Got high-energy, adventure-loving teens? Consider Snowmass Village in summer. There’s biking, hiking, rafting, rodeos and more at this resort village near Aspen, Colorado. It’s the perfect getaway for active families who love to play in the great outdoors.
Snowmass in Summer: Get Your Kicks at a Colorado Ski Resort Off-Season
Snowmass Village offers year-round family fun. If you have adventurous tweens or teens, this cozy town near Aspen, Colorado offers action-packed outdoor activities that will keep them entertained for days. Here are 10 ways to delight your teens in Snowmass in the summer.
Take a Hike
Nestled in the Brush Creek Valley, Snowmass Village is surrounded by 90 miles of scenic mountain hiking trails that offer endless opportunities to explore the Colorado backcountry on foot. To start, try one of the two-hour Naturalist guided walks that depart from Snowmass Mall. The Nature Trail walk at 10 a.m. and the Ice Age Discovery tour at 1 p.m. will teach you and your teen about the local flora and about fossils that were recently discovered in the area. Each 1.5-mile hike is free and takes about an hour and a half.
If you’d rather strike out on the your own, grab a breakfast burrito and smoothie from Fuel and head to the South Rim Trail for the Yin Yang hike. This hike takes about 45 minutes and offers sweeping views of the town below. In early summer, wildflowers will be abloom and you can spend a gorgeous, cool morning in Snowmass winding up the switchback trail.
Mountain bikes are everywhere in Snowmass in the summer, racing down dusty trails carved into the slopes. You and your teen could give mountain biking a try at the Snowmass Bike Park, or you could opt to take it a little easier by trying some of the local paved trails. I recommend renting a bike from Aspen Sports in Snowmass and heading either to Aspen (where you can return the bike and take a bus back) or to Woody Creek for lunch. The 45-minute ride from Snowmass Village to Woody Creek is entirely downhill on paved trails, so it’s more fun than work and the scenery is spectacular.
Blazing Adventures offers half-day and full-day excursions that depart from the Snowmass Village Mall. Choose from fly-fishing, jeeping, and rafting. On a recent visit, my teen and I went whitewater rafting down the Roaring Fork River. He did the paddling and I took the pictures. We both got drenched in the occasional rapids and had a blast. At the end of the float, there was a delicious barbecue picnic waiting, which was the perfect reward.
Rock Climbing – Indoors and Out
In Snowmass Village, visit the Limelight hotel to try a five-story indoor rock-climbing wall, the largest of its kind in Colorado. Or, take the gondola up from Snowmass Village to the Lost Forest, an on-mountain adventure center operated by Aspen Skiing Company. Here you’ll find a mountaintop alpine coaster, ropes challenge course, and the huge, outdoor Rugged Ascent Climbing Wall. Climb up, rappel down, repeat.
The Breathtaker Alpine Coaster in Lost Forest really flies down the track! You control the hand brakes, but if you don’t use them you will zip down the track at breathtaking (bone rattling) speed. The views from the coaster are stunning and my teen couldn’t get enough of this mountain attraction. Once you’ve purchased a ticket, you can ride it as many times as you’d like.
Ropes Challenge Course
From beginner “green” to the more challenging “double black diamond” courses, the Treeline Trial Challenge Course in the Lost Forest offers several hours of sky-high fun for teens and adults alike. Learn how to navigate elevated obstacles like a pro, one swinging wooden log at a time. When you’re done, fly down the zip line to the ground and head to lunch at the delicious mountaintop restaurant.
There is something happening every summer night in Snowmass Village. On Wednesdays, it’s the rodeo. Dress in your finest cowboy duds and head down the hill for barbecue and roping contests. Sit on the bleachers, or join in the fun. Small kids can participate in Mutton Bustin’, where they try to ride sheep, or the Calf Scramble, where they attempt to grab a ribbon from a running calf’s tail. Older kids will get a kick out of watching Burro Racing and playing Chicken Poop Bingo.
Live Music, Movies, and Nightlife
On Thursday night in the summertime, take the Sky Cab (also called Skittles, thanks to their brightly colored cabs), grab dinner at Venga Venga, and take your blanket to enjoy a free concert series on the mountainside. Summer season in the Snowmass ski areas can’t be beat.
On weekends, check to see which events are happening—there could be a yoga festival, a beer 5K, or a Saturday night movie under the stars. Be sure to include a stop at The Crepe Shack Mawa’s Kitchen in Base Village Plaza for a treat, no matter what time of day. Sweet or savory crepe—you can’t go wrong.
Plan your trip around big events like the Snowmass Balloon Festival to make the most of your visit. When you’ve finished all that Snowmass Base Village and the Village Mall have to offer? Head out to try zip lining, swimming at the Rec center, horseback riding, or take the free bus into Aspen to check out the farmer’s market and festivals there.
Where to Stay in Snowmass Village
If your teen would like a room of their own, I recommend booking a condo at The Crestwood. Here you can enjoy spreading out, with a kitchen, living room, balcony, and multiple bedrooms. The conveniently located Crestwood hosts weekend pool parties with a DJ and offers a complimentary shuttle, which will take you just about any place you’d like to go in town, including the Aspen/Snowmass Airport.
If you’d rather be a little closer to the action, the new Limelight hotel is a fun and family friendly ski resort in Colorado. Here you’ll get a delicious free breakfast, access to a kids’ play area, and two giant outdoor hot tubs. In front of the hotel, there is a large, open lawn full of balls and games, plus a splash pad.
Coming in December 2019, a large gaming complex called The Collective is slated to open next door to the Limelight. Teens can forward to a ball pit in the shape of the Ziegler Reservoir, a neon foosball table, wild murals, a musical wall (where you can play the paint like a piano), and a circular Ping Pong table. The 99 rooms at the Limelight book quickly, so make your reservation early. Book a room for the summer, or the beginning or end of ski season, for the best rates.