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Aspen Attractions


From 'blue cruisers' to 'double-blacks,' Ajax's slopes on Aspen Mountain boast a variety of terrain type. There are 76 trails wending through 673 acres. Snowboarding is allowed.
After the snow has melted - or before it has started its fall - the Silver Queen Gondola carries passengers from the center of town to the top of the mountain, covering a vertical expanse of 3000ft. Up top, guides from the Aspen Center of Environmental Studies await to escort you around the natural setting.

Aspen Highlands resort, 2mi (3km) southwest of town, is a web of 115 trails on 714 acres of uncrowded terrain. It offers loads of thrills for the daredevils but also keeps the beginners and intermediates in mind. At the base of the resort, the Aspen Highlands Village offers many ski and tourist services, restaurants, shops and residential homes.

Buttermilk Mountain is popular with snowboarders of all levels, this resort is 2 miles west of Aspen. Its 42 trails stretch across 420 acres. With a half-pipe and long-terrain park, riders who want to jump and test out their bag of tricks can do so to their heart's content. The resort is also known as an ideal playground for newbie riders and skiers. Buttermilk has instructors and terrain forgiving enough to get you contemplating snowboarding's toughest black diamond runs before you know it.

Snowmass (not to be confused with the small town of Snowmass Village) is 12 miles northwest of Aspen. Not only is the terrain varied and expansive, but its bowl, The Cirque, has the biggest lift-assisted vertical drop in the country. Nordic skiing at Snowmass is available at the Club Cross-Country Touring Center, featuring 20 miles of groomed trails.


During the summer, you can hop onto the Burlingame Lift, a scenic chairlift that starts its course from the Snowmass Village Mall and carries people to the middle of the mountain. Once there, meander along the trails, if the mood suits you, or try out a game of disc (Frisbee) golf, on the mountain's 18-hole course. Bikes are allowed on the Burlingame Lift, as well as on Sam Knob's chairlift.


Side-stepping with the Roaring Fork River, The Rio Grande Trail is the place to be if you hike, jog, walk dogs, ride a bicycle or even cross-country ski. The paved trail passes the post office, continues riverside and along a railroad bed, turning into a quiet dirt path. It offers amazing views of dramatic landscapes, lush mountains and flowing rivers.


Over Maroon Lake is a pair of lovely symmetrical heights known as the Maroon Bells and one of the most-photographed scenes in Colorado. They're part of the Elk Mountain Range shooting up 12,000 ft in very unique style, with their sedimentary composition, distinctive coloring and sharp angular forms glacially chiseled. You are free to bicycle up the 11mile road.


The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies is a 25-acre wildlife sanctuary. With a mission to advance 'the ethic that the earth must be respected and nurtured,' the center's naturalists provide summertime guided walks, eagle demonstrations, special programs for youngsters, and more. In the winter, snowshoe and ski tours are available in various locations, and its weekly scheduled slide shows may give you some respite from the frigid outdoors. The native indoor trout stream may be of interest to anglers and others.


The restored three-story Wheeler-Stallard House home of silver-baron Jerome Wheeler was built in 1888 and today houses The Aspen Historical Society Museum. Tours are offered through the museum in the summer.


The Aspen Art Museum offers changing exhibitions featuring nationally renowned artists as well as the occasional local artist.


About 70 miles long from Independence Pass to the Colorado River, The Roaring Fork River is a body of water with one free-flowing personality. The Ute Indians named it "Thunder River." In its relatively short distance, it changes drastically in elevation making for variable, erratic depths and scenery that takes in everything. It's the rushing artery of Aspen with all manner of activities surrounding it. Scenic whitewater trips are available with local guides; full daytrips generally include lunch. Fishers reel in trout (brown and rainbow) and whitefish and the river is said to have the best winter fishing in the state.

Ashcroft Colorado could be called a relic of the silver-rush days. It boomed in 1883 with 2000 residents giddily reeling from silver fortunes. The mines had very shallow pockets and by 1885 there were only 100 people left lingering. Though autumn reveals this historic town at its present best, in any season an excursion here is a good call for a dose of scenery peppered with a fascinating history.


The Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness Area is east of Aspen and north of Independence Pass. Its name results from the marrying of Hunter Creek and the Fryingpan River and is shadowed with pine forest. Hiking, horseback riding and soul-searching are all possible on its trails. You're much more likely to come across elk, mule deer or lynx than tourist hordes.


There are a lot of high places in The Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area and a mountain-climbing paradise. The teeming wilderness area also offers plenty of lakes and peaks and valleys and covers 166,938 acres brushing up against the Continental Divide for 40miles.


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