Fly fishing gear

Aspen, Colorado Summer Travel Guide: What to Do and Where to Stay in the Rocky Mountain City

A summer in Aspen, Colorado is nothing short of spectacular. The skies are sparkling electric blue (Aspen receives 300 days of sunshine a year), while the temperature hovers between the 70s and 80s. Indian paintbrushes and blue bells dot the meadows, and the air seems bring a certain fresh sweetness to all that is in bloom. The peaks of the Rocky Mountains, cleared of heavy snow, radiate all their majestic splendour. There are plenty of trails for mountain biking and hiking, and the Roaring Fork River is a paradise for paddleboarders, kayakers, and fly fishers. Add to that Aspen’s impressive culinary and cultural offerings (the Food and Wine Classic, held in June, attracts thousands of visitors each year), as well as its world-class shopping, and you have a summer destination well worth the trip. detour.

For those planning or perhaps still dreaming of a summer in Aspen, vogue has compiled a guide to things to do, places to stay and restaurants to enjoy during the warmer months. Below are our recommendations.

Things to do

Maroon Bells near Aspen, Colorado.Photo: Sierralara

Explore the hiking trails

Maroon Bells Scenic Trail is probably Aspen’s most famous hike, and for good reason: the trail offers stunning views of an alpine lake surrounded by wildflowers and the twin peaks of Maroon and North Maroon. For those interested in a more challenging hike, take the Crater Lake Trail which, after crossing a deposit of glacial rocks, takes you to the shores of crystal clear water.

Another popular route? The Little Nell Trail, which begins under the Aspen Mountain Gondola in town. Hop on and off, then enjoy a well-deserved Aperol spritz alfresco in the square.

Bike to Woody Creek Tavern

Consider it both an activity and a restaurant recommendation: Bike the Rio Grande Trail to Woody Creek Tavern, a rustic spot covered in Hunter S. Thompson memorabilia that serves up a mean burger. and Margarita. It’s not a trip for the faint of heart – it’s about seven miles each way if you’re coming from the city – but with stunning views of rivers, meadows and mountains, it’s well worth the pedaling .

Paddle board through Stillwater

As the name suggests, the Stillwater section of the Roaring Fork River has such a gentle current that it is essentially a lazy river, which makes it absolutely perfect for a quiet paddle ride. Hire from one of the city’s various sports equipment centres, apply sunscreen and float down the crystal-clear river where alpine vistas are always on the bend.

Fly fishing

Ask Wild Willow Outfitters to organize a guided fly fishing expedition on the Roaring Fork River. They’ll provide everything from gear to round-trip transportation to, you know, advice on how to Actually catch a trout. For the real adventurers, they’ll skip the van in favor of an e-bike, allowing you to reach more fishing spots.

Shopping

Designer boutiques dot the city of Aspen, and while so, they are fabulous, be sure to stop by some of the stylish spots that are unique to the location. Stop by Kemo Sabe, Miron Crosby and Nick Fouquet for high-end western gear and custom hats, while the Meat and Cheese farm shop is the perfect place for sweet treats. Pitkin Country Dry Goods is a family-owned clothing store, while Little Bird is an eclectic consignment and vintage boutique.

Resorts, Hotels and Rentals

Hotel Jerome in summer.Photo: Noah DeWitt

Founded in 1899, Hotel Jerome’s interiors evoke its historic role as a rugged mountain respite: the hotel’s lounge is adorned with checkered curtains, a candle-lit chandelier, and soft leather sofas. Cowhide chairs and Wild West-themed artwork adorn the rooms. In the summer, the garden becomes a hotspot for social activity, thanks to the hotel’s superb cocktail program.

Thanks to its always-bustling après-ski scene, the Little Nell is perhaps Aspen’s most famous hotel. Yet even when the slopes are closed, five-star accommodation is still the place to be: its Holly Hunt-designed rooms are well-appointed, and there’s no better place to enjoy an Aperol Spritz than the sunny patio of the Ajax Tavern on Gondola Plaza. This summer, they’re also hosting alfresco riverside dining at Mag Dog Ranch at Old Snowmass, formerly owned by Jimmy Buffett.

Just on the edge of Aspen Mountain is the luxurious and sprawling St. Regis resort which, in the summer, has the best pool in town. Splurge on a room with a balcony to sip an iced coffee while taking in views of the Alps and book a spa treatment at their world-renowned wellness center. An additional bonus? The fluffy and friendly Bernese Mountain Dog named Kitty who roams the hotel hallways.

Airbnb Luxe, the upscale branch of the online booking platform, offers several spectacular homes in the Aspen-Snowmass area, whether you want something slopeside or within walking distance of downtown. Perfect for families, a group of friends or those looking to decamp to the mountainous region for a longer stay.

Restaurants

Betula in Aspen.Photo: Romeo Balancourt

The Betula Bridge, where one can contemplate the city or the mountain of Aspen, is reason enough to make a reservation in this authentic hotspot. Still, the mountain and French island cuisine (it’s Bonito’s sister property in St Barths) is definitely a reason to stay: start with one of their ceviches, then splurge on the faux-steak. bison fillet.

Meat and Cheese doesn’t take reservations, but don’t let a little wait deter you from dining on the patio at this beloved Aspen gem. As the name suggests, the menu emphasizes local, sustainably farmed charcuterie and cheeses that change with the seasons. But, as you can probably guess, you can never go wrong getting the meat and cheese platter.

Grab an al fresco table at White Horse, a former miner’s cottage turned restaurant, order the French dip sandwich, and people-watch as other visitors zip through town.

While the Hôtel Jérôme lounge is still a classic spot in Aspen, during the summer, their expansive outdoor garden is the perfect spot for cocktails made with ingredients from their homegrown herbs and flowers. With wicker tables, white umbrellas, tea lights, and abundant sunshine on a blue sky day, you’ll likely be staying for quite some time.

For healthier but still delicious dishes, head to the Spring Café for lunch. It’s a bright and airy space that specializes in comforting vegan food and organic juices. We are particularly fond of their tempeh reuben, their homemade lemonade and any salad on the menu.

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