Summer might be prime traveling season, but winter vacations have their merit, too. While you might traditionally think of the winter vacation as a chance to get away from the snow and head to sunnier areas, there are some places in America that you just can’t miss after a good snowfall. Aspen, Colorado is one of them, and for plenty of reasons, not the least of which is its mountainside attractions.
The Rockies: One of America’s Best Mountain Ranges
Apsen’s biggest draw, of course, is its proximity to the Rocky Mountains, making it an excellent wintertime travel destination, especially if you enjoy snow sports. Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass make up the four ski resorts nearby, meaning that, if you’re a skier or snowboarder, you’ll never hurt for variety. You don’t need to have the balance of a skier to have fun during an Aspen winter, however. There are other activities, such as snowshoeing and tubing, that you can also take part in.
Plenty to Do in the Summer, Too
While Aspen is one of America’s best winter attractions, there’s still plenty to do in warmer weather when there’s less snow about. The Rocky Mountains are no less pretty during the summer, and the more forgiving weather means that you can more easily hike, camp, raft, and experience the beauties of nature. In fact, some of the resorts stay open during the summer, still offering gondola rides to the top for some beautiful views of the neighboring mountains.
Small-Town Downtown Aspen
If you’re visiting Aspen, you’re not visiting for the big-city experience. You can drive three-and-a-half hours to Denver for that. That’s not to say, however, that there’s nothing to do “apres-ski” in downtown Aspen, whose small-town feel betrays its vibrancy and activity. From the clubby nightlife found in the Aspen and Snowmass Village to the souvenir shops that take up the main drag, there’s a little something for everyone’s tastes. One thing you won’t want to miss, though, is the Wheeler Opera House, a gorgeous theater built in 1889 that hosts films, live music, and more.
Bringing Your Motor Home
Due to Aspen’s natural surroundings, there are tons of camping options for those who want to bring their motor home. Among them are Glenwood Canyon Resort and Ami’s Acres Campground, both of which offer full hook-up and extra amenities. Of course, with so much to do nearby, you probably won’t need any extra fun to keep you occupied. Do note that some Aspen-area roads are limited by vehicle size, such as Highway 82 over Independence Pass, which prohibits vehicles longer than 35 feet. Also, with steep slopes and curvy roads throughout the Rocky Mountain area, you’ll want to do a little research ahead time and practice extra caution when driving through.
While there’s a bit of something for everyone in Aspen, the real reason you’ll want to check it out is to get a taste of the Rockies, whether it’s from the slopes or the ski lodge, during winter or summer. With a little bit of luck, perhaps you’ll even get that “Rocky Mountain High” that Aspen native John Denver sang about.