Skip to main content

All the Best Stuff to Do in the Colorado Rocky Mountains this Summer

Photo by Peter Pryharski on Unsplash

It doesn’t get much better than that last, sun-soaked, springtime ski run high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Or does it?

You might be shocked to learn how the locals of Vail and Aspen feel about the winter wind down. Even die-hard cold weather sports fanatics, originally lured to the area by the stellar skiing and snowboarding conditions, are stoked for the arrival of warmer temps. And shockingly, it isn’t all about getting rid of the tourists. In fact, it’s the opposite. Extreme athletes, music lovers, and foodies will all find something to love in the lush Rocky Mountains. For one, it never gets oppressively hot. So when the skiers and shredders replace their winter gear with mountain bikes, hiking boots, and kayaks the weather is just right. So if you enjoy the crisp, mountain air, why not get after it like a Colorado Rocky Mountain local this summer?

Mountain Biking

Leadville Race Series/Facebook

The stellar mountain biking scene attracts tons of tourists, but is also a favorite among the locals. Pumping up the mountain can be just as scenic as riding down when on a mountain bike. “Someone once said that you have to train extremely hard to be ordinary in this town. In a community full of active people, training for a race and playing in the great outdoors is what you do,” says Nicole Martin from Manor Vail Lodge, A Destination Hotel.

Think you’re in shape? Test your fitness prowess and start training for next year’s Leadville Trail 100 MTB Bike Race. It’s the ultimate bike challenge that will push your body and mind to the limit with a total elevation gain of 11,000 feet with a time limit to finish of under 12 hours. “If you make it, you can earn the famous belt buckle. The faster you finish, the bigger the buckle. However, it is not just about the prize. It’s about the opportunity to participate in this one-of-a-kind mountain bike race set in the highest town in Colorado. It is also quite incredible what the human body can do, and the Leadville 100 teaches you that.”

GoPro Mountain Games

GoPro Mountain Games/Facebook

The GoPro Mountain Games will take place in Vail, June 7-10. Boasting “the largest celebration of adventure sports, music and mountain lifestyle.” Don’t miss the coming together of seasoned pros and hardcore amateur athletes as they converge to compete in all kinds of outdoor disciplines like road cycling, extreme kayaking, mud and road running, World Cup Climbing, and the Ultimate Mountain Challenge. But if you don’t film it did it really happen? Extreme creative and budding Ansel Adams types can compete in the mountain photography competition, adventure film school, and the film festival.

Music in the Mountains

Fine music lovers will enjoy the sweet sounds of Bravo! Vail. This year the international music festival will be hosting Academy of St. Marten in the Fields, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. Expect the great classics, jazz, and pop tunes from the most exceptional musicians as they make their summer home in the Vail Valley. Enjoy this trifecta of talent all season by checking into Manor Vail Lodge, A Destination Hotel located right at the base of the mountain.

Shopping

Kemo Sabe

Hit the dusty trail in style. You can’t beat the shopping in Aspen and that doesn’t change when the snow melts.  Along with the designer duds of Gucci, Moncler, and Aviator Nation, you’ll find the friendly staff at Kemo Sabe. Saddle up and trade in your ski boots for a pair of exquisitely crafted Cowboy kicks, fashionable western apparel, and authentic belt buckles. Giddy up!

Hiking

Aspen Snow Mass

Speaking of trails, the summer is for hiking. Challenge yourself by heading up the Ute Trail to the top of Aspen Mountain. At the top, you’ll enjoy dazzling views of the Elk Range while enjoying a refreshing beer at The Sundek. Kick back and relax. The trip down is much easier when you take the free gondola ride back down into Aspen.

Take a Dip

Aspen Fly Fishing

Whether you’re on a guided fly fishing tour, cooling off in the Grottos at Independence Pass or paddle boarding the North Star Preserve you’ll want to enjoy your time on the water responsibly. Start by checking into the cozy and nature loving Gant Aspen, A Destination Hotel. “Partnering with Leave No Trace not only gives us the opportunity to support local sustainability projects right in our own backyard, but it also allows us to educate our guests on how to enjoy all the outdoor activities Aspen has to offer responsibly,” says the Gant Aspen’s Lou Eppelsheimer.

The Arts

Wikimedia Commons

The Rocky’s aren’t all about the sporting life, but the mountains always take center stage. Pioneering culture lovers can enjoy a coffee at SO Café on top of the Aspen Art Museum. Designed by famed architect, Shigeru Ban, this building is as much a work of art as the installations it houses. Ban explains, “In any design, I always strive for a unified relationship between the structure and its surroundings. The design for the new AAM is a very exciting opportunity to create a harmony between Aspen’s existing architecture and the surrounding beauty of the natural landscape.” And indeed the space allows you to take in breathtaking views of Aspen Mountain followed by free entrance to the exhibits in the museum.

Decompress in Nature

John Denver Sanctuary/Aspen Recreation

If sunshine on your shoulders makes you happy, enjoy a book from The Gant’s Little Free Library and read it at the John Denver Sanctuary. Erected in 1998 after the death of the acclaimed songwriter and beloved Aspen resident, this nature sanctuary celebrates Denver’s life as well as his passion for the environment. Now according to the Aspen Chamber of Commerce, this memorial consisting of hundreds of boulders, native plant life, rivers and streams “serves to continuously clean the community’s storm runoff”.

And while you’re in Colorado, you might as well hit up the Colorado Spirits Trail. It’s a can’t-miss drinking doozy.

Editors' Recommendations

Jennifer Ryan Jones
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Jennifer Ryan Jones is a fashion and grooming expert who contributed regularly to The Manual and AskMen.com. Her past…
The best hotels in Hawaii: Where to book your next stay so you can feel like a local
Going to Hawaii? There are many hotel options on the island chain but these are the best of the bunch
Diamond head in Honolulu.

When you go to Hawaii, you're going to want to stay for a while. That's simply what snorkeling, surfing, eating poke, sipping shave ice, and hiking through glorious National Parks will do. And in Hawaii, you've got quite a few great options, whether you're doing the city thing in Honolulu or getting away in Lanai.

Part of an extended stay is living like a local. In Hawaii, you can do that while pampering yourself with the extra creature comforts a real vacation warrants. Think of the hotel as your headquarters for an immersive island experience, a place to rest up in between incredible meals, fun excursions, and visits to the archipelago's many wondrous small towns and beaches.

Read more
Best Suitcase Deals: American Tourister, Samsonite From $119
Man pulling his luggage.

Travel can be super-stressful. Between packing, getting the tickets, making sure you're checking in on time, going to the right gate, and also hopefully taking off when you're supposed to, it's a hassle. One of the biggest things we tend to worry about is our luggage, and how it's going to fare with the rough travel and handling of airport personnel, and while we have a list of some of the best carry-on luggage, they can be expensive. To that end, we've collected some of the best cheap suitcase deals out on the market, ones that still offer a ton of protection and peace of mind, but that don't necessarily break the bank.
Best Cheap Suitcase Deals

American Tourister Zoom Turbo 20-inch expandable spinner suitcase -
<strong>$119, was $120</strong>

Read more
These are the best travel shoes (so you don’t waste any space in your luggage)
Every globetrotter needs reliable kicks for exploring In comfort
best travel shoes globe trotting guy lems boulder boot in timber edited recropped

Whether you’re roaming the ancient streets of Istanbul or pub-crawling in Paris, a good pair of shoes may arguably be the most important item a traveler can pack (or wear). On the other hand, these kicks tend to be the bulkiest item in your suitcase. Choosing wisely what to put on your feet can’t be understated. Here are the best travel shoes to consider for your next trip.

One big note here: a few of these companies are low or sold out of stock. All that we can say is that shopping requires patience nowadays. The times be what the times be.

Read more