When the gondola and ski lifts stop operating around mid-April, Snowmass becomes a bit more quiet. You can enjoy the welcome pause during April and May between the end of peak season and the start of summer adventures by booking a Snowmass vacation. Since even locals tend to hide out during shoulder (mud) season, you’ll practically have the place to yourself!
While spring shoulder season isn’t the busiest time of year, the Roaring Fork Valley is known for its active local population, so there’s always plenty to populate your vacation itinerary. We’ve selected our seven favorite Snowmass activities for April and May visitors below.
#1 — Snowmass Spring Hiking
There are a number of beautiful hikes directly accessible from Snowmass.
— Hike the Rim Trail from the south trailhead up to the 360-degree views at Spiral Point (the yin yang, as locals know it). The South Rim Trail starts across Brush Creek Road from Base Village, and it’s a short but steep hike with great photo opportunities.
— The Tom Blake Trail becomes a favorite mountain biking trail during the summer months, but it’s generally too muddy to ride in the spring. You can follow this trail on foot to explore the Snowmass ski area while surrounded by stunning aspen and pine trees.
— Try the Nature Trail just above the Snowmass Village Mall, starting from Lot 7 (which has free parking). Wind through the aspens along a stream, spot beaver dams, and enjoy the fresh spring mountain air.
— Hike up the Vista Trail from Base Village by following the path of the Elk Camp Gondola, then stop to have lunch at the Elk Camp Restaurant.
#2 — Free Naturalist Treks
— ACES Guided Trek: Through mid-April, the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) offers two daily guided tours along the Nature and Sleighride Trails, starting from the Ticket Pavilion at Snowmass Mall. ACES educators will teach you about the Snowmass mountain habitat as well as local Snowmass history. No ticket is needed.
— ACES Ski Tour: Through April (assuming there’s still snow) each year, meet an ACES Naturalist at the top of Elk Camp lift (Wapiti Wildlife Center) to learn about the Snowmass high alpine environment (including avalanches, local wildlife, tracking and habitats, and more) while skiing a run. A lift ticket and ski/snowboard gear are required to take the Elk Camp Gondola and the Elk Camp lift.
#3 — Fly Fishing in Snowmass
If you don’t already know how to fly fish, Snowmass is the perfect place to learn. The Roaring Fork Valley includes numerous world-class fishing spots; two local rivers have been designated as “Gold Medal Waters” by Colorado Parks & Wildlife. Check out local fly shops and hire local fishing guides to provide you with the gear and knowledge you need to catch your first (or hundredth) trout. Note: You’ll also need a fishing license if you don’t have one already.
#4 — Music on the Mall
Enjoy weekly live music on the Tower Stage at Snowmass from 3–5pm through mid-April. Have a seat, enjoy the fresh air and mountain views, and listen to local music while munching on complimentary s’mores.
#5 — Snowshoeing
Believe it or not, snow can still be found in the mountains around Snowmass, even when the ski lifts are closed for the season! Many local adventure companies (such as Ute Mountaineer and SunDog Athletics, both based in Aspen just down the road) offer guided outings in the valley and backcountry. While you don’t need a guide, your adventure will be much more enjoyable if you’re led by someone who knows the gear, the route, and the local environment.
#6 — Art on View in Snowmass
Snowmass may boast fewer dedicated galleries than you’ll find in downtown Aspen, but the slower shoulder season means you can experience artistic displays without bumping shoulders. You’ll often find sculptures and other installations scattered around Base Village and the Mall. In Base Village, you’ll find contemporary experimental artworks at Straight Line Gallery. Not far down the road, you can visit the gallery and gift shop at Anderson Ranch. You may even choose to sign up for a workshop or an art lecture while you’re in town.
#7 — Long-Distance Road Biking
Spring kicks off road biking season in the Roaring Fork valley. Since both the road to the Maroon Bells and Independence Pass are still closed to traffic through the end of May, you’ll have these scenic roads nearly to yourself. If you’re visiting Snowmass in April or May, use this luxury to your advantage. Plan a day’s excursion on each road, take a picnic, and marvel at the spectacular (and iconic) mountain views amidst peace and quiet.
A Spring Stay in a Luxury Vacation Rental
If you’re planning on visiting Snowmass during April or May, securing the perfect vacation rental is essential. Your trip will be so much more enjoyable when everything’s at your fingertips. Be sure to contact us for assistance in finding the most convenient and comfortable location for you and.or your family.