Why Aspen Should Be Your Top Summer Destination

We often think of Aspen as a winter destination because of its world-class ski mountains. But that doesn’t mean our mountain oasis isn’t a year-round destination. Between the concerts, outdoor recreation, events, restaurants, and sightseeing, Aspen is a top summer destination. Keep reading to discover some of our favorite activities, attractions, and restaurants that you need to experience during your summer getaway. 

If you want to discover more ways to make the most of your time in Aspen, be sure to request access to our complimentary Travel Guide. It’s full of the best things to do and places to see in our area. 

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The Weather

The average high in Aspen is 80 degrees in the summer, and once the sun goes down, it will drop into the mid to high 40s. There are rarely any bugs, and there’s no humidity. Let’s just say that Aspen is the perfect place to be in the summertime!

Independence Pass Lookout

Independence Pass

Whether you’re on a road trip or just want to get out of town for part of the day, take a drive over Independence Pass. The mountain pass, which is along the Continental Divide, sits at 12,095 feet. There’s a scenic overlook and lots of nearby hiking trails.

The top of Independence Pass is 19 miles west of Aspen and 18 miles east of Twin Lakes.

Food and Wine Classic in Aspen

The Food and Wine Classic in Aspen is a foodie haven during the summer. You can meet and greet world-renowned celebrity chefs and winemakers while sampling delicious cuisine right here in town! Purchase your tickets ASAP because this event always sells out quickly.

Maroon Bells

The Maroon Bells are some of the most photographed mountains in the country, making them a must-see during your Aspen vacation. The “Bells” sit right behind Maroon Lake offering breathtaking views. If you are active and want to explore the U.S. Wilderness Area, we highly recommend hiking up to Crater Lake. It’s a moderate hike and is one of the best trails in Aspen.

In the summer, the best way to get to the Maroon Bells is via shuttle. You can park in the Aspen Highlands garage, or take a bus from town, and shuttle into the Maroon Bells from there.


If you are an outdoorsy person, you’ll love hiking the fantastic trails in Aspen during the summer. One of our favorite hikes is the Smuggler/Hunter Creek loop, which is located just outside of downtown and has a scenic overlook of all of Aspen.

The Grottos Trail is another great hike near Aspen. It is a perfect spot to stop on your way up Independence Pass and features a 1.2-mile loop with waterfalls and caves. It’s an awesome spot for a picnic!

Jass Aspen Snowmass (JAS)

Jazz Aspen Snowmass is one of the best summer events in Aspen. JAS hosts multiple events that happen year-round, including Jas Café at the Little Nell, the Cooking School of Aspen, and the Aspen Art Museum. During the summertime, head to the Benedict Music Camp in the West End, which includes food trucks, cocktails, and an unbeatable atmosphere. Also, you can’t forget the Labor Day Weekend music festival, which takes place outside at the Snowmass Town Park.

Outdoor Dining

Aspen has tons of great outdoor dining options for when the warm summer weather arrives — and a wide variety of fabulous restaurants for a small town. From the famous Red Onion to the quaint Creperie, none of the restaurant options will disappoint.

Off-Roading on the Back of Aspen Mountains


Pack a lunch and have a picnic on top of Aspen Mountain (known as “Ajax” to locals). Start by driving up Midnight Mine Road (on the backside of the mountain) and end up at the Sundeck (where the gondola ends).

Relax and take in the views at the top, then drive down the frontside of Ajax — right into downtown.

Aspen Farmers Market

The Aspen Saturday Market takes place weekly from June 16 through October 6. They permit only items grown or produced in Colorado to sell during the downtown event. We recommend the Palisades peaches and Aspen Crunch granola!

Golf in Aspen Golf Course


There is plenty of great golfing in the Roaring Fork Valley. The Aspen Golf Club is a public, 18-hole golf course with a PGA award-winning pro shop, tennis courts, and restaurant.

The Aspen Golf Course sits just outside of downtown Aspen (near the airport), which makes it a convenient option. And, it is only a 10-minute drive from Snowmass Village.

Fly Fishing

There are plenty of great fly fishing guides between Aspen and Glenwood Springs, depending on where you would like to go and if you prefer a float trip or wade trip. The main fishing spots are on the Roaring Fork River or the Frying Pan River in Basalt. This is the perfect activity for some bonding time with family or friends.

Mountain Biking in Forest

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is the “next big thing” in the Western States, especially here in Aspen/Snowmass! If you enjoy cross-country mountain biking, head to Snowmass and try some of our favorite trails. If you prefer to bike downhill only, take the Elk Camp Gondola up and spend the day at the Snowmass Bike Park. There are several lunch options at the Snowmass Bike Park as well as the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster.

Hot Air Balloon

Watch the sunrise over our majestic mountains here in Aspen/Snowmass with your loved one or your family on a hot air balloon adventure. Schedule a pick up from your vacation rental before sunrise and head to Snowmass Town Park to the hot air balloon. Enjoy champagne and some brunch once you’ve landed back on the ground!

Pine Creek Cookhouse

Enjoy a biking or driving excursion through the beautiful Castle Creek Valley. On the way, stop at the Ashcroft Ghost Town to learn about the history of Aspen. The Pine Creek Cookhouse is located at the end of the road and has a relaxing patio with gorgeous views of the Elk Mountain Range!


Aspen Music Festival and School

Founded in 1949, the Aspen Music Festival and School is one of the most prestigious classical music festivals in the country. Talented young men and women train together with some of the top instructors and put on jaw-dropping shows for a total of eight weeks. The summer season features themed performances around town. You can buy tickets to individual performances or passes to the entire season.

Gondola Rides

There’s nothing quite like a gondola ride during the summer in Aspen. Take the Elk Camp Gondola (in Snowmass) or the Silver Queen Gondola (on Aspen Mountain) and check out the fun activities to enjoy with your family.


From hiking and mountain biking to yoga and lawn games, there is something for everyone. You’ll find dining at the top of each gondola as well — the Elk Camp Restaurant is in Snowmass, and the Sundeck Restaurant is on Aspen Mountain. Both are grab-and-go and have a large variety of options, from paninis to pizza.

Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater rafting is a popular summer activity in Aspen, and there are many trips (and levels) to choose from. Take on the big rapids or having a quiet and relaxing float — the choice is yours!

Snowmass Rodeo

The Snowmass Rodeo starts in mid-June and takes place every Wednesday night through August 22 at the Snowmass Town Park. The rodeo grounds (and BBQ by Conundrum Catering Co.) open at 5 p.m., and the rodeo begins at 7 p.m. sharp.

Free Outdoor Concerts

There are free outdoor concerts on Fanny Hill in Snowmass almost every week of the summer! Grab some blankets, wear comfortable clothing, and bring layers — it can be chilly once the sunsets. You’ll be all set to relax (or dance) while a variety of talented musicians jam out on stage.

Discover Your Aspen Summer RetreatThe Sanctuary exterior 

Are you ready to enjoy the ultimate summer vacation to our mountain destination? We have an incredible selection of properties here at Aspen Signature Vacation Rentals. Experience our beautiful town and surrounding mountains in luxurious and high-end atmospheres. Our premium Concierge Services also provide you with everything from grocery delivery to transportation, so you can make the most of your trip. 

Start planning your Aspen getaway today by booking one of our premium vacation rentals. We look forward to welcoming you to our mountain oasis.