The best time to visit Aspen Snowmass ultimately depends on what you most enjoy. Being locals, we don’t think you can go wrong. But let’s face it, a snow bunny won’t be thrilled with the relentless summertime sun and heat. And a rafting aficionado won’t have the best time in the winter. So we’re recommending that you first decide what you want to get out of your vacation, then we’ll let you know when you might have the most fun.
Aspen Snowmass for Snow Lovers
If you love snow, then winter is the time to book your Aspen Snowmass vacation. Although two of the four Aspen Snowmass ski mountains tend to open as early as Thanksgiving weekend and can stay open as late as May, visiting the valley mid-winter will generally give you the best chance at the best snow.
• The most obvious option is to ski or snowboard at one (or all!) of the four Aspen Snowmass Mountains: Aspen Mountain (AJAX), Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass.
• Get a workout while learning about our valley when you go snowshoeing with ACES Naturalist Guides at Snowmass or Aspen Mountain.
• Blend skiing and biking with snowbiking lessons at Snowmass Mountain.
• Go tubing at the top of the Elk Camp gondola in Snowmass.
• Go dashing through the snow wby booking a horse-drawn sleigh ride with Aspen Carriage.
• Skid through the pristine Colorado backcountry on a morning or afternoon dogsled ride with Krabloonik.
• Take a tour of the local landscape and public groomed trail system by grabbing some cross country skis from Aspen Nordic Center.
• Book an unforgettable adventure through the White River National Forest on snowmobiles with T-Lazy-7 off of Maroon Creek Road.
Aspen Snowmass for Water Lovers
Summertime will be your if you love experiencing the water. Because snowmelt makes for cold water temps at the beginning of the season, you’ll want to be prepared and/or wait until late summer to “suit up.” That said, late spring and early fall can be doable if you’ve got the proper gear and are willing to take an occasional frozen dunk. But ultimately, summer is the best time to be on the water in Aspen.
• Book a guided whitewater rafting tour of the Roaring Fork, Arkansas, and/or Colorado Rivers through an outfitter such as Blazing Adventures.
• Rent a standup paddleboard or take a guided SUP river journey along the Roaring Fork or Colorado Rivers.
• Visit the local recreation centers for indoor (Aspen) and outdoor (Snowmass) pool time.
• Wade into the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan Rivers with local fly fishing experts at Wild Willow Outfitters, Elk Mountain Anglers or Aspen Guide Service.
Aspen Snowmass for Color Lovers
If you love the bright colors that signal the changing of the seasons, then early fall is the time to visit Aspen Snowmass. While the Aspen valley is vibrant year-round (yes, even in the winter we have blues and reds and greens paired with the white), September is the perfect month to experience a golden-hued Aspen with smaller crowds and the most spectacular scenery.
• Enjoy the ultimate fall day with our favorite local fall activity guide.
• Take a stunning fall hike up Aspen Mountain and ride the Silver Queen Gondola back down during the weekends. Or ride the gondola both ways for more relaxing exposure to the scenery.
• Take a drive up Independence Pass, down Castle Creek Road, or take a shuttle to the Maroon Bells.
Aspen Snowmass for Music and Events Lovers
The largest annual events in Aspen take place spring through fall, so if you prefer to be entertained, then that’s your best window. From annual events to smaller, shorter show runs, you’ll find something almost every night of the week. Although the Belly Up hosts prominent musical guests year-round, the largest music events in Aspen Snowmass take place during the summer months, culminating in the JAS Labor Day Experience.
• Most years during June, the Aspen Institute presents its annual Ideas Festival, a prominent celebration of curiosity and innovation.
• Every July and August, the Aspen Music Festival hosts over 400 performances and events during its annual classical musical festival.
• Aspen’s Wheeler Opera House offers summertime Sunset Sessions, a free summer performance series.
• During July and August, you’ll find free live bluegrass performances every Sunday at the top of Aspen Mountain.
• Most years, you’ll be able to attend the Aspen Food & Wine Classic, a premier culinary event, during the summer.
• The Aspen Old Fashioned 4th of July event is a lively community celebration that’s not to be missed.
• JAS Aspen Snowmass usually offers its popular June Experience with high-profile musical acts during June of each year.
Aspen Snowmass for Bike Lovers
While shoulder season cycling can be enjoyable due to cooler temperatures and fewer bikers on the trails, both dedicated and recreational cyclists will find the best biking available during the summer months. Road cyclists and mountain bikers will both love the variety of opportunities for warm weather two-wheeled adventures in our valley.
• Skip the uphill grind and enter downhill-only flow at Snowmass Bike Park, part of our valley’s IMBA Gold-Level Ride Center.
• Take your road or e-bike 42 miles “downhill” over the continuous multi-use Rio Grande Trail from Aspen to Glenwood Springs, then take yourself and your bike back to Aspen via RFTA.
• Rent a mountain bike (or bring your own) to explore the many singletrack trails in and around Snowmass.
• Take a day trip to and from the iconic Maroon Bells via a rented e-bike, or hire Blazing Adventures to drive you to the parking lot and guide you downhill only.
Aspen Snowmass for Adrenaline Lovers
Adrenaline can take many forms, and — depending on your tolerance of risk — can be found in any sport during any time of year. Yet the spring and summer seasons offer the most potential for excitement due to the fair weather and comfortable outdoor temps.
• Get some all-season adrenaline by riding the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster at Snowmass.
• Fly over the peaks and valleys by booking a tandem flight with Aspen Paragliding.
• Make a summer visit to the Lost Forest in Snowmass to brave the Canopy Run Zipline Tour or the Treeline Trial Challenge Course
• Take a scenic glider flight above Aspen, Snowmass, and even the Maroon Bells by booking with Soaraspen Aerial Tours.
• Take an off-roading adventure to the wide-open mountaintops on narrow, rocky roads with a guided Jeep tour.
Where to Stay in Aspen Snowmass
No matter what time of year you find your favorite activities in our valley, you won’t be disappointed. Explore our curated and convenient Aspen and Snowmass vacation rentals, or call our concierge at 1-866-209-1540 for personalized advice on the best location for your maximum enjoyment.