I fell in love with Aspen Snowmass, Colorado. It was the vision I’ve had for years of my perfect mountain town appeared for me – warm, friendly, homegrown, small-town, perfect for families, and unpretentious.
Although considered a winter destination because of its world-class ski slopes, I found there are plenty of things to do in Snowmass no matter the time of year you visit.
We don’t have mountains in Australia so being in the Rocky Mountains is like walking into fairy tale land.
It’s mesmerizing and awe inspiring, and I feel giddy each time I gaze at the snow covered jagged peaks. If you’re used to it, you might not get the same champagne buzz that I do.
Combine that with the colours of the bright blue sky, the alpine trees, the lush greenery and the rapidy rivers; I’m in total heaven. Get me out rolling amongst those wildflowers in bloom!
If you’re not sure what to do in Snowmass, below you will find some top attractions and activities for winter and summer…
- Things to Do in Snowmass, Colorado in Summer
- 1. Go Bike Riding along the Roaring Forks River
- 2. Enjoy A Campfire and BBQ Evening at Rock Bottom Ranch
- 3. Take A Morning Hike to Yin Yang Lookout
- 4. Visit the Anderson Ranch Arts Center and Gallery
- 5. Drive the Independence Pass Scenic Drive
- 6. Go for a Mountain Bike Ride
- 7. Check Out The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies
- 8. Go Horseback Riding
- 9. Try Whitewater Rafting
- 10. Take a Scenic Gondola Ride
- 11. Try Your Hand At Disc Golf
- 12. Visit the Snowmass Rodeo
- 13. Watch the Snowmass Balloon Festival
- 14. Enjoy A Free Concert on Thursdays
- 15. Try Fly Fishing
- Things to Do in Snowmass in the Winter
- Where To Stay in Snowmass: The Viceroy Hotel
- Before You Go…
- Final Thoughts on Visiting Snowmass, Colorado
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Things to Do in Snowmass, Colorado in Summer
Below are some of the top attractions in Snowmass for a summer vacation. You can also do these attractions in the Spring and Fall.
I will share some winter things to do further down.
1. Go Bike Riding along the Roaring Forks River
20 miles sounds like a long bike ride when your popping on the helmet, but when the gradient is slightly downhill, it’s quite quick and effortless.
Thank goodness we did not have to return by bike. We had a bus to drive us back after a few campfire beers.
Blazing Adventures took us along the Rio Grande Trail, which follows the region’s historic old rail line, extends over 80 miles between Aspen and Glenwood Springs.
It followed the Roaring Fork Valley and River through the valley and offered incredible Snowmass mountain views. I even saw a deer peeking at us from behind a tree.
Half of our crew decided to do the white water rafting with Blazing Adventures along the Roaring Fork. We managed to find a clearing beside the road to spy on them.
I was gutted at first when they said the rapids were grade 4 as I would have chosen to do that one.
It turned out they were a bit more sedate, and no one fell overboard, so I was happy with my relaxing bike ride. We’ll be back to do those rapids another day.
2. Enjoy A Campfire and BBQ Evening at Rock Bottom Ranch
Colorado Rockies. BBQ. Craft Beer. Fire. Lassoing demonstration. Can you have a better experience in Colorado?
The bike ride and white water rafting finished at Rock Bottom Ranch, an 113-acre wildlife preserve.
Rock Bottom Ranch is a working farm where educational programs take place. Families can take farmyard tours (complete with goats, pigs, chickens, and ponies), sit down for a picnic, and then pick up sustainable agricultural products before heading home.
We’re looking forward to experiencing more of this when we return to Colorado with the kids.
This time, we had a delicious barbeque courtesy of Slow Groovin’ BBQ from Marble Colorado and craft beer from the Roaring Fork Beer Company located in Carbondale, Colorado.
There was a bit of lassoing thrown in around the campfire as well as a stunning sunset. These are the unique cultural flavours we travel to experience.
3. Take A Morning Hike to Yin Yang Lookout
I was surprised that only Laurence, Craig and myself got up early to do the hike to Yin Yang Lookout, which starts at the edge of Snowmass Base Village.
It was a quick 30-minute switchback hike which is part of the longer Rim Trail along the alpine ridgeline. It was such a great way to start the day, it shook out the hangover and energized me for the rest of the day.
The Yin Yang Lookout offers incredible 360-degree views of Snowmass, Mt. Daly, Capital Peak and down on Ziegler Reservoir (site of the Ice Age Discovery).
4. Visit the Anderson Ranch Arts Center and Gallery
We had an enjoyable visit to the Anderson Ranch Art Gallery.
I was impressed with the way this community has been created to help artists from around the world to come and hone their skills, to learn and collaborate with each other through many artistic expressions such as printing, ceramics, wood working, and sculpture.
The artists come from all around the world to attend workshops and stay at the ranch and its beautiful surrounds.
One of my favourite moments of the entire Snowmass trip was listening to one of The Hass Brothers, the current visiting artist, describe the intricate pattern and language system he created with the printing design.
No one understood a word he said, all we heard was intense passion and joy.
All I could say at the end was, “Wow. That was awesome.” And his artwork and strange alphabet thing he created were beautiful.
5. Drive the Independence Pass Scenic Drive
What a way to finish off an incredible Snowmass experience by taking the Independence Pass road back to Denver.
It’s quicker than the highway and far more beautiful.
Independence Pass is the highest paved mountain pass in Colorado at 12095ft and is one of the most spectacular drives in the US passing clear rivers, beautiful valleys, steep peaks, and extensive aspen forests.
It will take you over the Continental Divide, through the US’s highest incorporated city, to get to Leadville, a small US Town at a whopping 10,152ft high, where we stopped for lunch.
There are plenty of places to stop along the way to take photos.
6. Go for a Mountain Bike Ride
Snowmass is a mountain biker’s paradise. There are over 52 miles of biking trails in Snowmass Village, that offer a range of difficulty levels, from easy and scenic to technical and challenging.
With its stunning mountain views, lush forests, and pristine alpine lakes, Snowmass offers some of the most beautiful and exhilarating mountain biking rides in the country.
You can rent bikes and equipment from local outfitters and hit the trails on your own, or you can head to Snowmass Bike Park and enjoy 25 miles of trails within the park.
7. Check Out The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies
If you’re looking for free things to do in Snowmass, then be sure to check out The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies who offer free hikes and activities throughout the week (and some that require a small fee).
You can join guided hiking and nature walks, or visit on Wednesdays to pick seasonal veggies from their local farmers.
They also having birding programmes and experiences, picnics on the preserves, and even yoga classes in the woods. Be sure to check out what they have on, as there is usually something happening every day.
8. Go Horseback Riding
Horseback riding is a unique and unforgettable way to experience the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. You can ride through aspen groves, wildflower meadows, and passed mountain rivers and streams while taking in breathtaking panoramic views.
For a more unique experience, consider checking out Snowmass Creek Outfitters who offers Wild West inspired horseback rides through their ranch.
9. Try Whitewater Rafting
White water rafting is an exhilarating and unforgettable experience that allows you to see the stunning natural beauty of the area in a thrilling and adventurous way.
The surrounding rivers, including the Roaring Fork and Arkansas River, offer a range of rapids from gentle ripples to heart-pumping Grade 4 rapids.
You can join guided rafting tours that include all necessary equipment and expert instruction.
10. Take a Scenic Gondola Ride
Although mostly used by skiiers in the winter, the Elk Camp Gondola is a number one attraction in Snowmass in the summer.
Taking a scenic gondola ride up the 8,475ft mountains is an excellent way to enjoy the stunning scenery and breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains.
The leisurely 8-person gondola ride allows you to see people hiking the trails, mountain bikers soaring down the slops, and even people flying around the zip lines, before reaching the top of the Elk Camp Gondola where there are panoramic views for days.
Enjoy a picnic lunch with a view, or simply soak in the fresh mountain air. During the summer months, the mountains are alive with wildflowers, vibrant foliage, and abundant wildlife, making the gondola ride even more magical.
11. Try Your Hand At Disc Golf
If you’re looking for things to do in Snowmass with kids, then perhaps a game of disc golf at Snowmass Ski Resort’s Yellow Disc Golf Course would excite the whole family.
The course offers 18 challenging holes set against a stunning mountain backdrop, complete with streams, forests, and rocky outcroppings. You should note that the first hole on the course is up a steep mountain elevation gain.
The course is designed for players of all skill levels, from beginners to experienced players, and offers a fun and exciting way to explore the mountain landscape.
12. Visit the Snowmass Rodeo
The Snowmass Rodeo is a beloved summer tradition in Snowmass which allows visitors to see the unique western heritage of the area.
The rodeo features a variety of traditional cowboy events, including bull riding, saddle bronc riding, team roping, barrel racing, and more.
This is an evening of family-friendly entertainment, complete with live music, food, and more.
The Rodeo is held every Wednesday night from June 21st – August 16th, 2023!
13. Watch the Snowmass Balloon Festival
Another top event to make sure you visit in the summer is The Snowmass Balloon Festival, which takes place every September.
The festival features a spectacular display of hot air balloons floating gracefully over the stunning mountain landscape, creating a breathtaking and unforgettable sight.
You can watch as the balloons inflate and lift off into the sky, or even take a ride in one themselves.
Other festival highlights include live music, food vendors, and family-friendly activities.
14. Enjoy A Free Concert on Thursdays
Every summer on a Thursday evening, The Snowmass Free Concert Series opens up to showcase some exciting entertainment, from live music to theater performances.
Located on Fanny Hill, you can catch live entertainment with a beautiful mountain backdrop. The performances start at 5.30pm and run from June 15th until August 24th.
15. Try Fly Fishing
Fly fishing is another popular summer activity in Snowmass, Colorado. The area has many rivers, streams, and lakes filled with rainbow, brown, and brook trout, as well as other species like cutthroat and pike.
If you’ve never tried it before, you can join guided fishing tours led by expert guides who know the best spots and techniques to catch fish, or rent equipment and explore the waters on their own.
With its stunning mountain scenery and crystal-clear waters teeming with fish, Snowmass is an ideal destination for any fly fishing enthusiast looking for a rewarding fishing experience.
Things to Do in Snowmass in the Winter
Below are some of the top things to do in Snowmass in the winter.
16. Go on Dog Sledding with Krabloonik Dogsled Rides
If you head just a few miles outside of Snowmass Village in the backcountry you can enjoy a thrilling and unique winter experience.
Krabloonik have been offering dog sledding rides since the early 70s. You can take a two-hour trip through the wilderness and backcountry of Snowmass, pulled by eight Alaskan huskies.
Each sled can carry two adults and one small child, plus the guide.
They offer three time slots per day, 11.00am, 1.15pm and 4.00pm. After the ride, enjoy a campfire stop with hot chocolate and warm soup.
17. Go Skiing or Snowboarding
What brings most people to Snowmass in the winter is skiing and snowboarding.
The Snowmass Ski Resort offers over 3,300 acres of skiable terrain, including 91 trails, 21 lifts, and three terrain parks.
You can enjoy wide-open groomed runs, challenging mogul runs, and epic off-piste skiing and snowboarding.
With its breathtaking mountain scenery, world-class facilities, and thrilling runs, Snowmass is a premier destination for any skier or snowboarder looking for an unforgettable winter vacation.
18. Go Snow Tubing
Snow tubing is a fun and exhilarating way to experience the mountains of Snowmass. Head over to the Meadows at Elk Camp in Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort, which features multiple lanes and a lift system to easily transport riders back to the top of the hill.
The tubing hill is open daily and during Ullr Nights, offering visitors a unique and exciting way to enjoy the mountain scenery under the stars.
19. Skate Around on The Snowmass Village Ice Rinks
Every winter, Snowmass opens up two free ice skating rinks in Snowmass Village.
There’s The Rink in Snowmass Base Village and one at Snowmass Village Ice Rink located at the Snowmass Town Park.
The rinks are open from 9.00 am – 9.00pm and even have free skate rentals.
20. Ride the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster
Another thrilling attraction in Snowmass in the winter is the Alpine Coaster, a rollercoaster ride that takes you from Elk Camp Restaurant down the mountain.
Strap yourself in and enjoy the thrill of the ride! The coaster is only open in the winter, from November 24th until April 16th.
Where To Stay in Snowmass: The Viceroy Hotel
There are many resorts in Snowmass, but we stayed at The Viceroy Snowmass, which is a beautiful hotel at the edge of Snowmass Village with stunning views out to the mountains, especially from their Eight K restaurant and deck.
The food and service at the hotel were exceptional and the suite rooms comfortable and luxurious. It was the biggest bathroom I’ve ever seen, and I loved it.
I rarely enjoy baths, but I filled this one up for a soak in some of the bath salts from the Viceroy Spa.
I was impressed with the Viceroy. It would be a great place for families to stay with kitchenettes in the rooms and plenty of facilities and a great outdoor pool.
It’s a ski in/ski out hotel, which I learned means you can walk out the door and straight onto the ski lifts.
Before You Go…
If I have one word of advice to you when visiting Snowmass, is never underestimate the effect the high altitude can have on your body when you drink alcohol.
I woke up after our first-night meet and greet with the worst hangover ever. I didn’t even drink much and was in bed fairly early. I felt disgusting! Not the way you want to kickstart your conference.
Luckily I pulled myself together and ensured I drank PLENTY of water for the next two nights. (My friend Kimmi did warn me about it)
A good tip Johnny Jet told us after the first evening was to always sleep with a humidifier on in high altitude places. They tend to hide them in the cupboard of your room (ahh that’s what that thing was), if not, always ask the front desk as they should have one to give to you.
It made a big difference to our sleep for the next two nights.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Snowmass, Colorado
We discovered in Snowmass that it’s the most popular place for Australians to go skiing in Colorado, and possibly the US.
We’re planning on going back to Snowmass for some time on our US road trip, in the summer, and in the winter. It’s always been my dream to have a white Christmas in Colorado; I’m hoping this year will be the dream come true moment.
We stayed in Snowmass for three nights for the Summit, which was hosted by Snowmass Tourism and organised by Gary Arndt.
We were busy in meetings for the two days and so didn’t even explore Snowmass in depth, but what I saw was enough to make me love it.
We also attended the Travel Influencers Summit which was held in Snowmass, and I was so excited to meet finally in person, travel blogging friends I’ve only ever interacted online with for years.
These guys were some of the first people we ever met in the travel blogging land.
My Aussie Instagram friend Lauren Bath was with us, and Matt Karsten from Expert Vagabond and Chris Christenson from Amateur Travel Podcast, who we met last year at the White House trip.
I made some cool new friends that I’ve only met in passing online, Johnny Jet, the man who knows everything about flying; Kevin O’Leary, husband and manager of Samantha Brown from the Travel Channel; Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere who I hung out with years ago in Sydney.
Totally awesome people who we learned so much from and had fun getting to know, especially over a few late night cocktails made by the award winning bartender, Justin at the Viceroy.
Tell him we sent you for a Moscow Mule!
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Disclaimer: We stayed in Snowmass as guests of the Travel Influencers Summit, but we were under no obligation to write anything. I chose to because I loved it and wanted to share.