Fall Travel

The Time to Hike and Bike Aspen Snowmass Is Now

Aspen is glitzy and well-known, but Snowmass is a pleasant surprise.

By Jayme Lamm September 24, 2019

Evening in Snowmass.

Locals often say a week in Aspen Snowmass is a month anywhere else thanks to an ever-growing event calendar. But this Colorado town just nine miles from Aspen, with its loads of concerts, artisan markets, rodeos, and races, is also a breathtaking four-mountain destination.

Some may call Snowmass the little sister to Aspen, but they’d be wrong. Snowmass may be a little more quiet and a little more affordable, but don’t think for a second that means it’s lacking in dining, luxuries, or adventure. SKI Magazine named it a Resort of the Year for 2019. And the base of Snowmass Ski Area, in the heart of Snowmass Village, is the largest mountain-resort development under construction in North America. That translates to plenty of things to see and do for visitors outside of skiing and snowboarding.

This is undoubtedly one of Colorado’s most evolving towns and one to add to your upcoming travel list. Here’s an itinerary to get you started. 

Stay at Limelight Hotel Snowmass

Set in the midst of all the action, the brand new Limelight Hotel Snowmass, which opened last December in Snowmass Base Village, couldn’t be more ideal. It's directly in front of the village's vibrant plaza and just a few steps from the Elk Camp Gondola. It also has everything you could possibly want or need inside a hotel: Free breakfast, an indoor/outdoor lounge with fire pits, Colorado’s largest indoor climbing wall (54 feet!), neon-lit signs for Instagram photos, side-by-side spa pools, and equal parts potent and delicious margaritas at the lobby bar.

Happy hour, charmingly known here as "apres whiSKI," is offered from 4 to 7 p.m. daily, featuring $7 margaritas or $10 for a draft beer and shot of whiskey. Complimentary shuttle service to and from Aspen Airport is just icing on the cake; once you’re here, pretty much everything is within walking distance.

Events for foodies abound in Snowmass.

Image: Hal Williams

Dine Out

One of the town’s most revered restaurants,  TORO Kitchen & Lounge by Richard Sandoval Hospitality, located inside Viceroy Snowmass, specializes in contemporary Pan-Latin dining that's local and sustainable. Come for the 18-ounce bone-in ribeye and stay for the extensive wine list and barrel-aged spirits—the handcrafted “Fireball” will warm you right up.

Kick off your Saturday night at SAKE Snowmass Village with truffle edamame, expertly-crafted sushi, sake, and a voluminous wine list set in the heart of Snowmass.

Slice of Italy is another favorite with a warm and welcoming atmosphere and an extensive menu perfect for the whole family. Or try  Il Poggio in Snowmass Village Mall.

The Limelight Lounge is an ideal place for wood-fired pizza, live music, and a glass of rosé. The Artisan, on the lobby level of the Stonebridge Inn, does seasonal cuisine, innovative cocktails, and Colorado craft brews on tap.

Summer hiking in Snowmass.

Image: Tamara Susa

Hike, Spa, Repeat

Trails in Snowmass are abundant. In fact, there are over 80 miles of trails directly accessible from the village, ranging from short and easy to challenging, multi-day treks. Rim Trail and Tom Blake Trail are two personal favorites, but you can’t go wrong with 2.8 million adjacent acres of wilderness to choose from.

Pick the hike that's right for you, then indulge in the side-by-side spas at Limelight for some much-needed downtime and muscle recovery. You’ll definitely want to treat yourself to The Spa at Viceroy Snowmass, where advanced reservations are a must. Offering a wide range of holistic and ritualistic spa treatments, the 7,000-square-foot spa is a favorite among locals and visitors with six well-designed massage treatments and a full menu of services to help restore balance and equilibrium in both mind and body.

Get an Adrenaline Rush

Hiking and skiing are obvious choices in Snowmass, but Lost Forrest, an on-mountain operation that debuted last summer and is only open weekends through October 6 (weather pending), is not to be missed. Ideal for kids, this adventure park packs in zip lines, an alpine coaster, biking trails, a ropes challenge course, and a climbing wall. It's already a favorite.

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