Aspen Is Just As Enchanting in Summer — Here’s Where to Stay, What to Do, and Where to Eat – Travel + Leisure

 In Coverage

While Aspen’s ski resorts are still a big draw, there’s something about summer in this cheerful mountain town.

Maroon Bells. Aspen
Maroon Bells – Trevor Triano

I first experienced summer in Aspen 25 years ago, when I attended the wedding of two close friends. I landed on a picture-perfect day. Without snow, the red-clay cliffs and forested peaks of Colorado’s Elk Mountains, a sub-range of the Rockies, looked improbably close to the airport. A cerulean sky, dazzling sunshine, warm, dry air: these reliable conditions have drawn nature lovers to the Roaring Fork Valley ever since the boom times of silver mining in the late 19th century.

But as anyone who has spent time in the Rockies knows, there’s no such thing as reliable mountain weather. After dropping off my luggage at a B&B in town (a charming Victorian that has since been transformed into the private home of Laurene Powell Jobs), I joined my friends for a bike ride to inaugurate their wedding weekend. We set off on one of Aspen’s classic cycling routes, a seven-mile ascent of the Maroon Bells, a pair of jagged, purple-hued peaks, via a barely populated road ablaze with wildflowers. By the time we crested the top, however, gray clouds had consumed the bright sky. It began to snow, hard. My descent, in a sleeveless jersey and shorts, was memorably miserable. But it only took a long hot shower to restore my high spirits — because I find it impossible not to have high spirits in this good-time town.

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