With four mountains for skiing, a full slate of annual festivals, and the ever-present possibility of spotting some celebs enjoying their après-ski, Aspen offers an elegant version of the Rocky Mountain High. And while prices can be loftier in Aspen than in other Colorado resort towns, you have excellent access to gorgeous hotels, top-notch dining and, come summer, great hiking, biking and horseback riding trails. In fact, coming here during the off-season, when prices dip nicely, offers one of the best values in the Rockies. Read on in this Aspen travel guide to plan your trip here:

Things Not to Miss in Aspen

• Skiing one of the slopes: Buttermilk if you’re a beginner, and Snowmass or Aspen if you want more of a challenge
 • Going to one of the town’s great festivals, such as summer’s Aspen Music Festival and the Aspen Ideas Festival
 • Browsing the Aspen Saturday Market, from June through October
 • Hiking the “Grottoes,” the caves on Independence Pass, along the Roaring Fork River
 • If you’re feeling bold, check out nearby Conundrum Hot Springs, known for clothing-optional swimmers

When to Go to Aspen

The prime times for Aspen travel, in terms of crowds and prices, are in ski season—mainly from December to March—and then in the summer during the festival season. The payoff if you visit Aspen in the summer, though, is getting to experience the mountain bliss with temperatures are in the high 70s. If you want to go rafting, you’ll get the best snowmelt-fueled rapids in June. For the best deals, travel to Aspen in September, when prices are the lowest, the crowds thin and the foliage pops with color. Aspen travel during the summer is wonderful as well. It isn’t too hot. The beautiful leaves in the fall make people want to visit Aspen.

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