Are you taking an adventurous trip to the Aspen mountains soon? Doing the necessary research before you take off will ensure you know the upcoming weather, the cheapest prices, and the least crowded places to visit.
There’s a lot to love about Aspen, and when you know the best time to visit Colorado, you’ll be able to check everything off your bucket list. Everybody has goals when it comes to a vacation.
So whether it’s the most affordable flights and rooms, the least crowded mountains, or moderate temperatures to enjoy the cold, we’ll show you the best time to visit Aspen to suit your needs. We’ll also give you traveler tips and things to consider to make your trip perfect. So let us be your guide to all things Aspen!
Why You Should Visit Aspen
Aspen, Colorado, is known for its rich history. However, the image of this delightful city has drastically changed over the years. This resort town is in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
You’ll find Aspen in the White River National Forest, which is home to the Aspen Skiing Company. It’s widely known as one of the top ski destinations in the world. But Aspen isn’t only a winter destination.
The area is popular during the summer for hiking, biking, and warm-weather outdoor activities. Aspen gets its name due to the abundance of Aspen trees in the area.
These trees are the most widespread tree in North America, known for being part of a cluster of similar trees. The Rocky Mountain scenery, culinary excellence, and luxury accommodation options ensure that Aspen is the winter vacation of your dreams.
Anyone looking for an exciting winter getaway is sure to find it in Aspen. And when you’re not hitting the slopes, you can enjoy plenty of cultural activities, including art museums and galleries.
Overall Best Time to Visit Aspen
If you’re looking to plan the ideal trip to Aspen the most options for outdoor and indoor activities, the best time to visit is between December and February.
The winter months offer you the best chances to hit the slopes because the mountains have fresh snow. The most popular activities to do in Aspen revolve around the mountains.
Whether skiing, snowboarding, or snow tubing, Aspen winters are sure not to disappoint. December in Aspen brings an average high temperature of 34F and a low of 10F. In addition, Aspen gets around 200 inches of snowfall annually to lure winter lovers from across the country.
If you’re looking for a quieter winter visit, try booking your trip for January or February. The holiday crowds would’ve left the slopes by then, and there are more manageable prices during that time.
Also, you don’t need to worry about the snow melting because there are optimal ski conditions during February. During January, Aspen welcomes everyone to the X Games. These Games are free to attend for all fans of winter sports.
Even if you don’t ski or snowboard, there are many more activities to do in Aspen during the winter. One of these activities is the silver queen gondola ride.
This gondola ride goes more than 3,000 vertical feet from the base of Aspen Mountain all the way to the top. Anyone who enjoys photography will love the picturesque views from the top of the mountain.
Maroon Bells Scenic Area is another stunning location for anyone who wants to see beautiful landscapes and take memorable photos. This mountain area is secluded and accessible via snowmobiling tours.
Cheapest Time to Visit Aspen
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly vacation to Aspen, you’ll want to go during Aspen’s off-season. Typically the cheapest times to visit are between September and November, then again in February and April.
During September and October, you shouldn’t be surprised to find that many places are still closed due to the off-season. However, there are still many activities to enjoy.
Also, travel expenses drop nearly 50% during this time of year as there is less demand. The warm weather during the fall is perfect for spending your days outside.
Least Busy Time to Visit Aspen
If being on a crowded mountain is your least favorite part of a vacation, it’s best to plan your trip during the least busy times of the year. Aspen’s quietest months are between September and November, then again in April through June.
The cheapest and least busy times to visit Aspen are essentially the same months. The least busy time to visit Aspen is known as the off-season.
The off-season is when you see the fewest tourists and visitors due to no snow or skiing happening on the mountain. Also, between April and June, the ground is significantly muddy and not safe for hiking because of the recently melted snow.
If winter isn’t your favorite time of year and you want to relax on your trip, you’ll want to visit Aspen during these quiet months. However, you’ll find more locals around during this time.
Worst Time to Visit Aspen
The worst time (not that there’s ever a bad time to visit) to go to Aspen is during the springtime. Typically, between April and June is the worst time to visit Aspen.
Since ski season is over, the permanent residents of Aspen tend to stay indoors. Also, September and October are the worst times to visit Aspen. Normally, everyone that visits Aspen wants to experience the adrenaline on the slopes.
However, it’s much warmer and less populated during September and October. Aspen is known for skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer.
However, the fall and spring don’t offer many activities for people on vacation. It’s important to know that if you come during the fall or spring, only a few events are going on during that time.
Also, some hotels and restaurants are closed for the season. Some stores in Aspen only sell skiing equipment or winter merchandise, so they’re not open during these quieter months.
Things to Consider
Now that you know the best time to visit Aspen for your upcoming vacation, you may be wondering how else you can make your vacation special. Here are a few things to consider to help you plan your trip like a seasoned Aspen traveler.
Harsh Winter Temperatures
It’s no surprise that Aspen, Colorado, has harsh winters. Snowfall in Aspen begins as early as October and can snow as late as May. Sometimes, Aspen has extremely cold temperatures that fall below 0F.
Average Summer Temperatures
Summer in Aspen is warm, with an average maximum temperature of 83F and a minimum of 42F. However, with the altitude and proximity to the Rocky Mountains, Aspen receives much more shade than other towns in Colorado. This shade keeps warmer temperatures lower than expected.
Even though there are more hours of sunshine during the summer, Aspen has a lower UV index than most places during the summer. Sunburn may not be in your forecast because Aspen typically has an average maximum UV index of 4.
Holiday and Annual Events
Every month of the year features a highlighted event in Aspen, Colorado. Unfortunately, these events result in higher flight and hotel prices.
Here’s a monthly breakdown of the busy holiday events in Aspen:
- January: The X Games
- February: Sleigh rides, ice skating, dog sledding, and tubing
- March: Longest days of skiing
- April: Shortsfest
- May: Ride for the Pass
- June: Mountaintop Yoga
- July: Aspen Music Festival
- August: Visit the Roaring Fork Valley
- September: Snowmass Balloon Festival
- October: Fall Foliage
- November: Opening of Aspen Mountain and Snowmass ski areas, Shining Mountains Film Festival
- December: Christmas in Aspen
You can do one of two things with this information in mind. First, you can either plan your visit outside the busiest holidays to enjoy a less crowded and more affordable trip with an abundance of hotel and flight availability.
If you want to enjoy these varying activities, then be sure to book your Aspen vacation well in advance.
You will run into higher prices if you wait until the last minute. It’ll be impossible to escape the crowds, but booking your spot ahead of time will make sure you get to go to your desired events and attractions.
Always Search for Discounts
Many hotels, airlines, and attractions offer discounts to varying membership groups even if you’re traveling during the most expensive times of the year. You’re sure to find discounts anywhere you look.
Ask hotels and attractions about student, senior, military, and corporate discounts that would apply to you. Once you’ve made it to Aspen, you can find activity guides and brochures in hotel lobbies and souvenir shops.
Those pamphlets often include specials and discounts that could offer you freebies on attractions and activities or buy-one-get-one-free deals at restaurants or shops. If it seems like too much of a hassle, ask any employee at your hotel if they offer any discounts during your stay.
Bring the Right Gear and Clothing
Whether you’re planning on hitting the slopes during the winter, going shopping in downtown Aspen, or going for a hike during the summer, you must have the right gear to make the trip more enjoyable.
The first thing to know about packing for Aspen during the winter is that it’s a high-altitude city. This high altitude means the air is thinner and colder at all times of the day.
Also, many of the winter activities you’ll be doing are outdoors. Another interesting fact is that Aspen is a fashionable city due to its popularity with wealthy and famous people visiting.
Here are a few suggestions about what to wear in Aspen during the winter:
- An insulated coat
- Snow boots
- Winter gloves
- Stylish winter clothing
If you’re planning on skiing or snowboarding, you’ll need the proper equipment for those activities too. This equipment might be different from your everyday winter clothes in Aspen.
Here are a few suggestions about what to wear in Aspen during the summer:
- T-shirt or tank top
- Jeans or leggings
- Dress or skirt
- A light jacket
Typically, it’s warm during the day and gets cooler at night. Also, be sure to wear comfortable shoes because you’ll be doing a lot of walking. If you’re looking for the best time to visit Aspen, it’s crucial to consider all the above factors.
There are pros and cons to visiting Aspen during the best time of year, and those who can handle the shifting temperatures and the large crowd will have a memorable trip.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still need help deciding the best time to visit Aspen? Here are some frequently asked questions about the best time to visit.
Why is Aspen a great place to visit in the winter?
Aspen is a great place to visit in the winter due to its popularity and notoriety as being one of the best places to go skiing or snowboarding. Aspen has four skiing areas that result in 5,300 acres of skiable terrain.
Also, Aspen is known for having impressive dining choices and innovative contemporary art scenes. In addition, there’s lively nightlife in downtown Aspen that people enjoy visiting during the winter.
What are the four Aspen Snowmass Mountains?
The four Aspen Mountains are Aspen Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk. Aspen Snowmass is the most well-known resort in the area.
It has a few beginner trails, but most of the trails are for intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders. Aspen Mountain, also called Ajax, is for intermediate and expert riders with blue, black, and double-black diamond trails.
The Aspen Highlands has no beginner runs. However, it’s a favorite for locals and visitors looking for a challenging mountain. Buttermilk has the most easily rated trails and is known to be the best for beginners.
Are the roads in Aspen closed in the winter?
Yes, the Colorado Department of Transportation closes multiple roads in and out of Aspen during the winter.
How do you get around Aspen?
Aspen is known to be walkable at most times during the year, but during the winter, it’s cold and uncomfortable to walk around.
Aspen has eight free shuttle routes that operate throughout the day. Many of these shuttles take you to downtown Aspen, mountain entrances, and ski resorts.
What are the best events in Aspen during the winter?
The most popular events in Aspen during the winter are 12 Days of Aspen, Wintersköl, the Winter X Games, and Ullr Nights. There may also be skiing and snowboarding competitions.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Aspen?
It’s safe to say we’ve covered a lot of information in this guide, so let’s remind you of the best time to visit Aspen before you go. Overall, the best time to visit Aspen is December through March.
Winter may not be your favorite time of year, but outdoor activities and attractions are beginning to open for the busy season. This time of year can be crowded, but if you plan your vacation ahead of time, you can find great deals on flights and hotels.
But regardless of which time you choose to visit, you’re sure to be greeted with fresh air, friendly locals, and enough outdoor activities to warrant a return trip. So what are you waiting for — book your trip to Aspen today!