806 West Hallam Street Aspen, CO 81611 +1 970 925 3445
This is a wonderfully appropriate name for a trail, for like the government itself, there are some things you like and other things that will cause you to foam in the brain. It covers 13 miles (21 kilometers) and, depending on your ability, takes two to five hours to complete. Single tracks, fire roads, stream crossings, mud, steep descents and thigh-burning climbs all combine to make for a great ride. It spills out at Iselin Park on Maroon Creek Road. From Snowmass, take Woods Road to Pine Lane. Follow it to where it dead-ends, pass through the gate and begin pedaling.
Rated as the easiest of Aspen's four mountains, this gem of an area is the perfect environment for beginners to find their ski-legs. Seven lifts service 43 trails that are predominantly rated for beginners and intermediates. Most of the mountain is groomed nightly so as to aid the skiing confidence. It is a great place to drop off the kids while you ski one of Aspen's other mountains. Snowboarders can get radical at two terrain parks and a half-pipe. Lessons are available for all levels. Three on-site restaurants cater to hunger and thirst.
806 West Hallam Street The Lost Man's Trail Aspen, CO 81611 +1 970 925 3445
If you have a day to hike, and then another day to recover, jot this remote trail down on your 'Things to do while in Aspen list.' This mountain path covers 8.8 miles (14.2 kilometers) and zigzags near Independence Pass before descending down a jeep trail back to Aspen. The thin air can be a factor because the hike starts at 10,504 feet (3202 meters) and peaks at over 12,000 (3658 meters). You will need someone to shuttle you to the trailhead because it is a one-way journey. Follow Route 82 east for 14 miles (22.5 kilometers); the trailhead is directly across the road from Lost Man Campground.
806 West Hallam Street Grizzly Reservoir Aspen, CO 81611 +1 970 925 3445
This is a handy trail if you want something that is relatively close to town and that will free you from the crowds. The hike is 3.6 miles (5.8 kilometers) one way, and because it gains almost 2000 feet (61 meters) in elevation, it does have its moments of agony. After starting in thick lodgepole pine, it eventually yields to alpine tundra above tree line. Camping and fishing is allowed at Grizzly Lake, but remember to bring a stove since fires are not permitted. Follow Route 82 east to Lincoln Creek Road on your right. Follow this dirt road for 6.1 miles (9.8 kilometers), and the trailhead will be just beyond the reservoir.
Lincoln Creek Road & Highway 82 Aspen, CO 81611 +1 970 925 3445
Despite being nothing more than an unpaved jeep trail, this eleven-mile (18-kilometer) stretch of forest road is Aspen's version of a superhighway into the backcountry. From beginning to end, it ascends over 1200 feet (366 meters) and features some steep uphill hauls, which are great fun for jeeps and mountain bikers. Grizzly Reservoir, at mile six (9.7 kilometers in), is a great spot for fishing and at 9.5 miles (15.5 kilometers) take the left fork to the ghost town of Ruby. During winter, it becomes a favorite of cross-country skiers, snowshoers and snowmobilers.
This is a great place to picnic if you want mountain solitude without having to hike six hours to find it. All three picnic spots are within a five minute walk from the trailhead. For true ooh-look-at-this beauty, cross the bridge and follow the Old Stage Road to a picnic spot that borders the Roaring Fork River and includes a fishing dock. Larger groups should follow the left path, just before the bridge, for 200 yards where it spills out upon a huge picnic site.
This state campground, which is located just five minutes east of town, is a perfect way to experience all the magic of Aspen at just a few dollars a night. It offers 47 tree-surrounded sites to choose from. Some of them can be reserved in advance and are limited to five days maximum. RV drivers should take note that there are only a limited number of spurs to accommodate vehicles over 40 feet. Pack accordingly, for the nights get cool at 8200 feet (2500 meters). The camp is open from mid-May to late September. For directions, camp opening and closing dates, seasonal rates, and further campsite information, check out the website.
3930 North Battlement Parkway Parachute, CO 81635 +1 970 285 7274
One of the unknown advantages of Aspen is that, thanks to Battlement Mesa, visitors can enjoy golf in the winter. Located just more than one hour away, this ski town favorite offers 18 magical holes of thin-air golf. Its fairways are wrinkled with rolling hills, but do play long. The par-5 seventh hole drops 200 feet (61 meters) from tee to green and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The back nine holes teeter on a mesa, penalizing all players with hooks. Green fees are low; call for exact prices.
259 County Road 5 Leadville, CO 80461 +1 719 486 2176
If you want to add distance to your shots without enduring long weeks of lessons, play this course. At over 10,000 feet (3048 meters) it is the highest golf course in North America. The ball rockets through the thin air making you feel like a professional. The 9-hole course winds through stands of lodgepole pine and due to the altitude, the greens must use a special grass so they play very slow. The hour drive over scenic Independence Pass is worth the time.
Given the fact that this art gallery is remotely located in the Castle Creek Valley in an old log cabin that is across the street from the Ashcroft Ghost town, underscores its one-of-a-kind feel. Built in 1948, it has become world renown for earthy, handcrafted art. The gallery houses one of the finest collections of Zapotec rugs in North America. There are also ceramic sculptures, pottery, marble jewelry, custom carved doors and handcrafted wood furniture. Many of the items can be custom-made. Just the drive alone through the stunning Castle Creek valley is worth the visit.
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