Aspen Colorado is known as a playground for the rich and famous-but that doesn't mean the rest of us can't go there and play. We can all visit the Maroon Bells (my favorite spot in the state), and we can walk the many hiking trails in the whole area.
Did I mention the Maroon Bells? They are a couple of really nice looking mountain peaks that form a pretty good backdrop behind Maroon Lake.
During fall color, the whole scene gets even better-thanks to all the aspen trees growing between Maroon Lake and the Maroon Bells.
You'll find a number of hiking trails there, or if you would rather just have a picnic, tables are available there too.
Aspen Colorado is a place with many hiking trails, and they cater to all hiking abilities. Most of the hikes I'll be telling you about will range from easy to moderate. So if you like to hike, you'll most likely be able to find one you like in the Aspen area.
One hike that's good for fall color viewing (other than the Maroon Bells) is the hike to Thomas Lakes. It's a moderate hike of 3.5 miles one-way, and features lots of aspen trees along the way, as well as nice views of Mount Sopris. If you want to know more about it, it's the second hike on my Colorado fall hikes page.
I should mention that if you plan on hiking in the Aspen area, you should be aware that black bears live in the area. Although black bears can be found in most mountain areas of Colorado, we seem to have heard more stories about them around Aspen than some other areas. This doesn't mean you can't go hiking-just be aware. Also, remember that most black bears don't want to see you any more than you might want to see them. So they leave the area if they become aware of you.
If you don't mind driving about an hour to Glenwood Springs, you could do the hike up to Hanging Lake. The hike itself is pretty steep, (about 1000 feet elevation gain in 1.2 miles), but I think the reward at the end is well worth it. Hanging Lake is a turquoise colored lake with a waterfall that tumbles into it. Can you resist that? I couldn't!
When we hike in the Aspen Colorado area, we usually stay at the Days Inn in Carbondale, which is convenient for hiking in the Aspen area. They usually have reasonable rates, the rooms are comfortable, one side of the motel features views of Mt. Sopris, they have free wifi access, and they also offer a free continental breakfast. One other thing is that they are pet friendly, which we consider important.
We have not yet tried any Aspen Colorado restaurants, mainly because of the expense. We actually did try to find a restaurant there that was supposed to have reasonable prices, (according to the Tripadvisor website), but we couldn't find it. It was hidden! So this summer, we’ll try to find another relatively reasonably priced restaurant there. If you know one, feel free to let us know what it is.
One of the places where you can find Aspen restaurants is on the outdoor walking or pedestrian mall. It's a pleasant place to walk around and read restaurant menus or browse around the various little shops. There's also a treat for little kids: a fountain area where a number of little fountains splash up from the ground and invite little kids to jump in. It was fun to watch them :-).
Anyway, I hope you have fun on your trip to Aspen Colorado. And remember to go see the Maroon Bells, especially if you'll be there in the fall. (Around the last two weeks in September.) They are a really beautiful thing to see, and you can take your own postcard-pictures of them. I think it's nearly impossible to take a bad picture of them!