An Aspen Guide: Beyond the Slopes

Aspen is world-renowned as a ski mecca, its powdered slopes long a sirens’ song for the winter adventurous. But, let’s face it, not all of us can (for reasons psychological to physical) answer the call.

Thankfully, as this Aspen guide will show you, the area has far more than just skiing to offer. “If you can’t hit the slopes, don’t worry,” says Elliman’s Melanie Muss, who has lived and worked in the Aspen area for more than 12 years. “There are so many other great things to do in Aspen at all times of the year.”

From hot springs to hiking trails, here are five things to do in Aspen that you won’t need your skis to enjoy.

1. Explore Aspen’s Art

“Aspen is such an arts town, and the museum is where you should start,” says Muss, also pointing out the numerous galleries downtown. The Aspen Art Museum is home to some of the newest and most important evolutions in contemporary art. Current exhibitions include artists Sarah Cain and Ugo Rondinone. When you visit, don’t miss lunch at SO, on the museum’s top floor. “It’s one of the best lunch spots in town and has great views of both Aspen Mountain and Independence Pass.”

2. Find your Spirit Animal

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A nature preserve right in the heart of downtown, the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) is a protected home for rescued birds of prey. “This place is unbelievable,” adds Muss. “An absolute must-visit.”

3. Take a Hike

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Hiking or snowshoeing is great exercise for those outdoor types who prefer a lighter activity than skiing. Muss suggests a hike up to Ashcroft Ghost Town, a registered National Historic Landmark known for its rich local history and breath-taking views. And don’t pass up lunch at Pine Creek Cookhouse while you’re there. Just a mile down the trail, the restaurant is famous for serving wild game and fresh fish, paired with organic, locally sourced ingredients.

4. Relax in Hot Springs

“Treat yourself,” says Muss. “You won’t be disappointed.” Simply take the 45-minute trek down valley for the world famous springs and mud wraps at Glenwood Hot Springs and their award-winning spa.

5. Explore on Fat Bikes 

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“If there is a little bit of packed snow, which we have had, Fat Bikes are a great way to get around and explore the area. You can bike up to Woody Creek Tavern or on any of the roads that are closed for winter right now. The views will be rewarding.”

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