Superior Summertime: 15 Best Things To Do In Aspen, CO

things to do in aspen in the summer

Make the most of the precious summer months when you spend them in the haven of activity that is Aspen, Colorado! From its dynamic hiking venues to its scintillating mine tours, there’s always something happening in Aspen, the likes of which are sure to transform your summer into a series of certifiably unforgettable experiences. It’s a wicked combination of excitement and leisure when you allow our recommended list of the top summertime Aspen activities to highlight your summer! Whether you’re looking to redefine relaxation or crank up the thrill on an adventurous Colorado experience, Aspen is the place for you!

Read on for the 12 best things to do in Aspen, CO.

1. Explore Aspen's agricultural history at Holden Marolt Mining & Ranching Museum

Holden Mining and Smelting Company
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Denverjeffrey used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Aspen was America’s largest silver producer in around 1890, several years after it established mining camps in 1879. Revisit Aspen’s momentous silver mining days at Holden Marolt Mining & Ranching Museum, a relatively small-sized rustic museum filled with artifacts and set on a hill overlooking a creek. There are bike trails opposite the museum that will delight adventurous souls. Here, you will gain extensive knowledge about Aspen’s industrial and agricultural landscape after only a short tour. You will also come to appreciate the resilience and versatility of the people back then as they shifted to ranching after the demonetization of silver and just when the demand for food soared high.

Holden Marolt Mining & Ranching Museum

Address: 40180 CO-82, Aspen, CO 81611, United States

Website: Holden Marolt Mining & Ranching Museum

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 11am - 5pm (closed on Mon & Sun)

2. Cherish relaxing family picnics at John Denver Sanctuary

John Denver Nature Sanctuary
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Rhododendrites used under CC BY-SA 4.0

International composer-musician John Denver, an outdoor lover and advocate for environmental preservation, has proudly called Aspen his home. His songs even contain explicit love for nature and call for its protection. What was originally planned as a modest shrine for John Denver now stands a lovely sanctuary, which has grown to be a favorite venue for celebratory occasions such as weddings and reunions. It sits in an idyllic location, near the picturesque Rio Grande Park. The confluence of landscapes and the view of the river make quite a beautiful scenery, the kind that turns your regular Sunday picnics into a meditative experience.

John Denver Sanctuary

Address: 470 Rio Grande Pl, Aspen, CO 81611, United States

Opening hours: 6am - 9pm (daily)

3. Surround yourself with nature at the scenic Hunter Creek Trail Head

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Get your much-needed dose of Vitamin D at the scenic Hunter Creek Trail, one of the popular hiking trails in Aspen. While beginners are welcome, the trail is moderately difficult as the first mile is elevated, roughly 700 feet (0.3 meters). You can bike, jog, or take a leisurely walk on the dirt track, depending on what your stamina can afford. If you want to spend your day here, you can look forward to a good cardio session and a quiet time with nature. You can access the trail from downtown Aspen that runs parallel to Hunter Creek, covering about 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers) of distance. The lush greenery at Hunter Creek Trail, paired with the sound of flowing waters, creates a relaxing, delightful experience for anyone who wanders, bringing out happy hormones.

Hunter Creek Trail Head

Address: 585 Cemetery Lane, Aspen, CO 81611

4. Catch the view from the Independence Pass

Independence Pass scenic overlook
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Nick Sieger used under CC BY-SA 2.0

At just over 12,000 feet (3,658 meters) above sea level, Independence Pass proves to be one of Aspen’s greatest natural attributes. From peak locations, you’ll enjoy absolutely unparalleled natural sights, and the opportunity to witness to everything that makes the Colorado wilderness a privilege to behold. Bordered on one side by Aspen, on the other by Twin Lakes, Independence Pass was created by ancient glacial movement through the region, and refined by wind and water erosion.

During the summertime, when winter obstacles do not prevent public access, Independence Pass is a haven for both visitors and for locals alike, with its unique combination of unrivaled sights and weather. Catch a great view of Mount Elbert to the east, in an area which was the original home of the Ute Native American tribe! It’s a chance to walk among authentic history, and to simultaneous admire the Aspen wildlife, at Independence Pass!

Independence Pass

Address: Independence Pass, CO 81211

Website: Independence Pass

5. Hike along the Maroon Peak Trail

Maroon Bells
Source: Photo by Flickr user Dhaval Shreyas used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Aspen’s Maroon Peak Trail exists as the distinctive combination of recreation and genuine Colorado majesty. 11.3 miles (18 kilometers) in total duration and winding through the finest of the great Colorado outdoors, the Maroon Peak Trail is popular and well-defined, especially during the summer, when the trail itself comes alive with walkers, hikers, and the like, all individuals looking to take advantage of the sunshine.

The path meanders around a local lake, and proves a local favorite of birdwatchers, for the diversified variety of fowl in the immediate area! Dogs can also accompany you on the Maroon Peak Trail, but must be kept on a leash at all times. Come by the Maroon Peak Trail, and allow the best of the Aspen wilderness to define your day!

Maroon Peak Trail

Address: Snowmass, CO 81654

6. Explore the Smuggler Mine

Smuggler Mine, Aspen, CO
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user bigweasel used under CC BY 2.0

When it’s time to fuel your adventurous side, trust Smuggler Mine in Aspen to do just that: get your adrenaline pumping! Located on aptly-named Smuggler Mountain, Smuggler Mine is among the finest remaining examples of authentic mines in all of the northern Aspen edge. In fact, Smuggler Mine is still in operation! It’s the oldest functioning silver mine in all of Aspen.

Featured on the National Register of Historic Places, Smuggler Mine exists as a near-staple of the region’s history. Come experience what it means to discover the inside of an authentic mine at Smuggler Mine in Aspen! Take the tour or simply explore around the mine’s exterior, for an encounter with Aspen’s rich mining past.

Smuggler Mine

Address: Smuggler Mine, CO 81611

7. Climb up the Collegiate Peaks

Colorado Collegiate Peaks
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user David Herrera used under CC BY 2.0

Perhaps the finest section of the Rocky Mountains’ Sawatch Range, Aspen’s Collegiate Peaks will ideally prove your next Colorado hiking escapade! Named for the nation’s top Ivy League Universities, the collectively named Collegiate Peaks are individually identified by monikers like “Mount Harvard”, “Mount Oxford”, and “Mount Yale”. With extensive summits boasting high treelines and the freshest of air, Collegiate Peaks also features an intricate backcountry, that is easily explorable during peak summer months! And with local roads scaling the majority of the mountain, you can explore to your heart’s content, and know that you’ll never be far from civilization.

Among highly recommended hikes are the Lake Anne Trail excursion, which takes you to a gorgeous body of water approximately 11,800 feet (3,597 m) above sea level. Come visit the Collegiate Peaks and gaze upon premium, untouched Aspen nature!

Collegiate Peaks

Address: Collegiate Peaks, CO 81211

Website: Collegiate Peaks

8. Appreciate the pieces on display at the Baldwin Gallery

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

When it’s time to venture indoors in Aspen, you’d be wise to consider the contemporary art hiatus that is Baldwin Gallery! Long since established as an artistic staple of the state, this iconic stay for local and international works of art is characterized by a range of constantly-changing exhibits, in all types of artistic mediums and modes! Baldwin Gallery includes works from as wide a variety of artists as can be consolidated under a single roof!

From painter Jennifer Bartlett to sculptor Bryan Hunt, the talents of the world’s finest artists are on full display here in Aspen. Video and installation works are also included at the Baldwin Gallery! Come for the range, and stay for the sheer artistic quality, when you make the Baldwin Gallery your next Aspen summertime aspiration!

Baldwin Gallery

Address: 209 S Galena St, Aspen, CO 81611

Website: Baldwin Gallery

9. Go for a tour around the Wheeler-Stallard House

Wheeler-Stallard House, Aspen, CO
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Daniel Case used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Constructed of vintage 1880’s brick, the Wheeler-Stallard House, as fine an example of a Queen Anne-style home as exists in Aspen, has served the Aspen Historical Society since 1969 as a testament to local history. The house itself, now transformed into a fully functioning museum, is well kept by the Society, and features a constantly changing host of exhibits, displays meant to showcase an authentic snapshot of life as it existed in the nineteenth century.

The gem of Aspen’s West End, the Wheeler-Stallard House features extremely affordable admission pricing, in exchange for a genuine taste of life before many feats of modern science! Top hats, authentic Civil War swords, and much more await you behind the friendly wooden doors of the Wheeler-Stallard House!

Wheeler-Stallard House

Address: 620 W Bleeker St, Aspen, CO 81611

Website: Wheeler-Stallard House

10. Explore the wild along the Crater Lake Trail

Crater Lake Trail
Source: Photo by Flickr user Steven dosRemedios used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Starting at the same point as Maroon Peak Trail, Crater Lake Trail allows you the same natural sights and sounds that make the maroon location such a privilege. Experience the full flavor of an Aspen summer when you saunter along the Crater Lake Trail! Less than 4 miles (6.4 km) in total distance and easily accessible, Crater Lake Trail allows you to experience all of the sights and sounds that serve to make Aspen so unique. Dogs are allowed to accompany you, as long as they remain leashed.

Rated as the highest recommended trail of any in the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness, Crater Lake Trail is an Aspen staple you won’t want to miss. To catch the songs of the birds, the feeling of gentle breezes through your hair, and a smile that stems from the sunshine across your face, it’s about time you stopped by the Crater Lake Trail, an Aspen, Colorado go-to!

Crater Lake Trail

Address: Snowmass, CO 81654

11. Enjoy your day out at the Slopeside Lanes

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Check your gloom at the door at the Slopeside Lanes; it’s all about thrill and fun, in a family-friendly atmosphere sure to transform your day into an unforgettable experience! Featuring well-kept bowling lanes and wildly affordable rates, Slopeside Lanes also comes stocked with leather recliners, so that you can relax in style until it’s your turn for a strike! Slopeside Lanes can also host your next social function, whatever the size and scope of the event!

Only minutes removed from the mountains outside, this bowling venue comes alive during the summer, as one of the premiere social hangouts in the area! The lanes are also characterized by a dynamic food and beverages menu, one which includes some of the finest pizza you’ll find region-wide. As long as you’re into bowling, as well as indulgence in one of Aspen’s finest arcade atmospheres, let yourself get lost in the excitement, the likes of which you’ll find only at Aspen’s Slopeside Lanes!

Slopeside Lanes

Address: Daly Ln, Aspen, CO 81611

Website: Slopeside Lanes

12. Grab a bite from HOPS Culture

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

If you think that the Aspen area is without its fine eateries, we encourage you to think again! After a long day on the slopes, the affordable prices and delicious nature of the entire HOPS Culture more than necessitate your visit! Their seasonal menus mean that your favorites are always in style, whether you’re searching for local entree favorites like Colorado Lamb Shank and Southern Belle mac'n'cheese, or you’re looking to explore untested culinary waters with dishes like their falafel wrap! You’ll find yourself surprised by the upbeat atmosphere and the top-notch menu alike when you take the time to visit HOPS Culture in Aspen!

HOPS Culture

Address: 414 E Hyman Ave, Aspen, CO 81611

Website: HOPS Culture

13. Take in the spectacle that is the Conundrum Hot Springs

Colorado Health Club
Source: Photo by user Zach Dischner used under CC BY 2.0

It really doesn’t get better in terms of relaxation than the Conundrum Hot Springs in Aspen. A somewhat difficult venue to reach, given the fact that they are a distance from well-defined trailheads, the Conundrum Hot Springs are nevertheless an absolute must for your next visit to Aspen! Thousands upon thousands will visit the springs during the summer each year, meaning that when you make the easy decision to frequent their grounds, you certainly won’t be alone in your inclinations! Nestled in the heart of surrounding wildlife, dedicated hikers enjoy respite within the warm waters of Aspen’s Conundrum Hot Springs; count yourself among them this summer!

Conundrum Hot Springs

Address: Conundrum Hot Springs, CO 81611

14. Admire nature and art at Aspen Art Museum

Aspen Art Museum
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bkthomson16 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Take an opportunity to admire nature and art all at the same time in Aspen Art Museum, an inspiring place to witness the revolution of contemporary art on an international level. Here, you will find yourself being pulled out of being a passive audience into becoming an active one where you participate in public programs, timely exhibitions, and immersive activities aimed to bring out the creativity in you. So let yourself be embraced by the beauty of art and journey into a dimension that is very unlike other in this very museum itself.

Aspen Art Museum

Address: 637 East Hyman Avenue, Aspen, CO 81611

Website: Aspen Art Musuem

15. Experience the wonders of Broadway talent at Theatre Aspen

Theatre Aspen
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Otterbein Univers... used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Experience the wonders of Broadway talent in Theatre Aspen, where the prominent art and voice of local performers come to life with jaw-dropping musical and plays. The attraction is totally family-friendly so bring along your family and friends to witness how inspirations are born and how legendaries are made here in Theatre Aspen.

Theatre Aspen

Address: 110 EAST HALLAM ST, SUITE 126, ASPEN, CO 81611

Website: Theatre Aspen

Satisfy high aspirations

In Aspen, there’s more than enough thrill to go around. Whether you’re planning on taking advantage of the multiple venues that can teach you more about the area’s valuable history, or you’re looking to turn up your adventurous side with trail hikes and a trip to the Conundrum Hot Springs, Aspen exhibits more than enough excitement to keep you busy, whatever your preferences. History and the outdoors collide in this out-of-the-way Colorado gem, in this year-round recreational haven! Make sure that you’re prepared to have your understanding of a good time thoroughly upgraded, when you choose to spend time in Colorado’s finest getaway! Stick to our recommended list for the top summertime attractions in the Aspen area, for a slew of amenities to satisfy your high aspirations.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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John Gallagher is a digital marketing consultant and writer from San Diego, California. When he isn't thoroughly enjoying the writing process or pretending he thoroughly enjoys the revision...Read more

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