Aspen is a year-round destination for outdoor recreation and adventure. But did you know that Aspen was a mining town long before it became the world-class ski destination it is today? There’s an array of historic sites near Aspen, and they’re waiting to be explored by you. Read on and get ready to dive into the captivating history of Aspen!
Are you searching for more ways to fill your days in Aspen? Take a look at our complimentary Travel Guide. It contains local insight into the area’s best outdoor activities, delicious restaurants, annual events, local attractions, and more.
5 Historic Sites Near Aspen
As you head up Castle Creek Road from the roundabout at Aspen’s west entrance, you’ll find yourself in Ashcroft Ghost Town. This town dates back to 1880, when it was a booming silver mining community. Today, remains still stand from historical buildings, including a saloon, post office, and hotel. Guides from the Aspen Historical Society are in Ashcroft to answer questions and guide you through the town’s fascinating history.
Legend has it that in 1879 prospectors discovered the Independence Gold Lode, which led to a city being created, where 300 people resided. Today, this area is known as Independence Ghost Town and is an archaeological preserve featuring interpretive stations that tell the stories of the area’s rich history. If you’re traveling along the Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway, you must make a stop in Independence.
One of the most notable historic sites in Aspen is the Wheeler Opera House. The building was built in the 1890s and was named after the early developer Jerome B. Wheeler. It was the first property in the city listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the upstairs auditorium hosts annual events, including the Aspen Music Festival, Aspen Laugh Festival, Jazz Aspen Snowmass, and more!
If you’d like to visit another location listed on the National Register of Historic Places during your stay in Aspen, make your way to Ute Cemetery. Dating back to the 19th century, this cemetery was known for being a burial ground for traveling prospectors, soldiers lost during the Civil War, and the poorest people in town. Since then, The National Register has restored parts of Ute in honor of those buried there.
The Aspen Community Church was built in 1890 and remains as beautiful as ever. For years, this church has served generations of people in Aspen and has welcomed travelers from all over. In fact, one of the most famous travelers the church hosted was John Denver, who recorded his Christmas album with the Dickens Carolers in the church with its fantastic acoustics.
Are you searching for one-of-a-kind treasures? You need to visit Columbine of Aspen! For 45 years, this boutique has collected and sold museum-quality fossils, crystals, and meteorites. They intend to provide the “Jewel of Colorado” with the best jewels in the world.
Plan Your Stay in Aspen
Aspen Signature Vacation Rentals has an impressive collection of luxurious vacation rentals for your Aspen getaway. Our properties have all the top-notch amenities, furnishings, and locations you come to expect from a high-end vacation rental company. Whether you want a modern condo in the heart of downtown Aspen or a large family home with plenty of privacy, you’ll find the ideal property for your escape!