THE 2016 ASPEN SECRET: THE BEST TIME TO VISIT ASPEN IS FROM May to October
There’s an old adage in Aspen that nearly every “local” can relate to: “I came for the winter, but stayed for summer.” While the ski slopes of Aspen’s four surrounding mountains beckon winter-sports enthusiasts, it is spring, summer, and autumn that compel many to fall in love with Aspen, Colorado. An endless array of arts, culture, dining, and nightlife during non-winter months give Aspen an urbane feel that belies its small-town charm.
When you combine a year-round outdoor lifestyle accessed from your hotel lobby or doorstep and a jam-packed cosmopolitan cultural calendar with a bustling downtown atmosphere and centrally located airport, it’s no wonder why Aspen is a world-renowned destination throughout the entire year.
More than 60 years ago, Aspen made a name for itself as a winter destination when visionary skiers, philosophers, blue-collar workers, and locals created a cultural hub high up in the Rocky Mountains centered around skiing. Summertime and the seasons that bookend summer, however, illustrate the “mind, body, spirit” ethos that makes Aspen so special. We invite you to discover why spring, summer, and fall make this town nearly perfect throughout the year.
Aspen is an incomparable destination with myriad outdoor adventures. From hiking and biking to rafting and fly fishing, with a passion for visual arts, music, and the written word, and boasting some of the finest hotels and restaurants in the world, Aspen, Colorado has something for everybody. The sun shines in this part of the Colorado Rockies more than 300 days per year, making Aspen an ideal training environment for world-class athletes, those looking for a respite from their busy schedules, and people who just want to explore the mountains.
But what sets Aspen apart from other mountain towns is the striking beauty of the natural landscape and the close-knit community of locals who have planted roots in our idyllic mountain town. Aspen is, without compare, the greenest, healthiest, most sophisticated, and beautiful small town in America.
Situated in a wide mountain valley on the Western Slope of the Colorado Rockies, Aspen is centered in the West's most scenic and accessible mountain ranges — the Elk Mountains and Sawatch Range, a 20-minute drive over Independence Pass to the Continental Divide.
After the ski lifts close each April and the snow begins to melt, trees start budding, wildflowers color the countryside, and the rivers return to peak levels. Aspen becomes a serene and rejuvenating retreat during “shoulder season.” With bluebird skies and thin crowds, there’s no shortage of arts, culture, entertainment, and outdoor activities perfect for spring's longer days. The renowned restaurants that line Aspen’s streets and pedestrian brick “malls” open al fresco dining and often prepare discounted Prix Fixe menus for locals and in-the-know visitors.
As Memorial Day approaches, spring turns into "The Secret Season™." The weather is warm, town is lively, and lodging prices are at their most affordable rates. There is a jam-packed calendar of events and live music during The Secret Season, and the endless network of trails that encircle Aspen are primed to explore by foot or by bike.
The headwaters of the Roaring Fork River begin at Independence Pass at the Continental Divide, where unspoiled mountain runoff runs through the heart of downtown. In Aspen, the beautiful Hunter Creek cascades between Red Mountain and Smuggler Mountain to join with the Roaring Fork. Just out of the center of town, Maroon Creek and Castle Creek converge with the Roaring Fork. The river travels down valley where the Fork meets with two more rivers — the Fryingpan and Crystal — before the confluence with the great Colorado River in Glenwood Springs.
Summer also brings the cultural soul of Aspen to life, with an artistic calendar rivaling those of a thriving metropolis. The esteemed Aspen Music Festival & School, the contemporary Aspen Art Museum, The Aspen Institute, Theatre Aspen, and Aspen Writers' Foundation are just a sample of Aspen's artistic heritage.
And when the autumn’s aspen leaves begin to quake with the wind, our town becomes a quiet refuge for renewal and peace of mind. The warm days, cool nights, and changing leaves contrasting to early season snow high on the peaks make Aspen an ever-changing eye-catching experience.
You can find the complete 2016 spring/summer/fall media kit with information about Aspen's events, outdoor pursuits, new attractions, activities, and more on this media site. We are constantly gathering and releasing new information about Aspen and we will be updating these releases regularly. Please contact us if you are working on a story or would like to arrange a visit.
We look forward to sharing our unique mountain town with you, answering any questions you have, helping you to craft story ideas, providing more detailed information, arranging a visit, or just providing a local's perspective on living in America's most exceptional small town.