3 Must-Do Day Trips from Aspen

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:


Buena Vista

1 hour 30-minute drive via Independence Pass (Google Maps directions)
Buena Vista Colorado
Buena Vista is 62 miles southeast of Aspen and is known for water sports like rafting, kayaking, and stand up paddle boarding (SUP).

The casual downtown features shops like Stedman’s Soda, Sweets, & Treats (located in a renovated gas station) and Deerhammer Distillery which specializes in single malt whiskey.

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)
Crystal Mill Marble, CO
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.

Ruedi Reservoir

58 minutes (Google Maps directions

Ruedi Reservoir

By Rothmeier91 at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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.