Summer Starts at the Molly Gibson Lodge
In the summertime in Aspen, the weather is absolute perfection! Low humidity, sunny bluebird days with an afternoon rain shower here or there moving through to cool it off and settle the dust, and then refreshing cool nights for going out to dinner and comfortable sleep. No matter what your activity of choice, the weather will be in your favor 9 times out of ten.
If you’re not familiar with the saying in the Colorado Mountains, “We came for the winter and stayed for the summer,” we suggest you become familiar with one of Colorado’s best kept secrets… SUMMER! Those of us who live here in the mountains always get amped up for snow, new skis and powder days, however, there is nothing like summer in the Rocky Mountains and Aspen.
While in Aspen, there are countless activities to fill your days in our mountain town. Plan a hike or bike after an early complimentary breakfast at Molly Gibson Lodge. There is a very valid reason as to why you want to get on the hiking or biking trail early… it can get quite hot in the high altitude sun at 8,000 feet and above. Plus, mornings in the mountains are special in that they are tranquil and well-worth the experience. When you return into town, head over to Meat & Cheese for a fulfilling brunch or early lunch. Meat & Cheese is located on East Hopkins Street, just a short walk from Molly Gibson Lodge. After some delicious food and a well-deserved glass of wine or beer, head back to the Molly Gibson Lodge for a relaxing day at our inviting outdoor pool. Don’t forget your sunscreen! Remember, you’re at 8,000 feet above sea level, which means you’re closer to the sun than you realize.
After a relaxing afternoon at the pool, make dinner reservations at Matsuhisa Aspen in the downstairs dining room. This is a place to “see and be seen” in Aspen. You never know who you could be seated next to while enjoying a fresh Japanese delicacy. We’ve been seated next to Chef Nobu Matsuhisa himself! Chef Jose Andres was a few tables away and Chef Eric Rippert was also in the restaurant – okay, yes it was during Aspen Food & Wine, but you still never know who you may see! Matsuhisa Aspen has daily deliveries of the freshest fish available from the west coast. The restaurant provides their loyal clientele the best quality fish available, no matter what time of year.
If you’re in Aspen on a Saturday in the summer months, be sure to make time to visit the Aspen Saturday Market, open mid-June through mid-October. Stroll down Galena, Hopkins, Hunter and Hyman Streets with your morning latte, purchase some sweet treats, fresh vegetables, or peruse the local art. Listen to local musicians playing in the streets and feel like a true local on Saturday mornings in Aspen. This is also a great time to people watch! Grab a spot on a bench in the shade and enjoy the sights!
Try something out of the ordinary at the top of Aspen Mountain, Golf! At over 11,000 feet, Disc Golf is a fun filled activity with an 18 hole disc golf course. You’ll take in views from a top Aspen Mountain while hiking between the course holes. You will need to purchase a lift ticket for the Silver Queen Gondola, but the disc golf portion of your day will be complimentary.
Choose your summer weekend to visit Aspen for a delightful stay at Molly Gibson Lodge, and remember, Molly Gibson Lodge is pet-friendly!
Summer in Aspen is magical, complete with bluebird Colorado skies, warmer temps and longer days. Amidst this beautiful landscape, Aspen and the surrounding area offers a wide variety of outdoor recreational opportunities. So get out and enjoy all of the scenic hiking and biking that awaits this summer in Aspen!
SUNNY SIDE TRAIL
This is one of Aspen’s favorite hikes and mountain bike trails, and it is perfect for early-season use due to its sunny, southern exposure. It is s steep climb up the side of Red Mountain from the Roaring Fork River. The trail is a satisfying 6+ miles, great for early season training or a leisurely long day hike. Considered to be moderate in difficulty, this trail begins with a 1-mile jaunt through sagebrush switchbacks before joining up with Red Mountain, and eventually with the Hunter Creek Trail. For trail details and directions to the trailhead, click here.
EAST OF ASPEN TRAIL
The East of Aspen Trail is another popular early season route. This scenic trail parallels the Roaring Fork River for 3+ miles, and offers a gradual path eastward out of Aspen toward Independence Pass. It’s an alternative route to Highway 82 for cyclists, hikers and runners, and skims along the Northstar Nature Preserve, where users of the path can use a permanent wildlife-viewing stand to take in the surrounding landscape and inhabitants.
RIO GRANDE TRAIL
The remarkable Rio Grande Trail, which travels a whopping 42 miles between Aspen and Glenwood Springs along the former rail corridor of the Denver and Rio Grande Western railroad, is segmented into 9 routes of varying length and character from start to finish of this historic trail. The trail is comprised of variable paved, packed gravel and cement surfaces, and is accessible via several different trailheads in the Aspen Valley. Foot travel via hiking and running is welcome, as is any type of human-powered vehicle such as bicycles, in line skates and skateboards. For more information on the Rio Grande Trail, click here.
This quintessential Rocky Mountain road bike ride is a treasured find in the early season, as the road is not yet open to cars, yet is paved, dry and ready for a spring ride on a road bike. Independence Pass is one of the most famous, and sought after, mountain climbs in the Aspen area, if not in Colorado. So much so that the annual USA Pro Cycling Challenge stage race passes over this pass each year in August. From Aspen, it’s a 4,200 foot, 19 mile climb to the summit through Roaring Fork and Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Areas, with huge breathtaking view all around. Get out and take advantage of the wide-open car-less road for what could be the perfect early season ride to whip you into cycling shape for summer!
Another of the legendary, must-do rides in Aspen is Maroon Creek, which is also car-free, paved and perfect for an early-season pedal. This access road is closed to cars, so hammer away up the 11-mile climb without the distraction of anything but the famous view of towering Maroon Bells in the foreground. This ride is car-free all season long; the early season has the advantage of cool temperatures and uncrowded conditions on this infamous Aspen trail.
Plan your summer hiking and biking trip today, and stay at the conveniently located Molly Gibson Lodge to kick-start your Aspen adventure!
Vacation doesn’t always need to be expensive. Stumbling across activities to do which are a "Free" makes you feel like a local. Get ready, here are some of our favorite free activities in the Aspen area.
John Denver Sanctuary
An easy walk through town from Molly Gibson Lodge, the John Denver Sanctuary is a must see while in Aspen. One of Aspen's most famous residents, John Denver has been memorialized with a stunningly beautiful rock garden and sanctuary along the Roaring Fork River. Words of his easy to sing along songs are etched into stones along the river, you can practically hear his songs in the background as you take in the landscape of river, rocks and the Rocky Mountains. Along with the rock sanctuary, bring a little picnic to enjoy at the nearby flower garden.
Aspen Art Museum
A favorite spot to spend some time is the Aspen Art Museum. Admission to the Aspen Art Museum is Free, thanks to Amy and John Phelan. Stroll through the multiple floors of galleries which feature traveling exhibitions. If a guided art tour is what you're looking for, join the Free guided tour every Wednesday and Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Be sure to take in the view of Aspen Mountain from the museum roof top, there's nothing like it in town.
Aspen Saturday Market
Every Saturday from mid-June to mid-October, locals and visitors enjoy Saturday mornings at the Aspen Saturday Market. Grab your favorite morning coffee and meander the market for fresh produce, art, food vendors and comradery.
Anderson Ranch Art Center
Anderson Ranch Arts Center is where artists and non-artists can go to create, learn, experience and grow through art. Anderson Ranch has an open campus and you are welcome to do a self-guided tour at any time during the summer, Monday through Friday. Fridays from 11:45am-1:00pm, sit in on a Lunchtime Auctionette. What's an Auctionette you ask? It's an auction of original artwork which has been created by artists in residence and students of Anderson Ranch. The Auctionettes are Free to attend, and if you'd like lunch, there is a $10 lunch offered from 11:45am -12:15pm.
Book your stay now at Molly Gibson Lodge where you will always receive complimentary (Free) breakfast! Don't forget, Molly Gibson Lodge is a pet-friendly hotel too! And when you book direct, we'll waive your pet fee.
Music is no stranger to Aspen, Colorado. With multiple festivals and outdoor music venues with top talents, there is something for everyone, featuring everything from rock to reggae, classical to bluegrass, and more on all of Aspen’s favorite in-town and on-mountain stages.
The Belly Up! Aspen
The Belly Up! Aspen doesn’t miss a beat offering shows with spectacular acts all year round. Known for its well-known, wide-ranging live music and performers, this lively, legendary venue offers a unique, first-class atmosphere. Aspen has over 300 live concerts a year and features musical talents such as: Widespread Panic, John Prine, The Flaming Lips, Jane’s Addiction, Thievery Corporation, The Raconteurs, Ben Harper, B.B. King, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, Pitbull, SEAL, ZZ Top, Chris Isaak, Gomez, G Love, Bassnectar, John Legend, Damian Marley and Nas, Stephen Marley, Lucinda Williams, Snoop Dogg, Tiësto, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Joe Cocker, Wyclef Jean, Ice Cube, Umphrey's McGee and many, many more.
The Wheeler Opera House
It's a great time for Aspen's historic Wheeler Opera House. The house is the envy of theatres big and small around the world, bringing exceptional talent to this renowned mountain town. The Wheeler is privileged to partner with such internationally-renowned groups as the Aspen Institute, Aspen Film, National Public Radio, Aspen Words, National Geographic, Mountainfilm in Aspen, the Aspen Center for Physics and, of course, the Aspen Music Festival and School.
Aspen Music Festival and School
The Aspen Music Festival and School is regarded as one of the top classical music festivals in the United States, noted both for its concert programming and its musical training of mostly young-adult music students. The typical eight-week summer season includes more than 400 classical music events—including concerts by five orchestras, solo and chamber music performances, fully staged opera productions, master classes, lectures, and children’s programming—and brings in 100,000 audience members.
Spend a few days or more at the Molly Gibson Lodge this summer, relaxing and soaking up the sun and sounds of Aspen!
Of all of the exhilarating summer escapades that Colorado has to offer, one of our favorite activities in Aspen is the adventurous experience of driving over Independence Pass. One of the highest mountain passes in Colorado, midway between Aspen and Twin Lakes and bordering both Lake and Pitkin Counties, it is a scenic way to travel between these two mountain towns with beautiful views and a little piece of history.
You’ll travel through shining green pine trees and see cascading waterfalls and rapidly flowing rivers. It reaches its highest point on the Continental Divide at 12,095 feet above sea level – the highest paved road over the divide in the United States
The ghost town of Independence is about 40 minutes outside Aspen, Colorado. The pass was initially built for mining purposes in 1879. Back then, it was a narrow, gravel stagecoach road. Driving past the abandoned houses and structures is captivating, and will have you longing for more knowledge about the people and history behind the ghost town of Independence.
It was a popular stop during the gold rush. Typical to the state of Colorado, the boom eventually became a bust and only a few of the original houses and buildings still remain. Independence is now a ghost town, and a short walking path provides a window into the lives of the gold miners from the past.
Driving Independence Pass is not just taking another road. Separate from where you are going and where you are coming from, you will remember Independence Pass as its own experience. On any given summer day, you will be awestruck by the surrounding beauty and mesmerized by how far down you can see by glancing over the edge of the road.
Whether you are interested in capturing the beauty of Aspen or the experiences of gold miners in Colorado, Independence Pass provides you with both right at your fingertips.
Stay at the Molly Gibson Lodge in the heart of Aspen, Colorado, only a few blocks from downtown historic Aspen - one of Aspen's best hotels offering the most value with free breakfast, internet, pool and hot tubs. Book your room or call us at 888-271-2304 today.
When visiting the City of Aspen, you are bound to spot a lot of furry friends! Aspen has long been known as a dog-friendly community, and dogs love the trails and parks that are abundant here in Aspen. Not only do residents flaunt their furry companions by taking them to work, for downtown walks or to the weekly Saturday Market, but Aspen also welcomes vacationing dogs as well. While you're here, you'll find a wide variety of dog-friendly activities to keep even the most finicky furry friend happy and content.
Dog Walking in the Town of Aspen, Colorado
One way to show off your canine friend is simply to take a casual jaunt around town, or go window shopping. But for the true, authentic dog-walking experience, you must take a stroll around Bernese Boulevard. This designated dog trail, aptly named for the popular Bernese Mountain Dog breed so prevalent in Colorado, surrounds the perimeter of the Aspen Golf Course, just a few blocks from town. A highly social walkabout for local and vacationing dogs, Bernese Boulevard is a must- see-and-be-seen path for your pooch!
Dog-Friendly Hiking in Aspen
Aspen has an extensive number of beautiful trails that welcome outdoor enthusiasts and their four-legged hiking companions. The Rio Grande Trail is a beautiful meander through sagebrush meadows and trees, with lots of good sniffs for dogs, and follows the old Denver and Rio Grande railroad route along the Roaring Fork River. Dogs are welcome to enjoy the Rio Grande Trail on a leash. Marolt Property Tracks connecting the west end of Aspen and the Aspen Golf Course is a perfect place for a quick jaunt with your dog to burn off steam close to town. In Snowmass, the Village Way is a fun, steep hike connecting Snowmass Village and the Snowmass Golf Course Tracks. Your dog (and you) will love the challenging workout on this Snowmass trail.
What pooch wouldn’t love enjoying the lovely scents and people watching at some of Aspen’s finest eateries? Thankfully there are several local hotspots that welcome your dog to join in the dining pleasures of our culinary inspired town. Ajax Tavern, local hotspot for lunch at the base of Aspen Mountain, welcomes your dog to enjoy the fabulous people watching by your side as you savor their delicious and hearty high-end pub fare (like their world-famous truffle fries) in what is continually voted to be Aspen’s Best Outdoor Dining. Poppycock’s, one of Aspen’s favorite breakfast and lunch eateries, welcomes your pet to sit comfortably by your side while you enjoy a heaping plate of their famous oatmeal buttermilk pancakes. Kenichi, in the heart of downtown Aspen, allows your dog to tag along while you delight in some of Aspen’s best innovative sushi and seafood.
R & R With Your Dog
Where to stay with your dog in Aspen while enjoying all these fun furry-friend friendly activities? Look no further than sister hotels Molly Gibson Lodge and Hotel Aspen both of which welcome your dog with open arms. Molly Gibson's spacious rooms and fabulous outdoor spaces provide plenty of options for your dog to play and be pampered on his or her Aspen vacation!
In mid-September, hot summer days shift to shorter fall days with brisk evenings, and the beautiful aspen trees all around Aspen, CO begin their seasonal transition from vibrant hues of green to a bright golden glow. Filling the entire region with their beautiful glow. These vivid aspens juxtaposed with dark green conifer trees and deep blue Colorado skies, are a spectacle that is definitely worth traveling for.
Once you’re here, Aspen’s wide variety of foliage viewing options will make any leaf peeper rejoice:
- Catch the bus up to the iconic Maroon Bells to view the foliage from Maroon Lake or one of the areas many hiking trails.
- Ride on the Silver Queen Gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain. Open on weekends Sept. 6-8, 13-15, 20-22, 27-29, & Oct. 4-6, 2019.
- Take a scenic drive over Independence Pass or venture up Maroon Creek Road or Castle Creek Road to enjoy the colors from the comfort of your car.
- Travel where few can go on a Blazing Adventures Jeep Tour up Aspen Mountain, to the historic area of Lenado, or up Taylor Pass.
- Take in the fall foliage from the water on a guided fly fishing trip, rafting trip or standup paddle board down the North Star Nature Preserve.
- Take a scenic hike. Consider American Lake Trail, Hunter Creek, Cathedral Lake, or Government Trail to immerse yourself in the golden aspens.
- Zoom down Snowmass Bike Park’s 2,897 vertical feet of purpose-built downhill trails, winding from the top of the Elk Camp Gondola to Snowmass Base Village through thick stands of golden aspen.
- Learn about the region’s mining history as you take in the fall colors surrounding Ashcroft Ghost Town.
- Soar over Aspen with a certified instructor from Aspen Paragliding. Fall tours are offered through mid-October.
How will you know when the colors are at their peak? Nature can be unpredictable in the mountains, but the Power of Four Roundshot camera leaves the guessing behind with a live panorama of all four Aspen Snowmass mountains and the surrounding valley so that you can see exactly what the colors are looking like every day. The Weather Channel also offers a handy Fall Foliage Map which estimates peak fall foliage times and shares the latest reports from around the U.S. so that you can begin your planning early.
Unlike many mountain towns, Aspen continues to thrive in the autumn with several restaurants, shops and attractions staying open well into October. Our lodging specials makes it easy to come experience Aspen’s most brilliant season.
As the temperature drops and the quaking aspen change from green to saturated golds and oranges, local pedal pushers know there is no better season for mountain biking in Aspen, Colorado. From technical singletrack to paved roads with breathtaking views, options abound for every two-wheeled enthusiast. Grab your favorite jacket and head out on these picturesque trails before the snow starts to fly.
This loop ride tops our list for fall rides with its combination of new singletrack, historic mining roads and stunning views of downtown Aspen and surrounding mountain peaks.
Offering unparalleled views of Aspen, Snowmass and the lower Roaring Fork Valley this popular flowy trail network is a must-ride while in Aspen Snowmass.
One of the more challenging trails in the area, Government Trail winds across both Buttermilk and Snowmass ski areas through aspen groves and fir forests.
This 10-mile road ride rewards cyclists with views of Pyramid Peak, the iconic Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake. Surrounded by golden aspen groves and capped with snow, the Maroon Bells are picture perfect in the fall.
At the end of this 11-mile road ride through swaths of aspen trees, cyclists can explore the remains of the historic Ashcroft ghost town or enjoy a gourmet meal at the Pine Creek Cookhouse.
Get your calendars out and start planning: leaf peeping season in the Rocky Mountains is just around the corner, and there are only so many weekends to get out and enjoy the spectacular autumn foliage. While you can’t go wrong with a beautiful drive up to Aspen, there’s more to do than meets the eye. Here are five fabulous sensations to include on your Aspen getaway.
SIGHTS TO SEE AND BE SEEN
If you are driving to Aspen, consider taking the long way over Independence Pass, the highest paved State Highway in Colorado (Hwy 82). Golden aspen trees give way to brilliant reds and oranges of the alpine tundra and amazing views of Mount Elbert, Colorado’s highest mountain. But don’t let the outdoors get all of the attention. The 40th Aspen Film Festival takes place September 23-29, 2019 for new releases, sneak previews, and favorites from the festival circuit. Or, come the first week in October to hobnob with snow industry VIPs at The Meeting, an unforgettable weekend of get-your-snow-stoke-on film, music and partying.
SOUNDS LIKE FALL
It’s not enough to just look at golden aspen trees. You need to hear them. That’s right, populous tremuloides, also known as Quaking Aspen or Quakies for short, make a spectacular shivery sound when the wind shakes the dry autumn leaves. For the best effect, hike the Maroon Lake Scenic trail, take a few selfies with the Maroon Bells behind you, and then stand in the midst of a thick grove of aspen trees and have a listen. It’s as soothing as listening to ocean waves.
IT’S MORE THAN A FEELING
Fall is the perfect time to treat yourself to a rejuvenating spa treatment and facial – and with any luck, you can find some amazing packages peak season prices. Exfoliating scrubs with cinnamon and brown sugar, or perhaps an organic pumpkin masque might be just the thing to right the wrongs of summer’s fun in the sun. Check out the Rémede Spa, voted #1 Spa in the World by Travel + Leisure, with its steam caves, cold plunges, hot tubs and Confluence waterfall.
WAKE UP AND SMELL THE BAKERIES
Aspen is home to half a dozen or more extraordinary bakeries. Just wake up early and follow your nose. There’s no better way to take the chill off a crisp autumn morning than with a hot brew and a fresh baked delight. You could spend your entire visit deciding which bakery is best. Will it be the pumpkin muffins at Paradise Bakery or doughnuts at Annette’s Mountain Bakery? Bring your hiking shoes unless you want to pack on a few pounds!
Aspen’s wining and dining scene is world-renowned, covering the full spectrum from haute cuisine to old-time saloons and everything in between. With the Roaring Fork Valley and Colorado’s Western Slope nearby, there’s no shortage of craft foods and farm-to-table menus. But if you could pick any weekend to experience fall in Aspen Snowmass, it would have to be September 14-15 for the annual Snowmass Wine Festival. Set amongst the breathtaking scenery of nearby Snowmass Village, the Festival's 3.5 hour Grand Tasting event offers a wide array of the world’s top wines as well as cuisine from the Roaring Fork Valley’s favorite restaurants.
With all of these great sensations, you’re going to need a relaxing and comfortable place to stay. And when you book your stay at the Molly Gibson Lodge, you’ll enjoy a wonderful breakfast for free. Our complimentary breakfast isn’t the only thing to love about the Molly Gibson. We are an Aspen pet-friendly hotel that enjoys hosting every member of the family! So bring your four-legged hiking buddies and make some memories that will last a lifetime.
Fall is a magical time of the year in the mountains, and a perfect time to come to Aspen for a weekend or week-long escape. Aspen lodging deals abound, the weather is beautiful and there is lots to do! Check out this fall bucket list of special fall activities in Aspen happening now!
1.TAKE A GUIDED HIKE
Fall hiking is in its glory in September and October, as aspen leaves turn to vibrant gold and cooler temperatures encourage long walks in the woods. For a memorable and educational take on this favorite fall activity, hire an Naturalist to guide you on your fall journey. The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies can provide an expert Naturalist guide for a fee. Customize anything from a family-friendly adventure exploring Beaver, Birds of Prey or Bear at the ecology-rich Hallam Lake, to a challenging half or full day hike on the beloved American Lake Trail or Lost Man Loop. All of the destinations offer an unrivaled look at Aspen’s incredible plant and wildlife diversity with educational annotation from one of ACES’ expert local guides. Learn More
2. BIKE MAROON CREEK TRAIL
One of the most iconic road rides in Colorado, the Maroon Creek Trail presents unparalleled views of Aspen’s famous Maroon Bells in the foreground. This access road is closed to motor vehicles, and the public bus service that runs through the summer comes to an end in early October. That means that cyclists have the access road all to themselves (as long as weather permits). Prime leaf season will linger for a few more weeks, enhanced by an early-season dusting of snow along the peaks. A perfect fall biking experience with stellar colorful views awaits on this classic Aspen ride! Learn More
3. TAKE IN A SHOW AT BELLY UP ASPEN
Belly Up Aspen is well known as a forerunner in the local music scene. This venue brings in incredible talent all year, notwithstanding the off-seasons! Look forward to amazing live music from concert greats such as the Spazmatics and Rising Appalachia (September), or Brent Cowles and St. Paul & The Broken Bones (October). Multiple weekly concerts populate this jam-packed live music calendar. Did you know Belly Up Aspen is also a favorite spot to watch your favorite NFL teams? Swing by to watch Sunday and Monday night football in one of the liveliest football bars in town. Learn More
4. PERUSE LOCAL ART AT ASPEN ART MUSEUM
The Aspen Art Museum, a respected center for modern art in the mountains, has a long-standing tradition that encourages community involvement while cultivating a love for modern art. In fact, free, drop-in spotlight tours are led by museum staff every Wednesday and Saturday at 1pm. Want to bring the kids? Check out the monthly drop-in Family Workshops, designed to provide children and adults free opportunities to explore the galleries and create works of art of their own. Learn More
5. ATTEND THE 40TH ANNUAL ASPEN FILMFEST
The Aspen Filmfest screens documentaries, independent films and foreign language films in true mountain film festival style. Filmmakers are on hand to lead discussions and shed light on the making of this diverse selection of films that is sure to delight autumn film buffs. For a full schedule, ticket information and film descriptions visit aspenfilm.org.