You may have been planning on cross country skiing when you booked your trip to Snowmass. The Snowmass Cross Country Ski & Snowshoe Center makes that convenient, of course (they’re open from 9am – 4:30pm daily from December through March, by the way).
Both cross country skiing and snowshoeing are great ways to explore the whopping 10 kilometers of skate skiing, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing trails, or the 60 miles of trails around Aspen, Snowmass and Basalt. The Aspen Snowmass Nordic Trail System has been around since the early 1980’s, when the Aspen/Snowmass Nordic Council decided to to preserving and improving cross-country in Aspen and Snowmass area.
But… What do you do when there isn’t enough snow to make your cross country skis or snowshoes happy?
Never fear. The Roaring Fork Valley has plenty to offer when outdoor activity (and rewarding scenic views) are something you crave.
There are a number of popular hiking trails near Snowmass. Get great views of the Snowmass Creek Valley on the easy and flat Ditch Trail. The Vista Trail offers beautiful Snowmass panoramas while climbing through the evergreens and aspen groves towards Elk Camp. Start the Ridge Trail at the South Rim Trailhead to hike up to Spiral Point, where you’ll access a ridge line with incredible views overlooking Snowmass Village. Get even more phenomenal views via the Viewline Trail as you climb up an exposed area towards Sky Mountain Park.
Get in touch with ACES (the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies) and tag along on one of their two hour educational endeavors. Throughout the year, ACES offers free guided hikes to explore Snowmass (although you can also hire a guide for a custom experience and personal take). When there’s snow, ACES offers daily snowshoe tours (starting at Elk Camp) at both 10:00am and 1:00pm, and daily Ski and Snowboard Tours at the Wapiti Wildlife Center at both 11:00am and 1:00pm.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife has given two local rivers the Gold Medal Waters designation: the Roaring Fork River (which follows Highway 82 through the valley) and the Fryingpan River (which you can pick up in Basalt), and Snowmass is a convenient starting point for either. Other local scenic, trout-filled lakes, rivers and streams (such as Maroon Creek, the Crystal River near Carbondale, and the Colorado near Glenwood Springs) are also worth a visit. Check out Blazing Adventures in Snowmass to get your gear – and a fishing license.
Put a high-altitude twist on disc golf with Snowmass’ two 18-hole mountain courses. Toss your disc through high alpine meadows and glens, then stop to experience expansive mountain vistas. You can start one course right from Base Village; head up to Elk Camp (walk or take the Gondola) to find the second.