Tags Posts tagged with "Aspen"


By Chrissy Morin,

The color in the Rocky Mountains is at its peak September through October so plan your short trip form Denver to the Aspen Snowmass area through October to see some of the most spectacular fall color that Colorado has to offer.

Not only is the hike accessible to everyone, but once you are done with the hike you are just a short distance from Aspen for shopping, gourmet restaurants, and perhaps a bit of celebrity sighting along the Aspen mall if you are lucky.

If you’ve never been to Aspen you might think of it as a stuffy expensive place to visit however in the off (non ski) season you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the reasonable pricing at the bed and breakfasts and hotels in the area.

If you aren’t up for the full Maroon Bells hike you can also enjoy some fabulous scenery at the John Denver Memorial Tribute Park.

This spot is one of the most photographed mountain peaks in the world and once you witness it for yourself you’ll understand why.

By Jillian Livingston, 

Where the weather may be indeterminate, one thing is constant and that is the ability to get a hot and steamy cup of java and have good conversations with friends.

Aspen has quite a few places of which to choose from, other than Starbucks, and here are my choices:

  • Jour de Fete

Owned by locals, Olivier and Amy Mottier, Jour de Fete is a French Cafe located close to The Gondola Plaza. Here one can sit in the mornings and watch the locals stop by to stuff a famous breakfast burrito or chocolate Eclair into their pack before setting out on their daily excursions. The menu includes freshly baked bread, home-style cooking and French Pastries as well as a delicious coffee (Olivier prefers to use what he thinks is the best, Lavazza coffee from Italy, a strong coffee without the bitter taste). For lunch Olivier offers a variety of grains, fish, meats and vegetables so you can create your own plate or if you prefer, make your own sandwich.

Serving Breakfast, Lunch and Early Dinner

Hours are 7:00am to 6:00pm Mon-Fri & 7am to 4pm Sat & Sun

Located at 710 East Durant Ave in Aspen (Near City Market)


  • Peach’s Corner Cafe

Peach’s, with possibly the best corner location in Aspen, is a locally operated Café offering food from local vendors. Dive into the social scene where you will see many a laptop dawning a table as casually dressed entrepreneurs hash out ideas over coffee, melted chocolate decadent muffins, breakfast sandwiches and other delicious fare.

Serving Breakfast and Lunch

Hours are Monday-Saturday from 7am to 6pm.

Located on the corner of Hopkins and Galena.


  • Boden’s Butter

Aspen’s first ZGreen Certified Café and Bakery, Boden’s Butter offers gluten free, vegan and delicious naturally baked goods. With a child who is allergic to dairy, soy and eggs, Owner Kelly Hart takes her ingredients seriously whipping up incredible treats, some more healthy than others but most with organic ingredients. Serving Baked Goods and organic packaged products, Delicious Coffees and Smoothies

Hours are Monday – Saturday from 6:30am to 3pm

Located downstairs at 601 East Hopkins Ave, on the corner of Hunt and Hyman, sharing the same building with The Cheese Shop.


  • Victoria’s Expresso Wine Bar & Gourmet Grazing 

All you have to do is read the philosophy statement on their website to see why you should taste their coffee, “The perfect cup distills the true essence of artisanship, since it requires a complete harmony between the skills of the grower, the roaster and the barista. Our challenge is to source the best beans, adjust our grind, tampering, temperature, pressure and timing of our shot to bring out the hidden characters of the beans and to combine this with perfectly integrated steamed milk. This creative process is what we love to use for the enjoyment of our community of customers.” With Australian Owners, one can find many a good looking Aussie at the Cafe enjoying a true Aussie style coffee and a Brekki.

Serving Breakfast, Lunch and light dinner

Hours are 7:30am to 8pm

Located at 510 East Durant, around the corner from Belly Up.


  • ink! Coffee 

A recently remodeled local hang out, ink! Coffee has the best location in town, situated kitty corner from the Gondola. Now offering gourmet sandwiches, salads and pastries, along with healthy baked items, this has become one of my favorite places to hang out, with or without friends for there is always somebody there to engage in conversation with.

Located at 520 East Durant St, across from the gondola under Polo


By Deb Stanley, 

If you enjoy lake hikes, make sure you put Maroon and Crater lakes on your “to-do” list. The hike is short, just two miles each way, but the scenery is amazing.

The hike starts at appropriately named Maroon Bells Scenic Area (directions below). Just steps from the parking lot, you’ll be treated to an amazing view of the Maroon Bells, two beautiful peaks in the distance. Both of the “bells” are “14ers,” meaning they are more than 14,000-foot high. Maroon Peak is 14,156 feet and North Maroon Peak is 14,014 feet. Take just a few more steps from the parking lot and you’ll be standing at the shoreline of Maroon Lake. Come on a calm morning with no wind and you’ll be able to capture a great shot with the reflection of the Maroon Bells in the surface of the lake. If you don’t go any further than Maroon Lake, you will be happy you took the time to see this incredible place. Friends will be very jealous of your photos. But if you’re willing to hike, it’s worth taking the trek to Crater Lake.

The path starts out flat along Maroon Lake. At the other end of the lake, the trail splits. Follow the signs for West Maroon Trail/Crater Lake.

Now you’ll get a taste of hiking in Colorado. The trail quickly becomes rockier and begins to climb through the forest. If you don’t live in Colorado, you’re going to think the trail is pretty steep at times. Don’t rush the hike, enjoy it. Look at the trees, listen for the birds and watch the people go by in both directions. When the forest opens up, this hike gets even better. Take a look at how close you’re getting to the Maroon Bells. You’re not climbing them, that’s a tough hike, even for experienced climbers, but your view of the peaks just keeps getting better and better as you hike the path.

About 1.9 miles from the parking lot, you’ll come to a trail split for the Maroon-Snowmass Trail. Don’t stop here. Follow the arrow for the West Maroon Trail, walk just a few more steps and you’ll be at Crater Lake. Crater Lake is amazing because it sits in a basin surrounded by spectacular scenery and tall peaks. The lake is shallow, but very photogenic. Again, if you come on a calm day, you’ll want to take pictures of the nearby peaks reflecting in the water’s surface. If you don’t come on a calm day, you’ll still be able to take pictures of the lake and the amazing views around it.

Crater Lake is a great place for a picnic lunch and people watching. There are two very popular hikes that go by this spot — the trail from Aspen to Crested Butte and a popular backpacking trail nicknamed the four-pass loop. Watch the people going by and try to guess if they’re out for a day, two days or longer. If you eat here, watch your surroundings. Even though this is a busy area, some of my friends saw a bear at the lake around lunchtime on a day in late July.

When you’re done enjoying the views and have taken all the pictures you want, return the way you came.

Details: The hike to Crater Lake and back is about 4 miles roundtrip with 600 feet of elevation gain.

Directions: From Highway 82 in Aspen, take Maroon Creek Road 9 miles to the parking area. Note, the parking lots fill up before 7 a.m. on weekends in the summer. There is a $10 parking fee. From mid-June to September, you can only drive to the trailhead before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. Between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. you have to take the shuttle bus.

By Deb Stanley,

It’s an amazing idea – did you know you can hike from Aspen to Crested Butte? The hike is 11 miles between trailheads.

On the Aspen side, the trail starts at the appropriately named Maroon Bells Scenic Area. Just steps from the parking lot, you’ll be treated to an amazing view of the Maroon Bells, two beautiful peaks in the distance. The peaks are both “14ers,” meaning they are more than 14,000-feet high. Maroon Peak is 14,156 feet and North Maroon Peak is 14,014 feet,  Walk a short distance to Maroon Lake and you’ll hopefully get a great shot with the reflection of the Maroon Bells in the surface of the lake.
While it’s tempting to linger here, there are many miles ahead, so start on the path along the lake. Just past the lake, follow the signs for Crater Lake. The trail becomes rockier and begins to climb through the forest. When the forest opens up, enjoy the views of the surrounding peaks.
About 1.9 miles from the parking lot, you’ll come to a trail split for the Maroon-Snowmass Trail, follow the arrow for West Maroon Trail, walk just a few more steps and you’ll be at Crater Lake. Crater Lake is amazing because it sits in a basin surrounded by beautiful scenery and tall peaks. The lake is shallow, but very photogenic. After the lake, the trail goes west just a short distance to the bottom of the Maroon Bells cliff face, then it turns south. As you hike along the bottom of the rock, look up for waterfalls created by the melting snow above. Soon you’ll find yourself climbing up a trail, then following a creek. About four miles into the hike is a wide stream crossing. This can be a dangerous spot in wet years. Note, at this spot you’ve climbed 1,000 feet of elevation gain. There’s another 2,000 feet to go in the next 3 miles, but for now, the path is still climbing at just a slight grade as it winds through the trees.

During the next three-quarters of a mile, you’ll going to start getting glimpses of red rocks up ahead. Suddenly, at about 4.8 miles, the trees open up, and you’ll get your first look at the scenic basin ahead. This is a great spot to just turn 360 degrees and enjoy the views in every direction. Take a photo and keep going, the views are going to get better. From here, the hike begins to climb and turn west again.

Soon you’ll come to a spot where you can see Maroon Pass. That’s where you’ll climb over the saddle to drop down the valley to the Crested Butte side. But to get to the top, you’ll have to climb about 1,000 feet in the final mile. Take your time, take photos and enjoy this spot. If you come in July, you’ll hopefully be treated to fields and fields of wildflowers in an array of colors.

At the top, you’ll be amazed by the incredible view of the valley you’ve just hiked and the valley on the Crested Butte side of the pass. When you get here, take a good look at the clouds and decide how long you can stay. If storm clouds are approaching, you’ll need to take a quick picture and get below treeline as quickly as possible. If the skies are clear, you’ll want to linger here, have lunch, take lots of pictures and maybe talk with the other hikers making this incredible journey.

From here, you can return to your car on the Aspen side for a hike of 14 miles roundtrip. Or if you’ve arranged for a shuttle or a ride on the Crested Butte side, it’s time to hike on. From here, the trail drops quickly in elevation as it winds through more fields of wildflowers. As you hike through the valley, make sure you take a 360 degree turn occasionally and enjoy the view in every direction. At one point, making the full turn helped us spot a waterfall.

From the top of Maroon Pass, it’s four miles and 2,000 feet of elevation drop to the trailhead at Schofield Park. You’ll know you’re getting close when you see an old homestead. If you look closely, you may even spot a second building here.

Details: The hike from the Maroon Bells Scenic Area to the Schofield Park trailhead is 11 miles with 3,000 feet of elevation gain and 2,000 feet of elevation loss. The high point is 12,500 feet.

Directions: From Highway 82 in Aspen, take Maroon Creek Road 9 miles to the parking area. Note, the parking lots fill up before 7 a.m. on weekends in the summer. There is a $10 parking fee. From mid-June to September, you can only drive to the trailhead before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. Between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. you have to take the shuttle bus. Learn more.

In Crested Butte, consider the short hike to Judd Falls. For more great hikes in Colorado and throughout the west, click here.

Aspen Shopping (Credit,

By Denis Flierl,

Maybe the rich and famous who live in Aspen know something that we who only live at a mile high don’t. In a recent University of Washington study, Pitkin County boasts a top-10 life expectancy; 84.2 years for women, 80 for men, for an average life span of 82.1. The study counts more than 2,000 counties across the nation.

The average life span of those who live in Denver is 75.9 years. So what are Aspenites doing differently to gain an astonishing additional 6.2 years of life? Can the super-rich just afford better health care than the rest of us? The answer is interesting and it’s something anyone can afford.

It’s well documented that health risks like obesity, lack of exercise and diabetes are dragging down most Coloradans and Americans. Diabetes affects 25.8 million people of all ages: 8.3 percent of the U.S. population. Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke. There are 18.8 million people diagnosed with the disease in the U.S. while another 7 million go undiagnosed.

The cure for getting diabetes in the first place is to keep your weight down by staying active. Pitkin County residents are not surprised by the new statistics for longevity. There is a culture of fitness that permeates the residents of Aspen.

Pitkin County senior services director Marty Ames said, “If they are not already active when they come here, they quickly are submerged in it. When every other person you talk to says, ‘what did you do today?’… ‘I rode up to the Bells …’ or ‘You should hike Hunter Creek,'” Ames said. “There’s just a flavor of fitness and wellness here.”

Pitkin and a few other counties made it into the rare category of “years ahead” of international leaders like Japan and Sweden. Denver is nowhere near the code-red condition of an American obesity belt coloring the Deep South from Louisiana to North Carolina.

“Colorado counties perform relatively well compared to counties in other states, particularly the southeastern U.S.,” said Jeff Bontrager, director of research on coverage and access for the Colorado Health Institute.

So what can we who live in Denver learn from our high altitude neighbors in Aspen? Stay active by doing things like hiking, biking, take a walk, jogging, playing sports like racquetball, tennis, or join an adult soccer league. My family physician in Conifer told me six years ago that I was headed for diabetes if I didn’t change my lifestyle. He told me that exercise is what will keep you young. I listened to him and now I run 3 miles a day and feel better now in my 50’s than I did twenty years ago.

You don’t have to move to Aspen to develop a culture of fitness.


Courtesy of

By Carri Wilbanks,

Headed to Aspen this summer? Well, after seeing this line-up of cultural events and outdoor activities you will want to head West to the Roaring Fork Valley!

Outdoor Plays by Theatre Aspen

Talk about a unique theater experience – Theatre Aspen’s shows are staged at beautiful Rio Grande Park, just steps off Main Street. Imagine a backdrop of Aspen Mountain and nights dotted with starts, all the while watching Broadway actors as well as local talent put on a tremendous show. Coming up this summer:

Les Misérables: June 21 – Aug 17

Fully Committed July 5 – Aug 15

You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown – July 11 – Aug 17

Theatre Aspen
110 E. Hallam St.
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-9313

Adrenlaine Rush With Blazing Adventures

Keywords here: Rafting, Inflatable Kayaks, Jeeping and Hiking. Here are three trips offered from this outdoor adventure company.

  • Whiskey River: Get ready to get whisked away on this trip down the Middle Roaring Fork. Take the trip in either a ducky or raft, followed by a stop at the Woody Creek Distillery for a tasting of locally made spirits.

*Available Tuesdays & Fridays.

*Cost: Ducky’s: $112.50 per person. Rafts: $112.50 per person

  • Cathedral Lake Hike: Trek to a stunning spot with a guide to a lake which is named for its unique feature of a cathedral stone wall.

*Round trip distance: 6 miles

*Cost: $98.50 per person, includes lunch.

  • Standup Paddle Board Tours: Learn the latest way to ride the waves. Instructors will teach you skills such as balance, paddling techniques and safety moves. Expect a great core workout! Trip finishes with a riverside BBQ lunch at a private river park near the Glenwood Canyon.

*Cost $158.50 per person. Includes lunch, rentals of wetsuit, booties, helmet and needed gear.

Blazing Adventures
555 E. Durant Ave.
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 923-4544

Discover Culture at Aspen Art Museum

The Aspen Art Museum continuously rotates contemporary art from artists from around the world. Head here to check out a few of the innovative exhibitions of the summer:

  • Lorna Simpson: Works on Paper

July 26 – September 22, 2013

Through drawings and collages, this artist examines ways gender and culture shape the experience of life in our contemporary multiracial society.

Aspen Art Museum
590 N. Mill St.
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-8050

Connect with History at Aspen Historical Society

Learn the history of this 1888 Queen Anne style built by Jerome Wheeler. Inside you can find- Seasons of the Nuche: Transitions of the Ute People. The exhibit explores the past and present of Native Americans in the American West. The exhibit journeys through the loss of their culture, territory, language and forced assimilation and their position in the world today.

Open Tues. – Sat. 1 – 5pm. $6 adults, $5 seniors (admission fee also includes the Holden/Marolt Museum) Children under 12 Free.

Aspen Historical Society
620 W Bleeker St.
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-3721

Step into Nature with Aces (Aspen Center for Environmental Studies)

Learn about ecology, natural history and stewardship. Here is the line up of ongoing programs:

Starting on June 15- travel along mountain streams, over ridgelines, and through beautiful valleys with ACES’ naturalists. Options include:

  • Aspen Mountain: tours offered daily on the hour from 10 am to 3 pm. Meet at the top

of the Aspen Mountain gondola.

Discovery Center in the Snowmass Village Mall.

the Maroon Lake information center.

This hike has it all: explore the historic silver mining ghost town of Ashcroft and wander up along Castle Creekon this a 3.5 mile round-trip hike. Includes a gourmet lunch at the Pine Creek Cookhouse.. $75 includes tour and lunch. (Unless ordering a la carte for $38).

(Photo Credit, Destination Hotels and Resorts)

By Billie Frank,

Aspen is a diverse town. It is a Mecca for the rich and famous, but it is more than that. In winter it attracts skiers from all economic strata. Those with leaner bank accounts finance their habit by filling the many service jobs in town. Frequently, they live elsewhere and commute. Housing in the Roaring Forks Valley does not come cheap. In the summer the area attracts outdoorsy types for the wide variety of activities available; world-class musicians for the Aspen Music Festival and some of the best minds in the world come to the Aspen Institute. Some come just to relax and enjoy the wonderful mountain scenery and fresh air.

There are all sorts of accommodations for visitors. Four and five-star hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts, home and condo rentals and campsites cater to all economic levels, well sort of. The budget options are few and hard to find and the term “budget” is relative; no $50 a night rooms in Aspen.

A great option if you want to save on dining out is a condo rental. We stayed at The Gant, a condotel (part hotel, part condo) on the southwest end of town. The property offers luxury-hotel amenities; a front desk, bellmen, concierge, daily housekeeping and shuttle service. Guests can leave their cars and not deal with parking hassles when they go to town.

The complex, built in1974, underwent a complete exterior renovation three years ago. A vast majority of the privately-owned condos are rented out. The management company, Destination Hotels and Resorts has rigorous standards. The units are inspected every eighteen months both by the company and by an independent service. If they don’t meet or exceed the standard they are not rented out. The units, from one to four bedrooms are divided into three categories:

Standard: These units have clean and comfortable furnishings. The décor is dated or basic. They tend to have older kitchens and baths.

Deluxe: These units have high quality furnishings and décor with upgraded kitchens and baths.

Premier: These units feature luxurious furnishings and décor including artwork, designer lighting and top-of-the-line kitchens and baths.

Our Deluxe one-bedroom unit had a good-sized great room with a dining area, balcony, fireplace and a well-equipped granite and stainless kitchen. There was a granite bath and a small bedroom. We were there during a hot-spell. The great-room cooled by a ceiling fan stayed pretty comfortable. We used a fan in the bedroom. Aspen gets about three hot weeks a year and many places are not air-conditioned. If this is important to you, ask.

The Gant has five tennis courts (two-hard surface, two are clay) and two lovely landscaped pool areas with jetted hot-tubs. The chaise lounges around the pool are a great place to relax in the sun. If you want to cook dinner out, there are gas grills for guests’ and residents’ use and tables shaded by umbrellas for alfresco dining.

Other lodging options:

If five-star service is your goal, check out The Little Nell. The St. Regis Resort has four-stars and the historic Hotel Jerome four-diamonds. They are other luxury hotels and condos to choose from. There are companies that specialize in Aspen rentals; the international Five Star Destinations, and locally, Joshua & Company and Frias Property of Aspen.

If you are on a budget, this is the time to resort to the Internet discounters such as Expedia, Travelocity, etc. They may offer the best prices or try bidding on Priceline, you never know. The lowest price accommodations run close to or over $100 per night depending on the season. There is nary a chain motel in sight. Glenwood Springs about an hour drive and Carbondaleabout 45 minutes away have some national chain options and some less expensive lodging in general.

If you want to be in Aspen on a budget, the no frills Mountain Chalet and the St. Moritz (with some shared baths) fare well on Trip Advisor (which should always be read with a large grain of salt). Other more reasonable lodging choices are Aspen Mountain Lodge, the Annabelle Innand Mountain House Lodge. Also In summer there is the camping option.

If you want to save more, the slow season with lower rates is between ski season and summer and then the end of summer season and the Christmas holiday season.

We were the guests of The Gant while in Aspen. Their generous hospitality has not influenced this article in any way.