Colorado’s mountain towns are celebrated for their panoramic snow-capped peaks, mixed evergreens and quaking Aspens, and clear Rocky Mountain streams. Far less storied is the healthy fact and impact of our walkability, including that reality here in Aspen, especially in summer.
Leave Your Vehicle Behind
As soon as you touch down in the Valley, you won’t need to direct a steering wheel for the majority–or the entirety–of your stay. Logistically, there’s no need to rent a car, put mileage on your own vehicle, manage parking scenarios, or, for some, sacrifice the enjoyment of libations. For a lift to and from Aspen Airport, or around town, both private and public shuttles are available for guests.
Most importantly, walkable locales create a special ambiance of ease. When you and yours truly are ready to venture through town to find a dinner table, you simply go. You stroll into the fresh air, shake out your tired ski legs or hiker’s calves, feel more connected to this community, and enjoy the present moment. Your next day in town, take more time to ramble, breath, explore, and learn finer details about Aspen’s personality.
An Aspen Walking Tour
Here’s a tailored walking route that threads together a handful of downtown’s prized dining locations, boutiques, and attractive spheres:
Start your counterclockwise lasso at The Little Nell. From Durant Ave, go north on Hunter St, and west on Cooper Ave.
Jaunt about 1.5 blocks on Cooper, and there stands The Red Onion (1), Aspen’s oldest tavern: a bright red, brick-walled watering hole that has been serving pub fare, drinks, and live music since 1892.
When you reach Mill St, go north along the edge of downtown’s dog-friendly Wagner Park and continue until you reach the intersection of Hyman Ave.
Stop at the corner to enjoy Mill Street Fountain (2): a long, rectangular ground-level grate with vertical water streams that shoot up to variable heights. The water moves like a dance, and the fountain is a fun location for pedestrians and kiddos to relax and play on warm days.
Across Hyman, on the north side of the street, is the Wheeler Opera House (3): a performance hall that’s been a staple in Aspen’s history, and survived several iterations, since its opening night in spring 1889. Aspen was the booming Silver capital of the U.S. Shows made stopovers in towns along the Silver Circuit, which started in Denver and moved to Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Trinidad, Salida, and Leadville before crossing the mountain range into Aspen.
From the fountain, go east on Hyman and mosey down the Aspen Pedestrian Mall (4) passing HOPS Culture. When you reach Galena St, head north and walk around the block to Hopkins Ave, where you’ll go west for two blocks.
Turn south on Monarch Street and hook around the opposite side of Wagner Park (5). Spend a few moments in Wagner Park admiring Aspen Mountain, CP Burger’s mini golf course across the way or the lush grass beneath your feet. Wagner Park is the perfect place to relax on a warm afternoon.
At Durant Avenue, turn east and enjoy the sunshine (or snowflakes, or—occasionally—rain drops) as you cruise back to The Little Nell and rest your feet.
Another walk-worthy option: Saunter or rent a bike to roam along the Rio Grande Trail, a paved path for walkers, runners, and two-wheelers that meanders about 20 miles (one-way) from Aspen to Basalt. Eager for high distance? The trail goes all the way to Glenwood Springs.