Sometimes I wonder why I live in Texas… It’s a question I ask my self after every trip. I mean if I could at least live somewhere else during the month of August I’ll take it. I’m sure most of you would agree with me, right? Aspen would 100% be at the top of my list for places to live during the summer. I grew up going to the Colorado mountains so it just feels like it’s what I’m supposed to do. I remember driving up to the mountains in our “big green van” and I always looked forward to feeding the chipmunks! P.S. It was the highlight of this last trip too.

Since I’ve been to the Aspen area quite a few times now, and I have a new client for Muse Consultants up there I thought it was about time to do a travel guide. Basically, it’s all the things I love about the area! I’ve been four times since June of 2021 so I feel like I know a thing or two now about the area now…

I prefer going hiking over a lot of other summer outdoor activities. Although, coming face-to-face with a gray wolf on our hike in June was an experience that almost changed my mind… My ex-boyfriend and I were so close we locked eyes with him and saw the rabbit he had in his mouth. I honestly have no idea what went through my head at that split second, but thank the Lord he ran away. Anyway, there are some amazing hiking trails!

Also, it’s obviously a great place to go skiing in the winter but I prefer après ski.

 

ASPEN TRAVEL GUIDE

Let’s break this down by: restaurants, hotels, and things to do/hiking trails! If you are like me then the first thing I do before a vacation is look up what restaurants I’m going to…anyone else? Then I’ll figure out what to do while I’m there to burn off the calories.

FAVORITE RESTAURANTS

ACQUOLINA

Incredible pasta and such a cozy atmosphere. They have one of our favorite wines too called Gaja!

AJAX TAVERN

Their cheeseburger and truffle french fries are AH-MAZING! Perfect to split with someone for lunch, and get the frosé – it’s so delicious!

BETULA

We met my boyfriends client and his wife here for dinner back in June… I was obsessed. They have this tequila drink that comes in a cute little bird glass and it’s SO tasty. The food is incredible too, but the rooftop vibes are really what it’s all about.

BEAR DEN

Three words… Spicy truffle aioli. Do I need to say more? I got it on my egg sandwich and went into food heaven. It’s the cutest little house that serves all the things. We went for brunch which I highly recommend because their coffee was some of the best I’ve had too.

CASA TUA

This has been on my list for a while now, but I still haven’t had the chance to go! I’ve heard it’s an incredible Italian spot so believe me when I say I’m going next time. I don’t care if my functional medicine doctor told me to go gluten free…

CATCH STEAK

If you don’t get the flaming dessert here you’re an idiot. One of the BEST things I’ve ever had in my life. Don’t get me wrong, the steak is amazing too. I don’t even know if I remember it because I was in such a food daze from how delicious everything tasted. Their bar is really fun and great vibes too for drinks!

CLARK’S ASPEN

My absolute “go-to” spot while I’m visiting. Everything is just…good. It’s casual yet cozy. Good atmosphere. Great food and drinks. We at lunch here 3 times out of the 5 days we were there in February. Does that say anything?! Also, if you are a mac n’ cheese girl like me then you MUST order the “Shells & Cheese” with Lump Crab for your main dish – it was to die for. Literally.

FRENCH ALPINE BISTRO

I forgot how good this Aspen favorite is… Cheese fondue. That’s all you need to know.

J-BAR AT HOTEL JEROME

It’s the Aspen vibe. Always a good spot for any reason.

MEAT & CHEESE SHOP

Go for lunch and order the Italian Grinder! So yummy. Just a heads up that they don’t take reservations, so I recommend putting your name down and then shopping around until your table’s ready.

MATSUSHISA

Some of the best sushi and Japanese food! It’s pricey, but worth it – especially if you can go with a group and share plates!

WHITE HOUSE TAVERN

Part of the Hillstone Restaurant Group, so very similar menu to Honor Bar, Hillstone & R+D Kitchen! The Macho Salad and French dip are favorites!

HIKING TRAILS

First off, there are SO many hiking trails you really need to do your research before picking one. Almost every time I’ve done a hike it ALWAYS takes longer than expected. Also, you’ve got to wear layers because the weather will change once you start increasing your elevation!! Bring a backpack and more water than you think.

MAROON BELLS

Such an amazing view once you make it to the lake! Pro tip: rent e-bikes and cruise to the trail from downtown Aspen! It’s about a 14-mile bike ride each way, but the electric bike makes it a breeze and it’s a great way to see the town!

AMERICAN LAKE

This is the hike where we ran into the wolf and got rained on…super fun. But really, once you get up to the lake it’s gorgeous. I will say this is a pretty hard hike. It’s only about 3-miles total, but it’s a big elevation change! Plus, there is an area where you are climbing over a huge area of rocks.

CATHEDRAL LAKE

We didn’t hike this trail because American Lake was supposed to be easier so now that I did that I think I can handle this one!

INDEPENDENCE PASS

We woke up to 36 degree temps on a lovely August day so if it is colder outside I would absolutely recommend driving up the pass and doing some of the trails along the way. That’s where the rock cave picture is below!

FAVORITE HOTELS

THE LITTLE NELL

Ideal location right at the base of the mountain. It’s where everyone goes for Aprés ski! Extremely friendly staff and a very cute pool. They also have a wine bar room that is so fun.

VICEROY SNOWMASS

Absolutely LOVED staying here in August! It’s very peaceful and has one of my favorite restaurants. Great location for “ski in, ski out” and the mountain is a little easier than Aspen for skiing. The rooms were very spacious too with a mini kitchen which is great anyone who just wants to hibernate.

HOTEL JEROME

ST. REGIS ASPEN

If you have the money to stay here then by all means DO it, haha. You just feel fancy walking into the hotel and like you’re in another country. Their spa is also incredible!!

Obviously it depends what time of year you are visiting Aspen, but you can find outfit ideas for summer and winter which will help you decide what to pack! Aspen is a bit more fancy, but you’ll find people in all different things. If you live here in Dallas then think of it this way… Aspen = Dallas. Snowmass = Fort Worth.

After my last trip, I’m hoping to be back once a quarter so I’ll be updating this guide as much as possible!

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