stop in EXPLORE BOOKSELLERS for (of course, books & newspapers from all over the world, but also) incredible vegan & vegetarian food. it's amazing what can be done with seitan (coconut satay spears!) and tofu (chocolate pie!). it's upstairs above the bookstore. so beautiful, situated in an old victorian. it became my favorite place to be. the terrace is such a special place to eat. it really is a hidden gem, and i don't think tourists know about it. also, the woman who first owned/operated it passed from cancer a few years back, was a huge animal right activist who tried to have fur BANNED (!!) from aspen back in the 70's & 80's. her name was kathrine sterling. i wish i had a picture to share- it's one of the places i miss the most after leaving aspen. :(
Along the trail up to Smuggler's mine- one of Aspen's local trails. The late May snowmelt has caused the substantial creek flow. Unfortunately, the upper elevations, and trails, remain packed with the wintry residue, making hiking in the Maroone Bells- Snowmass wilderness impossible.
A short trail strolls through the remains of Old Independence, now a ghost town. Beaver ponds, dams and lodges can be found along the river that runs through what used to be an old gold mining town.
Situated at 10,800 feet, walk slowly because you may have a tough time catching your breath!
September brings magnificent fall colors to the Aspen area. A drive up Highway 82, towards Independence Pass is glorious.
Independence Pass has a relatively short season, open only from late June til late September. But the every month has it's special look.
Continuing through town and up Highway 82 will take you through some beautiful and eery Aspen forests. The road gets very narrow and curvy but the trip is worth the effort. Take advantage of frequent pull outs and small parking areas to get out and walk about a bit.
The road leads to the town of Snowmass, not the ski resort but the town itself. The first few miles can be driven by car, but then four wheel drive is required.
The road passes along Snowmass Creek and has views of wide open valleys with Capitol Peak and Snowmass mountain in the distance.
Smugglers mine is located in Smuggler Mountain, across from Aspen mountain. A walking tour leads you 1,200 feet into the mountain. The world's largest silver nugget was extracted from this mine.
Compromise Mine, on Aspen mountain, allows you to ride a mining car 2,000 feet underground below the Little Nell ski run,
Find a map of the area and hike to Cathedral Lake. (About 15 miles or so from Aspen.) You begin in Aspen trees, hit the evergeens and finally end up above the tree line. Here's a link: http://www.hikingincolorado.org/cath.html
A tandem, guided flight with the Aspen Paragliding School offers bird’s-eye views of the surrounding mountain ranges, not to mention a great story to take home and impress your lowland friends. Launch off Walsh’s or Ruthie’s ski runs on Ajax; cost is $175 for a tandem flight. Lessons are also available for pilot certification, 925-7625.
Indoor rock-climbing at the Aspen Recreation Department (920-5140) or the wall at the Aspen Athletic Club (925-2531)
In places like this (Maroone Bells-Snowmass wilderness) there seems to be no limit to the distance one can see- over land, and, perhaps, into oneself.
T.A. Baron, A Walk in the Wilderness
Well, not really. Not even the top of Aspen mountain, as the gondola is not yet operating. But its a nice view of the town from Smuggler's Mine.
A 28 mile multi day hike which leads over 4 12,000 foot mountain passes- West Maroon, Frigid Air, Trail Rider and Buckskin. The trail begins at Maroon Lake.