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.


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!


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.

Jennifer Ryan Jones
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Jennifer Ryan Jones is a fashion and grooming expert who contributed regularly to The Manual and Her past…
Sun, sand, and surf: These are the best Los Angeles beaches to explore this summer
Turns out the City of Angels has some pretty heavenly beaches. These are the best, locals-approved spots
The Point Vicente Lighthouse on a cliff in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

With the stunning skyscrapers of DTLA, the bright lights of Hollywood, the paparazzi cameras staked out to catch glimpses of celebrities all over town, and so much more to see and do, it’s easy to forget that the Pacific Ocean is one of L.A.’s next-door neighbors. In fact, Los Angeles County boasts about 75 miles of coastline with a wide variety of beaches to please almost anyone.

Thankfully, summer is officially here, and we're ready for sun, sand, and surf! Yet, since LA is such a huge city with so much going on 24/7, it can feel daunting to know which way to go to find your new favorite beach. So which beaches should you visit during your next L.A. trip? Because the City of Angels is so massive, we’ve put together a cheat sheet of the best Los Angeles beaches to make your beach days a little less stressful. From Malibu's glamorous shores to Palos Verdes's hidden gems, here are the best L.A. beaches worth exploring.

Read more
The 10 best states for road trips: Where to go on your epic summer getaway
Need a road trip planner? Here are the best states for road trips
Couple heading out on a road trip

There's something very inviting about hitting the highway for a road trip, even when the price of gas is on the high side. Road trips offer freedom other types of vacations don't. When mapping out a road trip, the itinerary isn't set in stone. There aren't flights or trains to catch, or even a hard check-in time.

Sure, you still need a vague road trip planner with a general idea of the sites you want to see and the timeframe available. What you don't have, though, is a firm schedule with little room for spontaneity. Part of the fun of a road trip is the unexpected nature of it. Spring and summer are earmarked for road trips, but you can plan an amazing vacation on the road any time of the year. All you need is a route planner. To help you on your way, we've got a list of the top 10 states for road trips.

Read more
Make the most of your vacation budget: This is the best time to book a flight
When is the best time to book a flight? Tips and tricks
A view outside the airplane during sunset.

Most people will, at some point in their lives, need to book a flight. Whether for business or pleasure, booking a flight can be straightforward or a little more complicated depending on certain factors.

If a flight is urgent, then the luxury of booking in advance and saving money is often lost, whereas booking a holiday flight months in advance gives you ample room to shop around for the best deals available at that particular point in time. Other factors that affect pricing include the destination, the time of year of travel, and how far in advance you are allowed to book certain flight tickets. If it is limited to a couple of weeks, then you can expect to pay more, but if you are allowed to book months in advance, then this is where the most significant savings can be found.

Read more