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Your guide to Aspen
Celebrities, counterculture icons, and mountain lovers of all stripes have long been drawn to Aspen, one of Colorado’s most popular getaways. This resort town in the Rocky Mountains brings understated sophistication to the alpine slopes. In addition to the nearby ski resorts, famous for their dry and powdery snow, you’ll find downtown Aspen filled with upscale restaurants, galleries, and a notable art museum. This is also the original home of the world-renowned Aspen Institute, founded here in 1949 as a retreat for intellectuals, artists, and business leaders. If culture and skiing aren’t on the day’s agenda, chances are you’re out hiking and biking through the photogenic landscapes.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Aspen
Each season shows off a different side of Aspen, a truly year-round destination. If it’s snow you seek, book one of the area’s vacation rentals for the winter months, as February and March typically offer the best conditions on the slopes. Daytime highs in the winter months are usually a tad above freezing. Pack warm coats and boots, as the temperatures get colder the higher you climb. Spring gradually brings warmer weather, even though the snow on higher-elevation hiking and biking trails may not entirely melt until May or even June. (In late spring and early summer, wildflowers bloom throughout the region.) Annual festivals take advantage of the mild summer weather, with typical highs in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit. Crowds thin in the fall, when the bright autumn colors reward hikers and photographers.
Top things to do in Aspen
With snow-dusted mountains defining Aspen’s skyline, you’ll find slopes around town for almost any kind of skier. Four resorts make up the area’s world-class winter sports scene: Snowmass, Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands, and Aspen Mountain. Added together, they offer more than 5,000 acres of snowy terrain.
White River National Forest
There are plenty of reasons White River National Forest remains the most visited national forest in the United States: Within its sprawling 2.3 million acres, you’ll find 11 ski areas, more than 2,500 miles of trails, and peaks climbing to 14,000 feet above sea level. Of all the scenic views in the forest, the Maroon Bells — a pair of giant mountains — may be the most photographed.
John Denver Sanctuary
Fans flock to this meditative park, set along the Roaring Fork River, to pay their tributes to the famous musician. The late “Rocky Mountain High” singer and Colorado poet laureate lived in Aspen for much of his life. In the Song Garden, you’ll find lyrics to many of his hit songs etched on river boulders.