breathtaking – photos can barely do them justice. The road up to the Maroon Bells begins in the Highlands. I would recommend driving, however, it is a popular route for experienced bikers (the entire road is uphill several miles). In the winter, the road to the Maroon Bells is closed, however, you can take snowmobiles up to see them.
There is no shortage of trails and hikes in Aspen. One of the more popular hikes is the Conundrum Trail ending at the Conundrum Hotsprings. Check out my full post on the Hotsprings.
Soaking in the Conundrum Hot Springs
There are plenty of shorter hikes and beautiful walks at every turn in Aspen, leaving much to explore without fully committing yourself to a wilderness adventure. We randomly came across field of wildflowers and just decided to go frolic in it!
Gondola ride to Ajax Summit
If physical activity isn’t your cup of tea, take the Gondola ride up Ajax mountain to grab a bite to eat and admire the views! The Gondola typically only runs on the weekends in the off-season, so be sure to check times and plan accordingly! The base of the mountain also has a restaurant called Ajax Tavern located in the Little Nell, which has a great outdoor dining area. Perfect place to sit outside on a warm day!
Up, up and away!
Cheers! Having some wine at Ajax Tavern!
Photos and Content by Melissa Redondo