If you have visited Aspen in the summer before, you have probably enjoyed many of the popular activities the area has to offer, such as sightseeing, hiking, biking, rafting, attending concerts and other live entertainment shows, fine dining, and shopping at some of the well-known high-end retail establishments and charming boutiques in town. If you are looking for something different to add to your experience on your next visit, something you just might not find at other summer vacation locales, here are 5 out of the ordinary things to do in Aspen in the summer. 

Connect with Nature in a New Way

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies Hallam Lake Visitor Center

Photo Credit: Rich Pearce | All Rights Reserved)

You may be familiar with the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES), and you may have even visited their Hallam Lake nature preserve and environmental learning center, but have you taken advantage of their summer programs?

ACES offers free guided daily hikes to popular local spots, as well as longer excursions to the ghost town of Ashcroft and other parts of the Castle Creek valley. They also offer farm tours and farm-to-table events at their Rock Bottom Ranch, located just a few miles down valley, between Basalt and Carbondale.

To find out more about the summer programs available at ACES, please visit AspenNature.org.

Indulge your Desire for a Little Thrill Seeking

Paddleboarding Near Aspen

(Photo Credit: Aspen Snowmass)

While Aspen is known for world-class skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and hiking and biking in the summer, standup paddle boarding (SUP),  has become the latest local outdoor summer craze.

This sport, an offshoot of surfing, originated in Hawaii, spread to other coastal areas, and recently made its way to the larger mountain rivers of Colorado. Paddle boarding  on the local rivers ranges from floating the relatively easy, flat stretches of water found just outside of town at the North Star Nature Preserve, to taking on the slightly more challenging small rapids of the lower Roaring Fork near Carbondale, to challenging the adrenaline pumping rapids of the Colorado River in and around nearby Glenwood Springs.

For more details, please visit the following websites:





If you would rather get your kicks on mountain inclines instead, try ATV riding up Aspen Mountain or nearby Kobey Park and Taylor Pass. You may find ATV rental information on the Aspen Bike Tours and Rentals website: https://www.aspenbikes.com/rzr.

Cruise Aspen Like You Never Have Before

Segway your way around Aspen

(“Segway” | Flickr – Photo Sharing by jsogo is licensed under CC BY 2.0 – photo is re-sized)

While bike riding and walking are great ways to cruise the streets of Aspen, there is another fun way to get around town, riding a Segway Personal Transporter. Segways are battery-powered, self-balancing, two-wheeled electric vehicles designed to be a fun and environmentally friendly way to get you where you want to go, quickly and efficiently.

Go Deep into Part of Aspen’s Storied Past

Smuggler Mine - Aspen, Colorado

(Photo Credit: Rich Pearce | All Rights Reserved)

If you like history, the Wheeler/Stallard Museum and Marolt Mining & Ranching Museum have informative and entertaining exhibits, but if you really want to experience a piece of Aspen’s past, we suggest a tour of the Smuggler Mine, from which the largest silver nugget ever mined in the United States was extracted. This still-operating mine once produced nearly twenty percent of the world’s total silver, and the mine was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

For mine tour information, please call 970-925-2049.

Stimulate Your Mind

Aspen Ideas Festival Conversation with Bill Gates

(“Bill Gates & Walter Isaacson in Discussion” Flickr – Photo Sharing by Nathan Laurell is licensed under CC BY 2.0 – photo is re-sized)

Nurturing the mind, body and spirit – that, they say, is the Aspen Idea and philosophy. We have already listed some out of the ordinary things to do in Aspen in the summer as far as body and spirit go, and here are some ways to invigorate the gray matter while you are here as well:

  • Aspen Ideas Festival – Attend discussions and presentations from global leaders from many disciplines about the ideas and issues that, ”shape our lives and challenge our times”. Hosted by the Aspen Institute, one of the nation’s most renowned educational and policy studies organizations, the festival features some 350 presenters, 200 sessions, and 3,000 attendees. Please visit Aspenideas.org for more information.
  • McCloskey Speaker Series – Also hosted by the Aspen Institute, this program features distinguished speakers from diverse backgrounds discussing politics and other interesting contemporary topics.
  • Aspen Physics Center Heinz Pagels Public Lectures – During the summer months, renowned physicists share their latest research in a fun and entertaining way.
  • Aspen Summer Words – This program focuses primarily on workshops for writers learning to develop their craft, but they do also offer public passes and tickets to their afternoon and evening readings and conversations with seasoned authors and up and coming writers participating in the program.

There are, of course, other out of the ordinary activities things to do in Aspen in the summer, and you probably can find similar activities in other vacation destinations, but where else can you do all of these out of the ordinary activities in one place?  Please contact our luxury concierge for more information: 970-618-8290 | concierge@aspenluxuryvacationrentals.com.