At Aspen Snowmass, the winter season gets a lot of attention (as well it should, due to the abundance of winter sports in the Roaring Fork Valley), but in many ways, the end of summer is even better.
Beginning with the Aspen Snowmass Labor Day experience, Aspen is packed with September activities. Over the course of the month, you’ll catch the fall foliage show as well as the last of the outdoor live music events. The winter-famous gondola rides and world-famous eateries are also up and running in September, giving visitors the full Aspen Snowmass experience even before the snow falls.
Take a look at some of the best September activities Aspen and Snowmass Village have to offer:
1. Treat Yourself to the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Experience
Immerse yourself in three whole days of live music by names you’ll instantly recognize. Every year, September begins with this outdoor concert and musical celebration. You’ll experience three to five performances per day, representing a wide range of musical genres. Single day tickets are available if you’ve got more autumn activities to pack into your visit.
2. Leaf Peep at the Maroon Bells or Along Castle Creek
New England tourists won’t flock to see the leaves until October, but the leaves in Aspen Snowmass change several weeks earlier. Every September you’ll see fall colors of bright yellow and sunny orange covering the mountainsides and valleys around the Maroon Bells. The drive along Castle Creek and the hike to Cathedral Lake also provide memorable autumn views. You’ll find box elder, Rocky Mountain maple, and quaking aspen lit up in vibrant hues, set off by the darker native evergreens which give the September landscape depth and intrigue.
3. Ride the Aspen Snowmass Gondolas All the Way to the Top
One of our favorite ways to take in the beauty of the change of seasons is via the views from the Aspen Mountain and Snowmass Mountain gondolas. In the winter, these elevated cable systems are the fastest ways to get to the top of the ski slopes. In September, they provide a glorious view of the colorfully covered mountainside forests. Once you get to the top of the lift systems, all of the restaurants most favored by the winter crowd will be open and ready to serve you a five-star autumn meal. For a more intimate view of the leaves without purchasing lift tickets, you can tackle the steep terrain and hike to the top of Aspen Mountain, then ride the gondola back down for free.
4. Watch Cloud-Chasing at the Annual Snowmass Balloon Festival
Each year (usually around the first week of September), Snowmass hosts the world's highest and fastest hot air balloon race. At the annual Snowmass Balloon Festival, you’ll see hundreds of colorful competitors gracefully floating over the treetops, then up to altitude and away to the finish line. Numerous booths and activities surround the staging area to further entertain (and feed) kids traveling with their parents.
5. Enjoy Fantastic Dining in Aspen Snowmass
Aspen Snowmass has magnificent dining, and families and couples can be seen enjoying great food surrounded by the outdoors all summer long. September in Aspen (and in Snowmass Base Village) is usually the last month when outdoor dining is a comfortable option, and you’ll find plenty of accommodating establishments in town. September evenings in Aspen Snowmass usually bring a bit of a chill, so you may find yourself getting cozy indoors with a sizzling hot meal or a gourmet coffee with dessert.
6. Try Adventure Mountain Biking on the Tom Blake Trail
The undulating terrain of Aspen Snowmass terrain was made for mountain biking, and the Roaring Fork region has hundreds of miles of trails. You’ll find turn after turn of breathtaking scenery that you might swear just jumped off a postcard. The Tom Blake Trail is a favorite beginners MTB trail throughout the summer and into September. For a relatively low-impact ride, you’ll be rewarded with acres of changing foliage and breathtaking mountain vistas.
7. Explore Hiking Trails From Independence Pass
You don't need a bike or a car to get a dose of local September scenery. Experienced hikers can follow trails from Independence Pass trails through the local woodland (you might even find some wild berries for a snack). These trails follow the wild Roaring Fork River and drift out over the Continental Divide. What can be a nail-biting (but perfectly safe) 45-minute drive becomes days' worth of adventures on foot. Trails vary in difficulty, but anyone from beginner to expert can find a scenic hike that's just the right challenge.
No matter the activities you prefer and regardless of your favorite season, there's no denying that the fine dining and mountain trails make the Aspen Snowmass area of Colorado an amazing place to visit with your family.
When the warm days are over and the late-summer, early-September chill hits the air, the perfect mountain adventure can end with a cozy evening indoors at your Aspen Snowmass vacation rental. September in Aspen hits that relaxing sweet spot between the crowds of summer adventurers and the ski season rush to the slopes. This means you’ll have plenty of options for both basic and luxury rentals.
Book early to be sure you get the spot that's close to some of your favorite September Aspen Snowmass events!