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Vail-Aspen-Glenwood Springs: recommendations?

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Boulder, Colorado
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Vail-Aspen-Glenwood Springs: recommendations?

I'm going for a trip in late August with my parents and child. I'm thinking of doing the Vail-Leadville-Aspen-Glenwood Springs circle. I'm trying to devise the right mix of shopping, dining, sightseeing, light hiking, maybe a little boating. We'll have about 3 1/2 days for the whole trip, so all the attractions won't fit in, obviously. What would you recommend most?

Aspen, CO
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1. Re: Vail-Aspen-Glenwood Springs: recommendations?

I'd recommend you leave at least one of your overnight stays in your schedule for staying in Aspen. Check out www.stayaspensnowmass.com for lodging recommendations. They are the local central reservations office and can help you no matter your budget. Also, my own recommendation would be to stay in the town of Aspen rather than Snowmass Village just to help cut down on time spent driving back into Aspen to see the town.

You might wish to ride the gondola in Aspen to the top of the mountain (adults $19 weekdays, $21 weekends) which would be fun for everyone in the family. Once up there, the views are absolutely stunning, you can hike around the mountain right from the top, play free disc golf, or older people can just relax at the Sundeck restaurant which serves excellent food. Photographers from Mountain Photo are also available at the top from 10am-3pm and are happy to take group photos with perfect backdrops. These photos are no obligation and you can review the proofs that afternoon at the bottom of the gondola in the ticket office or online once you've gone home.

I'd also highly recommend the Maroon Bells. This is just minutes out of Aspen and you can either drive your car to the Aspen Highlands garage and then take the bus up or you can take a bus from Aspen then another bus from the Highlands garage. The bus will then drop you at Maroon Lake where you can hike around, take pictures, or enjoy a picnic. The Maroon Bells are the most photographed mountains in the country and truly think you'd enjoy it. You can do this separately of the gondola or you can buy a combo pass $22. This ticket can be purchased at the gondola ticket office or at the Rubey Park bus stop in Aspen.

Another recommendation would be to simply soak up the atmosphere of Aspen. Walk around town, window shop, buy an ice cream cone at Paradise Bakery and take a seat on the bench outside it and enjoy all the music students who stop to perform for the crowds there. A great affordable spot for lunch for a diverse group would be Boogie's diner with 50's style booths and decor with excellent home made milk shakes.

Another atmospheric spot are the dancing fountains at the corner of Mill St. and Hyman Ave. Children of all ages race through the fountains and try not to (or perhaps try to) get caught by the water. (Bring a change of clothes just in case for the child). If the adults want a nice meal D19 is an amazing Italian restaurant. Get a table on the patio for lunch and your child can race through the fountains while you're able to keep an eye on them from your table. Have a great trip!

Boulder, Colorado
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2. Re: Vail-Aspen-Glenwood Springs: recommendations?

Thanks, Jennifer, this is really helpful!

Do you know by any chance if there's a lot to do in Glenwood Springs or we'd better make the most of Aspen?

Aspen, CO
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3. Re: Vail-Aspen-Glenwood Springs: recommendations?

I'd say there absolutely is more to do in a more scenic environment in Aspen than in Glenwood, but there may be attractions there you'd find worthwhile.

I personally only ever go to Glenwood to go to Target or passing through on my way to Denver, but it's my understanding people enjoy the Fairy Caves, the hot springs pool, and the hike to Hanging Lake. I'll let someone more familiar with Glenwood guide you from here, and I hope you have a great trip!

Moab, Utah
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4. Re: Vail-Aspen-Glenwood Springs: recommendations?

jennifer74,

What's the story with accessing Maroon Bells mid-October when the bus runs have stopped?

Aspen, CO
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5. Re: Vail-Aspen-Glenwood Springs: recommendations?

Shuttle buses this year run Sept 4-Oct 1 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On the other days you can drive yourself up for $10/car between roughly 8am-5pm, or before or after that for free.

After October 1 driving yourself is the only option for the same fee during the same hours as mentioned above. The road does close for good for the winter, typically mid-October (last year it closed October 15) but depending on snow, and at that point your only access would be to go in on foot.

Moab, Utah
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6. Re: Vail-Aspen-Glenwood Springs: recommendations?

Thanks for that Jennifer74. We'll be there after October 1 but hoepfully, snow permitting, we won't have to walk too far.

Moab, Utah
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7. Re: Vail-Aspen-Glenwood Springs: recommendations?

Did the trip to Maroon Bells today 10/7. Road was still open and there was no fee, all day.

Did the hike to Crater Lake and it was absolutely outstanding. We were up there by 11:00am and had the lake and surrounds to ourselves. Weather was a little overcast but plenty of breaks in the clouds to light up the mountains on occasions. On the way back down the trail and the road ther were 'masses' of people, relatively speaking, heading up.

To top of the day hiked the Ute Trail for an extremely rewarding view of Aspen town and the surrounding valley.

Aspen, CO
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8. Re: Vail-Aspen-Glenwood Springs: recommendations?

Glad to hear you had a good visit and were able to make the Bells. Thanks for the update!

9. Re: Vail-Aspen-Glenwood Springs: recommendations?

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