Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley maintain historical landmarks, quaint city streets, and endless explorable acres of wilderness.
But despite these elements, there are times when we need to escape Aspen and explore something new. Luckily, there are many towns and landmarks within a day’s trip from Aspen. So jump in your car and head to one of these stunning locations, all less than two hours away from downtown.
Here are our favorite day trips:
1 hour 30-minute drive via Independence Pass (Google Maps directions)
Buena Vista is 62 miles southeast of Aspen and is known for water sports like rafting, kayaking, and stand up paddle boarding (SUP).
South Main is Buena Vista’s up and coming neighborhood with charming homes, local storefronts, and boutique hotels. South Main surrounds the town’s Whitewater Park, the local access point to the Arkansas River, and features The Beach, a river-side music venue that holds concerts Friday nights throughout the summer.
Within South Main are the Surf Hotel and Surf Chateaux, boutique hotels offering gorgeous views of the river. Stop into The Surf’s Wesley & Rose for happy hour, daily 3-5 PM or weekend brunch from 8 AM – 3 PM.
1 hour 18-minute drive (Google Maps directions)
Marble, Colorado is a tiny town (population 131 to be exact), but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in food.
Slow Groovin’ BBQ alone makes this day trip from Aspen worthwhile. The standalone joint features platters, BBQ sandwiches, and the rightly-named “Megatron”– a brisket sandwich stacked with pepper jack cheese, caramelized onion, and thinly sliced potatoes.
After you’ve filled up on BBQ, drive 20 minutes east of Marble to the historic Crystal Mill. Accessible by 4X4 or ATV, Crystal Mill will take you back to the 1800s when the silver boom established the city of Crystal before it declined into a modern-day ghost town.
To reach Crystal Mill, you can rent an ATV in Marble for the less-strenuous approach. You can also walk the route, 4 miles each way from the intersection of HW 3 and Lost Trail Road.
58 minutes (Google Maps directions)
This day trip from Aspen is less than an hour north but feels like another world. Ruedi Reservoir is home to the Aspen Yacht Club, sprawling campgrounds, and relaxing recreation.
This high-altitude reservoir is a hotspot for trout fishing, kayaking, or stand up paddleboarding. Book a fishing expedition through The Little Nell or rent gear through Four Mountain Sports in downtown Aspen.
Each of these destinations make for a perfect day trip or weekend trip from Aspen. For more recommendations, stop by The Nell’s concierge desk. We can arrange transportation, activities, and packed lunches to make your day memorable.