Aspen

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J F M A M J J A S O N D

173 mi 279 km of trail 8 Featured Runs

Gems 1 Gem Easy Trails 17 Trails Intermediate Trails 28 Trails Hard Trails 9 Trails

Aspen is an old silver mining town located on the Roaring Fork River, halfway between its source, 40 miles upvalley at Independence Pass (12,095 ft.), and its confluence with the Colorado River, downstream in Glenwood Springs.

Nearer to town the local trail network is continually improving. Increased connectivity keeps you off the roads as much as possible and improved signage, information kiosks, and trailhead parking make everything visitor friendly. A new network of trails in Skyline Park can be looped for miles and offers an alternate way to connect Snowmass and Aspen. Additionally, Snowmass ski area has been aggressively developing their on-mountain trail network for runners, hikers and bikers alike.

Provided by: Ted Mahon. Check out StuckintheRockies.com to follow Ted's adventures in the Elk Mountains and beyond.

Local Info

Aspen may be known for its skiing and winter sports, but it's really quite impressive as a trail running destination. Surrounded on three sides by three different Wilderness areas, Aspen and nearby Snowmass offer an extensive network of local trails right from the edge of town, as well as numerous options and access points for larger wilderness trail running adventures. And the best part is that there are very few people.

The Upper Roaring Fork Valley boasts more than a dozen side valleys which provide some awesome individual outings, but also allow for some really long and committing linkups. Since most of the terrain in the upper valley falls within official Wilderness, it isn't shared with bikes or vehicles.

Visiting Tips

The snowfall that qualifies Aspen and Snowmass as desirable ski destinations during the winter months effectively shut down much of the trail network for running during that time of year. Through the dark days of winter there are some paved bike paths that are clear, but much of the single track and jeep roads are packed with snow. The trails are all still accessible and open, but only a handful of the summer trails see visitors in numbers enough to keep the snow packed adequately for running. The trails closest to downtown Aspen or Snowmass are the best options this time of year. Trails further away would be better served by either snowshoes or skis. It's quite popular to uphill hike/run/snowshoe the four area ski mountains on the packed groomed surface, and download on chairlift or gondola. The rules vary on each mountain so be sure to check in advance about suggested routes and allowable times.

In April, some of the lower elevation trails or those on sunny, southern aspects begin to melt out. Winter snowpack levels and springtime temperatures factor into when the trails dry out for running to a point, but in general terms, it isn't until early June that many of the popular trails near Aspen are clear of snow. The remote Wilderness trails at higher elevations take even longer.

Camping & Lodging

Hotels and lodging can be pricey in Aspen, but there are exceptions. The St. Moritz is a few blocks from downtown and offers private and shared rooms for very reasonable rates. Other hotels that might be within reach cost-wise for most visitors would be the Tyrollean Lodge, the Limelight Hotel, or the Molly Gibson Lodge. If you want more options, contact Aspen Central Reservations or visit online (www.stayaspensnowmass.com), where a searchable database of hotel and residential rental information can be found.

There are several USFS campsites near town as well, three along Highway 82 on the way up Independence Pass (Difficult, Weller, Lost Man), and three on the road up to the Maroon Bells, just past the entrance gate (Silver Bar, Silver Bell, and Silver Queen). Call the Aspen Ranger District Office for more information. The sites are usually quite busy and some advanced planning is often required to reserve a spot.

Food & Drink

Aspen has more restaurants than a town of it's size should be able to support. As one would expect, there are numerous high-priced options but for the rest of us who are simply looking for a good place to eat or drink after a long day on the trails, consider The J-Bar at the Hotel Jerome, The Red Onion, Hops Culture, 520 Grill, or NY Pizza. You might also just walk through the few blocks that make up the downtown core and see what else looks good. Higher end restaurants offer bar menus that are more reasonably priced. Aspen Brewery doesn't serve food but is centrally located downtown with a sunny patio and is a perfect post run spot for a beer.

If you're looking for breakfast/coffee, try Jour de Fete next to City Market, Cafe Ink, Peach's Cafe, Poppycock's, or the Hickory House out on Main Street.

After the Run: Local Favorites

Highlands Alehouse Best beer selection in the valley.
133 Prospector Rd, Aspen CO — (970) 544-0015
Hickory House Substitute onion rings for fries. They come with a bad ass sauce too.
730 W Main St, Aspen CO — (970) 925-2313
Ajax Tavern Great happy hour!. Gotta have a locally raised beef burger.
685 E Durant Ave, Aspen CO — (970) 920-6334
Red Onion Get a "bear fight", it's a jager-bomb and an irish car bomb. Actually, get a few.
420 E Cooper Ave, Aspen CO — (970) 925-9955
Big Wrap Bring cash, they don't take credit cards. Go to an ATM, the food is worth it.
Paradise Bakery Snickerdoodle cookie or any ice cream..
320 S Galena St, Aspen CO — (970) 925-7585
Justice Snow's It was fun. Took a bit to get drinks as they are labor intensive, but yummy! Lots to choose from.
520 Grill The bison burger is among the best I've ever had. Chill place, close to the gondola, with good tunes and low (by aspen standards) prices. Highly recommended.
520 E Cooper Ave, Aspen CO — (970) 925-9788
The Butcher's Block Awesome traditional deli and butcher shop. Great sandwiches made fresh. No room to eat in. A few tables outdoors.
campo DeFiori Try the lemoncello...yummy..
205 S Mill St, Aspen CO — (205) 764-5578
Aspen Overeasy The breakfast quesadilla is very good. Also try the freshly squeezed juices (make your own combo).
Pyramid Bistro The best vegan meal we've had in CO. So perfectly done, from apps to dessert. Romantic and quiet, tucked above a bookstore. Loved it all.
Poppycocks GETTING A SOUVENIR SHIRT IS A MUST
665 W. Cooper Ave, Aspen CO — (970) 925-1245
Grateful Deli Definitely get the Garcia!
Kenichi Try the Dynamite Shrimp - One of my all time favorite dishes.
533 E Hopkins Ave, Aspen CO — (970) 920-2212
Spring Cafe Organic Food & Juice Bar Great vegan food ... breakfast bagel is sublime
Bonnie's White bean chilli is a must order
Aspen Mountain, Aspen CO — (970) 544-6252
Ullrhof Large vanilla shake. Then walk to the bar. Add a shot of vanilla vodka and a shot of Kalua. Best $23 shake in Snowmass.
Sam's Smokehouse The Brunswick stew is off the chain! Ask for Scott. He's one ballin' dude.

Other Activities

Rest day? Bad weather? There's plenty do in and around Aspen-

Aspen Mountain Gondola- aspensnowmass.com/ - take a ride to the top of Aspen Mountain for lunch, or to meet others who may be running or hiking up.
ACES - Aspen Center for Environmental Studies - aspennature.org/
Wheeler Opera House - wheeleroperahouse.com/
Aspen Music Festival - aspenmusicfestival.com/

Gems in Aspen - 1

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Featured Runs in Aspen - 8

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Trails in Aspen - 46

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11.2 mi 18.1 km
#1 Conundrum Creek Trail
Aspen, CO
11.2 mi 18.1 km Aspen, CO
Minor Issues
Update
Fallen Trees - After third creek crossing not far from the campsites is a avalanche area. Follow tracks right and uphill to avoid the most difficul...
37 days ago
5.6 mi 9.1 km
#2 West Maroon Trail
Crested Butte, CO
5.6 mi 9.1 km Crested Butte, CO
Unknown
Update
1.6 mi 2.6 km
#3 North Maroon Peak
Snowmass Village, CO
1.6 mi 2.6 km Snowmass Village, CO
Unknown
Update
7.0 mi 11.2 km
#4 Geneva Lake Trail
Snowmass Village, CO
7.0 mi 11.2 km Snowmass Village, CO
Minor Issues
Update
Snowy - The North face of the south side of snowmass lake has snow now, which makes it a death wish.
39 days ago
Snowmass Village, CO
1.8 mi 2.9 km Snowmass Village, CO
Unknown
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6.7 mi 10.9 km
#6 Buckskin Pass Trail
Snowmass Village, CO
6.7 mi 10.9 km Snowmass Village, CO
Unknown
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Snowmass Village, CO
9.0 mi 14.5 km Snowmass Village, CO
Minor Issues
Update
Mostly Dry, Fallen Trees
31 days ago
Snowmass Village, CO
8.2 mi 13.1 km Snowmass Village, CO
Minor Issues
Update
Mostly Dry - Few patches of snow, easily traversable
26 days ago
7.6 mi 12.3 km
#9 East Snowmass Trail
Snowmass Village, CO
7.6 mi 12.3 km Snowmass Village, CO
Minor Issues
Update
Mostly Dry - Few patches of snow, easily traversable
26 days ago
5.4 mi 8.8 km
#10 Sunnyside Trail
Aspen, CO
5.4 mi 8.8 km Aspen, CO
Unknown
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12.3 mi 19.7 km
#11 Richmond Ridge Road
Aspen, CO
12.3 mi 19.7 km Aspen, CO
Unknown
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Snowmass Village, CO
2.5 mi 4.0 km Snowmass Village, CO
Unknown
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10.5 mi 16.8 km
#13 Government Trail
Aspen, CO
10.5 mi 16.8 km Aspen, CO
Unknown
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1.9 mi 3.0 km
#14 Ditch Trail
Snowmass Village, CO
1.9 mi 3.0 km Snowmass Village, CO
Unknown
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1.2 mi 2.0 km
#15 Powerline Trail
Snowmass Village, CO
1.2 mi 2.0 km Snowmass Village, CO
Unknown
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3.5 mi 5.7 km
#16 Tom Blake Trail
Snowmass Village, CO
3.5 mi 5.7 km Snowmass Village, CO
Unknown
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1.0 mi 1.5 km
#17 Summit Trail
Snowmass Village, CO
1.0 mi 1.5 km Snowmass Village, CO
Unknown
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1.9 mi 3.1 km
#18 Vista Trail
Snowmass Village, CO
1.9 mi 3.1 km Snowmass Village, CO
Unknown
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3.7 mi 5.9 km
#19 Rim Trail South
Snowmass Village, CO
3.7 mi 5.9 km Snowmass Village, CO
Unknown
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2.1 mi 3.3 km
#20 Maroon Peak Trail
Snowmass Village, CO
2.1 mi 3.3 km Snowmass Village, CO
Unknown
Update

Photos of Aspen - 134

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