Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

#12 in Best Things To Do in Aspen
Aspen Center for Environmental Studies picture
Jim Kravitz/Flickr

Key Info

100 Puppy Smith Street

Price & Hours

Prices vary by tour
Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Details

Museums, Parks and Gardens, Zoos and Aquariums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
3.5

scorecard

  • 4.5Value
  • 2.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Sitting just north of Main Street, this research center and wildlife sanctuary works to educate visitors about Aspen's natural surroundings while preserving local flora and fauna. While here, you can attend wildlife workshops, tag along on a winter snowshoe walk and even come face-to-face with America’s favorite bird, the bald eagle. If you're visiting with children, consider signing them up for one of the kid-friendly arts and crafts classes or nature hikes.

Fellow nature lovers say that the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies is the place to go to get to know this town's wilder side, and many visitors are quick to praise the facility for its environmental protection efforts. 

The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You don't have to pay to enjoy a lecture, join a guided hike or simply stop in for a visit; however, ACES does charge nominal fees for some kids programming and for guided snowshoe tours. For more information about guided expeditions and on-site activities, visit the center's website.

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#1 Maroon Bells

Rising more than 14,000 feet, these twin peaks are a favorite spot for hikers and wildlife-watchers, boasting beautiful vistas and breathtaking scenery. In fact, Maroon Bells' jagged peaks and multicolored slopes make it one of the most photographed sites in North America. The surrounding area features numerous trails and campsites, granting you a variety of viewing points from which you can capture the perfect shot.

Whether you choose to head toward the summit or to lazily stroll around the beaver-laden Maroon Lake, this is sure to be one of the highlights of your Aspen trip. Recent travelers praise the uninterrupted beauty of this area, calling the Maroon Bells "stunning," "awe-inspiring" and "one of the loveliest places on earth." Some say it's the perfect place for a day of hiking and a picnic lunch. Past hikers recommended getting to the mountains early as the area can get crowded.

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