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Aspen in Spring | T + L Family

PRACTICE ASANAS TOGETHER The classes fill up at 02 Aspen (500 W. Main St.; 970/925-4002; www.02aspen.com), a pretty honeysuckle-yellow yoga studio with massage, pedicure, and waxing rooms upstairs and a selection of the ultimate yoga gear downstairs.Although there are no kids' classes, private family sessions are available.

FEED YOUR BRAIN There are plenty of workshops, art shows, and lectures worth dragging your kids to. Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (100 Puppy Smith St.; 970/925-5756; www.aspennature.org), or ACES, three blocks from Main Street at the Hallam Lake Nature Preserve, has eagle demonstrations, sunset beaver walks, and whole weeks devoted to subjects such as map-reading or the nighttime adventures of owls. You can explore the woods and ponds on narrow paths with great views of Aspen Mountain. While wandering around ACES we've seen a family of bears and a goose egg that was lying on the trail like a small ecru football. In Snowmass, the Anderson Ranch Arts Center (5263 Owl Creek Rd.; 970/923-3181; www.andersonranch.org) is a compound of wooden buildings that look like Modernist miners' cabins. Parents and kids, together and separately, can sign up for workshops on everything from beadwork to digital photography. The big-name international artists in residence give free presentations of their work every Tuesday and Sunday night in the summer. If you really want to boost your family's I.Q., go to a talk at the Aspen Center for Physics (1000 N. 3rd St.; 970/925-2585; www.aspenphy.org), an offshoot of the famous Aspen Institute. During the weekly summer lecture series, speakers discuss topics like the earth's radiation belt and whether there's life on Mars.

How to Get Here

FLY In the summer, you have to go through Denver and take the small, bumpy half-hour shuttle ride on United Express. The pilots are friendly daredevils and it's a lot of scary fun to swoop over the mountaintops. It definitely puts you into an adventurous, come-what-may state of mind.

DRIVE The 220-mile, four-hour road trip from Denver is dizzying at times, but it's also seriously picturesque. There are two routes, both spectacular. The Independence Pass road, open only in summer, is more remote. It takes you through Leadville (which looks like a movie set for a Western town), then over Independence Pass, which, at the summit, is wintry year-round. After a midsummer snowball fight, you start the winding descent into Aspen. Along the way, watch for the abandoned mining town of Independence, rock climbers picking their way up roadside cliffs, forests full of aspen trees; and a large, pristine log cabin on an enormous lake to your left. That's Kevin Costner's place. You're getting close.

The other route brings you down Interstate 70, west past Vail and into Glenwood Canyon, which is like a miniature Grand Canyon. Big red-rock walls flank the road, and the gray-green Colorado River travels alongside you like another passenger. When you come out, you see the hot springs pool of Glenwood Springs, where you can stop to steep or swim (there's a variety of temperatures) and also ride the looping waterslide. After that, you turn onto Route 82: the jagged, enormous peak in front of you is Mount Sopris, which has its own climate on top—all wind and snow and mystery. Now you know why awesome is such a popular word around here.

Lois Smith Brady writes regularly for the New York Times Styles section.


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