5 Iconic Spots to Visit in Aspen Besides the Maroon Bells
Ashcroft Ghost Town
Back in the late 1800’s Ashcroft had a population larger than Aspen, as well as two newspapers, a school, sawmills and twenty saloons. But as quickly as the town boomed, Ashcroft also went bust. Located 11 miles south of Aspen on Castle Creek Road, guests can visit Ashcroft ghost town year round, with tours offered by Aspen Historical Society in the summer. Ashcroft is an ideal location for wildflower season (late July-August) as it is filled with a plethora of vivid colors, a Colorado summer show not to be missed. Ashcroft is also stunning in the fall with the foliage and a winter wonderland from November through spring. Opt for a sleigh ride or get a work out by cross-country skiing in the area in the winter with a rewarding meal at Pine Creek Cookhouse.
John Denver Sanctuary
Located along the Roaring Fork River next to Rio Grande Park, the John Denver Sanctuary features the largest perennial flower garden around, as well as large stone sculptures featuring lyrics of the former Aspen resident’s most beloved songs. For an online tour and a better understanding of this beautiful memorial click here.
Continental Divide- Independence Pass
Head east of Aspen along Highway 82 towards Independence Pass to take in the stunning scenery and incredible views. This is hands down the most best area to enjoy the foliage in the autumn with groves upon groves of aspen tress. Independence Pass starts at 9,200 feet and climbs to 12,095 feet at the summit which is ringed with peaks of 13,00 feet including Mt. Champion, Geissler Mountain, Twining Peak, Grizzly Peak and Casco Peak. There are plenty of Instagram worthy pull offs, nearby hikes and even an old ghost town to visit along the way.
Top of Aspen Mountain
Ride the Silver Queen Gondola up to the top of Aspen Mountain and soak in the beauty of Ajax at 11,212 feet. The gondola is open to guests all summer, winter, select fall weekends, and spring until closing day in April. Skiers and boarders can enjoy access to over 75 trails in the winter, and non-skiers can enjoy lunch, yoga and additional happenings at the Sundeck Restaurant.
Wheeler Opera House
Catch a show or just tour the Wheeler Opera House, Aspen’s community performance venue since 1889. The Wheeler was originally a part of the "Silver Circuit", a mining era collection of venues that brought internationally renowned performers to the silver and gold mining camps and towns of Colorado's high country. Destroyed by fire in the early part of the 20th century, the Wheeler underwent one renovation in the late 1940s and a more recent overhaul in the 1980s and today is Aspen's premier performing venue with artists and comedians coming through such as The Eagles, Jeffery Seinfeld, Kevin Smith and more.
Take a virtual tour and discover these iconic spots and more here.
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