Everyone knows that Aspen, Colorado, has a well-deserved reputation as a mecca for ski and snowboard enthusiasts. But believe it or not, life carries on here even after the lifts are no longer operational. In fact, if you have a nose for fresh air, a little altitude and an abundance of sunshine, you might want to skip winter in Aspen, Colorado, and give summer a whirl. There’s a serious selection of outdoor activities worth considering during the “off” season, and we’re not just talking tennis, either.
This close to rugged, but scenic wilderness, it should come as no surprise to learn that hiking and mountain biking are two very popular ways to while away those long, sunny summer days. Mountain bikers are restricted to trails outside of Wilderness boundaries, but don’t let that deter you - there are still plenty of trails and four wheel drive roads to peddle (and tackle with your four wheel drive vehicle).
When things get downright hot, the river is a good place to focus your attentions. Local outfitters run fly fishing expeditions for trout along the Roaring Fork River but if you want to get really wet, sign up instead for a rafting run down either the Roaring Fork or the Arkansas River. Depending on your skills with a paddle you can pick between easy beginner runs or a hair-raising roll down Pine Creek and Numbers on the Arkansas River. There’s even an eco-tour on the Roaring Fork River if you’d rather stick to spotting plant and animal life.
Colorado also happens to be a popular destination for climbers, rock, mountain and otherwise, and Aspen is no exception. Close to plenty of precipitous peaks and granite crags, you’ll find on hand around town both skilled instructors to provide guidance as needed and outfitters happy to arrange trips to local climbing hot spots.
And if that doesn’t get you your Rocky Mountain high, you can add a hot air balloon ride, a day of paragliding, a horseback trail ride or a scenic trip up Aspen Mountain in the Silver Queen Gondola to your to-do list. We’re betting one of these should do the trick.