Colorado Outdoor Excitement and Summer Events
Aspen Snowmass is magical in the summer. The Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness is full of wildflower hiking trails, Snowmass Resort has miles of mountain bike riding, and the Roaring Fork River offers world-class whitewater rafting. In Snowmass Village, you can attend free outdoor concerts with famous performers every Thursday night. To help you plan an exciting Colorado getaway, we’ve highlighted the Top 10 Aspen Snowmass Summer Activities.
Enjoy an Aspen Snowmass Summer
During the summer, sunny days and cool nights make for comfortable weather that’s perfect for outdoor recreation and mountain relaxation. In addition to outdoor activities, Aspen and Snowmass Village host many Colorado summer events, concerts, and festivals. Here are our favorite ways to enjoy Aspen Snowmass in the summer.
Every September, as the aspen leaves begin to turn gold, the sky above Snowmass Village fills with hot air balloons. One of the highest-altitude hot air balloon events in the United States, the Snowmass Balloon Festival brings in 30 pilots to compete in balloon challenges and races. Spectators enjoy colorful balloons floating above high mountain peaks.
When: Early September Where: Snowmass Village Town Park Details: Snowmass Balloon Festival events are free and open to all ages. Daytime events are at the Snowmass Town Park. There is free parking in the Town Park Station parking lot.
2. Whitewater Rafting on the Roaring Fork River
The Roaring Fork River, which runs from Aspen to Glenwood Springs, has fun whitewater rafting for all abilities, ages, adventure levels. Early summer provides the highest water levels as the snow melts out of the Elk Mountains. When conditions are good, you can easily access the river from both Aspen and Snowmass Village.
Slaughterhouse Falls, located right outside of downtown Aspen, is a part of a class 4 section of whitewater that ends at Woody Creek. Between Woody Creek and Basalt, there are lots of class 3 rapids that are fun for families. Below Carbondale, the Roaring Fork gets wider and the calm water is great for relaxing floats.
When: Spring and Summer Where: Aspen to Glenwood Springs
Details: For rafting on the Roaring Fork River, we recommend Blazing Adventures and Aspen Whitewater Rafting. Book with either company before your arrival or day you check-in with our front desk.
3. Snowmass Rodeo
The Snowmass Rodeo takes place every Wednesday night throughout the summer, and this year marks the 45th season for this local favorite. The Rodeo starts at 7 but come early to eat some BBQ and check out the vendor booths and a variety of demonstrations.
When: June 13th- August 22nd Where: Brush Creek Road in Snowmass
Details: Visit the Snowmass Rodeo website to purchase your tickets in advance to save time. Free parking is available and children 11 and under are FREE
Located just outside Aspen, the Maroon Bells are the most photographed mountains in North America. Viewing the Maroon Bells for the first time will take your breath away. These twin peaks stand above 14,000 feet and rise 5,000 feet above Marron Lake. No summer vacation to Aspen Snowmass is complete without seeing the Maroon Bells. For relaxing and enjoying the view, we recommend the scenic loop around Maroon Lake.
When: Spring, Summer, Fall Where: the Elk Mountains, South of Aspen
Details: The Maroon Bells are very popular, so driving Maroon Creek is restricted. During the summer, buses run from Aspen Highlands from 9 am to 5 pm.
Jeeping is a great way to enjoy Colorado’s open spaces. Aspen Snowmass is surrounded by backcountry roads and you can easily get deep into the high country on a Jeep Adventure. Depending on how far you want to go, you can choose from a variety of tours that take you through the old mining towns of Ashcroft, Lenado, and Independence.
When: Spring, Summer, Fall Where: Lenado, Richmond Ridge, Gold Hill, Taylor Pass, Independence Pass Details: Blazing Adventures offers full-day, half-day, and sunset jeep tours.
Every summer, guests can enjoy Snowmass Free Concerts on Thursday evenings. Drawing top musical talent from all over the world, these special outdoor concerts bring locals and visitors together for a wonderful evening under the Colorado sky. Music is a way of life in Snowmass, and there’s nothing better than enjoying free live music outside.
When: Summer – Thursday nights Where: Fanny Hill, right in front of Snowmass Village Mall Details: Outdoor concerts are great for all ages. Bring snacks, chairs, and a blanket for a special picnic.
With miles of single track mountain biking trails, classic road rides, and fun bike trails along the river, Aspen Snowmass is a biking paradise. Visitors can ride the Snowmass Bike Park or take spin up to the Maroon Bells. Cruising the Rio Grande trail from Aspen to the Woody Creek Tavern is a popular activity with a reward at the end. Sky Mountain Park, a new network of trails near Snowmass Village, offers open views of the Roaring Fork Valley.
When: Spring, Summer, Fall Where: Snowmass Resort, Hunter Creek, Sky Mountain Park, Rim Trail Details: You can rent a bike for your whole trip or just try riding for one day. There are lots of great bike shops in both Aspen and Snowmass Village.
If you like high mountain hiking, you’ve come to the right place. From the famous 4 pass loop around the Maroon Bells to scenic walks above Aspen to summiting 14ers, the area around Aspen Snowmass offers amazing hiking for all levels of fitness. During the summer you’ll find wildflower fields, flowing streams, and lots of wildlife. Keep an eye out for moose, bears, and mountain goats.
When: Spring, Summer, Fall Where: Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness, Smuggler Mountain, Independence Pass Details: You could spend a lifetime hiking around Aspen Snowmass. Start early to avoid thunderstorms. Bring extra clothes. The weather changes fast in the mountains.
9. Aspen Music Festival and School
Classical music is synonymous with summer in Aspen. That’s because, every summer, many top classical musicians come to Aspen to practice and perform together. As a part of the Aspen Music Festival and School, there are many live concert performances to choose from. Longtime locals and visitors love spending Sunday evenings enjoying classical music and on the lawn outside the Benedict Music Tent at the Aspen Meadows. Listening to classical music in Aspen Snowmass will invigorate your mind, body, and spirit.
When: Summer – June to August Where: Aspen Meadows, Benedict Music Tent, Joan and Irving Harris Concert Hall, Matthew and Carolyn Bucksbaum Campus, Wheeler Opera House Details: The Aspen Music Festival and School, founded in 1949, is one of the top classical music festivals in the United States. It is known for concert programming and musical training.
East of Aspen, Highway 82 becomes a winding road that rises for thousands of feet to the top of Independence Pass. Driving to the top of Independence Pass is an awesome summer excursion. There a lot of scenic hikes along the way, including the Grottos and Lost Man Loop, and you can see several 14 thousand-foot peaks from the top. Keep your eyes open for marmots, pika, and wildflowers.
When: Summer, Fall Where: East of Aspen Details: At 12,095 feet, Independence Pass is one of the highest paved roads in the United States. Be aware, hiking above 12,000 feet is hard on your lungs.
Stay for the Aspen Snowmass Summer
Many Aspen Snowmass locals say, “I came to Aspen for the winters, but I stayed for the summers.” It’s a special time of year in the Rocky Mountains that we all cherish. We look forward to creating a special Aspen Snowmass summer vacation with you.