The ultimate guide to one day in Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Colorado has been a bucket list item for us since we first moved to Colorado. We had heard so much about Aspen and the incredible hiking there that when the opportunity arose, we couldn’t possibly pass up the opportunity to head to Aspen!
If you’re visiting Denver, don’t dismiss Aspen because of the 3.5 hour drive! The drive through the mountains and canyons are out of this world with amazing views, the drive goes by fast while you’re looking out the window in awe.
Hike the Maroon Bells
When we booked our trip to Aspen, the first thing I knew I wanted to do was hike around the Maroon Bells. I did a ton of research before we decided to go to the Bells because I had read about how difficult is to get there and I wanted to make sure the bus was running and the weather was perfect. Due to the fact that parking is extremely limited and the weather can change at Maroon Lake in an instant.
We parked at the Highlands and headed inside to purchase our bus ticket. Since parking is so limited, I would recommend planning on taking the bus or arrive to get a parking spot by 5 am. The bus tickets are $8/person or if you are there early enough, parking is $10/car. We were expecting a simple bus ride up the mountain to the lake, but to our surprise the bus driver gave us a lesson on the history of the Maroon Bells and the land around it as we rode up!
Once we hopped off the bus, we hit the trails! There are spectacular and well groomed trails around the Maroon Bells. We also enjoyed taking in all the beautiful views of the aspen trees that surround the lake. It is a short walk to the bottom of the lake, and if you’re like us and love to hike, take the trail all the way to Crater Lake which is about a 3 mile hike with spectacular views.
Eat lunch at Meat & Cheese Restaurant Farm Shop
I love a good charcuterie board so I knew we had to check out Meat & Cheese Restaurant Farm Shop while in Aspen! Wherever I travel, I love finding restaurants that use local farmers for their produce, cheese and meats. Meat & Cheese does just that! Everything on their menu is local.
Using locally sourced, sustainably raised ingredients as their starting point, they engage the culinary traditions of Asia, Europe, and the Americas to create a menu meant for sharing that is known for its traditional techniques. They also follow the seasons and change their menu seasonally to create a menu of everything from scratch!
We had a hard time deciding what to order, but ultimately decided to start with the soup of the day which was a Tuscan kale. We then shared the meat & cheese board which was out of this world. The board featured their selection of-the-day of three cured meats and three cheeses served with the perfect crackers and jalapeno berry preserve.
Explore downtown Aspen
I enjoy any mountain town that has a stream running through the middle of it, and most of them do. Aspen was no different, down the middle of the cobble stone street was a small stream that added the coziest ambiance to this perfect town. Downtown Aspen also has the cutest boutiques and high-end retailers, Dior, Louis Vuitton, and so many more that line the cobbled streets. While the high-end retailers are common around here, there are also smaller boutiques, art galleries and the most incredible restaurants.
As you shop and sip on your coffee, enjoy taking in the beautiful mountains that are also surrounding you as you explore Downtown Aspen!
Grab a brew at Aspen Brewing Company
Trying local beer is a favorite activity of mine anytime we travel somewhere new. It’s so fun to try the local brewery and see the unique flavors and tastes they create within their beer. While in Aspen, we stopped by Aspen Brewing Company to check out their local flavors and it was so fun! The atmosphere is really fun, open and modern. We tried a few of their local brews and their signature cocktail, a mule which is my favorite kind of cocktail.
Catch a ride on Aspen Mountain’s Silver Queen Gondola
A lot of people think that gondolas are only for the winter skiing months, but summer gondola rides are some of my favorite! It’s so fun to see the mountains green and the mountain streams bubbling to life. The wild flowers are in full bloom and everything is green and lively.
We took the Silver Queen Gondola to the top of Aspen’s highest mountain. It gave us the most spectacular view down of Aspen. The line to get onto the gondola is never that long as they keep everyone moving pretty quickly. The ride up is about 9-12 minutes and if you’re traveling with anyone afraid of heights, the views keep you distracted enough to enjoy the ride.
Enjoy Dinner at the French Alpine Bistro
When ever I told anyone we were planning a trip to Aspen, this restaurant was the first recommendation they gave. And it was truly the highlight of our trip. The French Alpine Bistro had some of the most incredible food I have ever tasted in my life. While the food is incredible, the ambiance really makes the restaurant what it is. From the street, you take a grand set of stairs that are lined with twinkling candles. Once down the stairs, there is a small outdoor seating area with fur blankets and plush pillows everywhere. We checked in with the hostess and opted to sit outside, it was a bit chilly but the complimentary fur blanket definitely kept me warm.
We shared an appetizer and dessert. The appetizer was a local goat cheese melted with rosemary and honey drizzled over it with homemade bread to dip into it. We ate every ounce of that goat cheese and it was incredible. We then shared the creme brulee crepe, A Midnight in Paris, and it was filled with a delicious custard and tasted exactly like creme brulee.
We loved Aspen and drove home talking about how we can’t wait to plan another trip here, have you been to Aspen before? What should we do on our next visit to Aspen?