10 Fresh Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors in Aspen

10 Fresh Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors in Aspen

Beyond hiking and biking, this mountain town has a bounty of activities to experience off the beaten path.

While often thought of as a skiing destination, locals and anyone who has ever visited Aspen in the spring, summer, or fall will tell you that this cultural haven is even more magical when the weather is warm. Here, a selection of ways to enjoy the outdoors before the snow starts to fall.

Ride and Dine with The Little Nell

The Little Nell has created the dream evening for cycling enthusiasts and oenophiles alike. Guests meet at the gondola plaza with their bike and then choose wine from the 20,000-bottle cellar. (E-bikes are an option too.) After an hour-and-a-half ride on the Rio Grande Trail alongside expansive meadows and the Roaring Fork River, riders arrive at the Mad Dog Ranch for hors d’oeuvres and sparkling wine and enjoy a live musical performance in the ranch’s recording studio, followed by an al fresco, farm-fresh dinner prepared by The Little Nell chefs.

The Mad Dog Ranch in Aspen.

Create a Mala with Seeds of Remembrance

This new wellness experience at The St. Regis Aspen from its Remède Spa connects mind, body, and soul with an indulgent, empowering movement in partnership with progressive yogini, spiritual guide, and founder of Seeds of Remembrance, Alexa Webster. This one-on-one opportunity allows guests to bless their custom mala necklace under the moonlight, alongside a campfire.

The St. Regis Aspen.

Skate on One Wheel

Onewheel is a self-balancing, single-wheel, recreational personal transporteraka a unique electric skateboard. After your one-on-one lesson from the Wheels team at W Hotel, take it out for a speedy and entertaining way to zip around Aspen. Stop by the W’s Townie Truck for a post-ride ice cream. The Townie Truck was introduced at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic but has stayed on due to its popularity.

Enjoy a Private Rooftop Dinner 

For the best dining views in Aspen and a tasting menu complete with wine pairings featuring local Colorado fare, go to the fourth floor of the oldest luxury hotel in Aspen, Hotel Jerome. Start with its famous cheddar biscuits and move on to an heirloom tomato and grilled local peach salad followed by Manhattan-cut sirloin steak with Robuchon potatoes, braised leeks, fennel confit, and green peppercorn sauce, all while looking out over breathtaking views of Aspen Mountain.

Experience a Beautiful Bird’s-Eye View

See Aspen from new heights with Aspen Paragliding, the premier paragliding school in the country, which offers daily sessions with the stunning Aspen scenery underneath you. 

Sailing over the pines and aspens with Aspen Paragliding.

Explore from Above in a Hot Air Balloon

What better way to catch the sunrise over Aspen and Snowmass than with a hot air balloon ride? Above It All Ballooon Co. has been providing this very special start to the day for almost two decades. You’ll launch out of Snowmass in the early morning and float down the valley over Aspen, just in time to see the sun coming over the peaks. 

Have a Jeep Adventure

Voyage into the heart of the Elk Mountains for a Jeep adventure and climb to wildflower-carpeted alpine meadows in the comfort of a custom-outfitted Jeep with Blazing Adventures. A half-day tour includes panoramic vistas above 11,000 feet—or explore the Taylor Pass and go higher than any other Jeep tour, with views that feel as though you’re on top of the world. 

Explore the terrain on a late-summer afternoon in the back of a Jeep.

Relax with an Al Fresco Dinner and Show 

Every Friday evening the patio at the base of the gondola is transformed into an outdoor theatre. Sit on the patio and order from the Ajax Tavern, menu, which features incredible, local, grass-fed wagyu and decadent vegan cauliflower gratin—or reserve a picnic blanket and basket with Veuve Clicquot. The Veuve picnic package includes a fleece blanket, a basket with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, plus fried chicken, kale slaw, potato snap pea salad, truffle popcorn, and chocolate mud. Ajax is also offering live bluegrass every Saturday, 3:00-6:00 p.m., through September.

Have a Gourmet Picnic on the Rio Grande Trail

Many of Aspen’s restaurants offer gourmet takeout experiences, but at the top of the list is Meat & Cheese. Order easily from its website and feast on rotisserie chicken, seasonal salads, and Colorado lamb skewersor bossam, a Korean pork board with butter lettuce, house-made kimchi, quick-pickled cucumbers, Korean sauces, and rice. Enter the Rio Grande Trail at the top of the trailhead and choose from many log picnic tables set creekside for the ultimate in outdoor dining.

Orchestrate a Family Photoshoot at the Aspen Institute

While the Aspen Institute is usually buzzing with activity, things are a bit quieter this season, which makes it the perfect location for a family photoshoot. Take a walk through the wild sage, or nestle between the image-ready, white Aspen trees for a shoot your family will cherish. Local photographers include Jessie Chaney and Alexis Ahrling.

Where to Stay 

The Little Nell 
Opened 1989
What’s New The final touches on the living room and lobby renovation by Luis Bustamante will happen this fall when it closes for the off-season (October 12–November 23).
Rooms From $629

The Little Nell.

The St. Regis
Opened 1998
What’s New Alpine Office Annex—an office at altitude that provides travelers with a workspace environment that lends itself to both productivity and pampering from the comfort of a guest room.
Rooms From $489

A room at The St. Regis Aspen.

W Sky Residences
Opened 2019
What’s New The property made its debut last year.
Rooms Residences from $1,570

W Sky Residences.

Hotel Jerome, Auberge Resorts Collection
Opened 1889
What’s New This summer, guests can enjoy the new courtyard Better Bar.
Rooms From $525

Hotel Jerome.