Free Things To Do in Aspen
- #2View all Photos#2 in Aspen15.4 miles to city centerRecreation, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND15.4 miles to city centerRecreation, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
If there's one reason to rent a car in Aspen, it's to take the 20-mile drive through Independence Pass. This scenic road is one of the highest in North America, meandering along the Continental Divide at a whopping 12,095 feet above sea level. Get ready to feel like a daredevil as you navigate tight turns along towering cliffs and through thick forests. When you're ready to stretch your legs, a paved hiking trail leads to a sightseeing platform where far-reaching views of the Continental Divide are sure to make your jaw drop.
Those who cruised through Independence Pass say the scenery is truly breathtaking, adding that there are spots along the way to stop for a picnic and snap photos. Although travelers agree that a drive down Independence Pass is a must, they also advise that you proceed with caution because of the daunting nature of the narrow, winding road. (Some go as far to say if you are prone to carsickness, this is not a trip for you.)
- #6View all PhotosfreeGlenwood Springs#6 in Aspen36.8 miles to city centerFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND36.8 miles to city centerFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
While you'll have no trouble finding ways to fill your time in Aspen proper, you would be remiss if you visited the Roaring Fork Valley and didn't make a stop in Glenwood Springs. Sitting about 40 miles northwest of Aspen along Route 82 – near the junction of I-70 – Glenwood Springs offers just as many spots to hike as its more popular neighbor, not to mention fishing and whitewater rafting opportunities. The town is also home to an intricate collection of caverns that are worth exploring
But it's not caves and trails that earn Glenwood Springs a good reputation among travelers in-the-know – it's the town's legendary hot springs. Formerly known by regional Native American tribes as the Yampah Hot Springs, the Hot Springs Pool has been used by Native American tribes for centuries; and the bubbling pools have catered to such legendary clientele as President Theodore Roosevelt, the unsinkable Molly Brown and the notorious Al Capone. Swimmers today mention that a visit to the pools can be pricey (adult rates range from $15 to $22, depending on the season; bring your own towels to save some money). However, the admission fee allows you to stay and soak for as long as you like. Travelers say a soak in the hot springs is quite relaxing and rejuvenating after a few days of skiing; some previous visitors also recommended visiting during the evening for a less crowded experience.
- #11View all Photos#11 in Aspen0.2 miles to city centerMonuments and Memorials, Parks and Gardens, FreeTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPEND0.2 miles to city centerMonuments and Memorials, Parks and Gardens, FreeTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPEND
Anyone who's a fan of John Denver's music knows that the famous singer-songwriter was a big fan of Aspen; he immortalized the town's beauty and character in several of his songs, including his famous "Aspenglow." The town decided to pay tribute to its favorite musician (who died in 1997) with the John Denver Sanctuary, a memorial nestled near the Aspen Art Museum in Rio Grande Park. The memorial is composed of several stone slabs bearing the musician's name and some of his lyrics. Travelers strongly recommend a visit, even if you're not a diehard Denver fan, noting the area's beautiful flower garden and the impressive inscribed boulders.
The John Denver Sanctuary is always open and admission is free. For more information, visit the Aspen Chamber of Commerce website.
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