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Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley

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About Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley

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Aspen, Colorado

Snowy Mountains of Aspen

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Aspen, Colorado

Mountains and Lake near Aspen

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Aspen, Colorado

Winter in Aspen

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The Roaring Fork Valley—and Aspen, its crown jewel—is the quintessential Colorado Rocky Mountain High. A row of the state's famed Fourteeners (peaks over 14,000 feet) guards this valley. There are only two ways in or out: over the precipitous Independence Pass in summer or up the four-lane highway through the booming Roaring Fork Valley, which stretches 40 miles from Glenwood Springs to Aspen.Outside Aspen, Colorado natives regard the city and its mix of longtime locals, newly arrived ski bums, hard-core mountaineers, laser-sculpted millionaires, and tanned celebs with a mixture of bemusement and envy. The "real Aspenites," who came for the snow and stayed for summers, have been squeezed out by seven-digit housing prices. Most have migrated down-valley to the bedroom communities of Basalt and Carbondale. In the words of one refugee, "the Aspen millionaires are making room for the billionaires."The quest for wealth in the valley dates back to the mid-1800s, when the original inhabitants, the Ute people, were supplanted by gold prospectors and silver miners, who came to reap the region's mineral bounty. The demonetization of silver in 1893 brought the quiet years, as the population dwindled and ranching became a way of life. Nearly half a century later the tides turned again as downhill skiing gave new life to Aspen. Today the Roaring Fork Valley weaves together its past and present into a blend of small-town charm and luxurious amenities, all surrounded by the majestic beauty of central Colorado's 2-million-acre White River National Forest.

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Things You Can't Miss

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Ride Skyward on the Silver Queen
Ride Skyward on the Silver Queen

Watch the world pass below as you ride the gondola up 11,212-foot Aspen Mountain. Have a drink at the summit cafe or, in summer, hike a highland trail.

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The One Sight Every Aspen Visitor Must See
The One Sight Every Aspen Visitor Must See

The Maroon Bells may be the most photographed mountains in America. The easy Maroon Lake Scenic Trail leads to wonderful viewpoints of the peaks.

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Alamy

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A Reminder of the Silver Boomtown Era
A Reminder of the Silver Boomtown Era

Catch a concert in the 19th-century Wheeler Opera House or take a tour of the historic building, with its intimate, beautifully renovated auditorium.

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See America's Top 10 Natural Wonders

Enjoy breathtaking photos and descriptions of the most beautiful places in America, including Yellowstone Caldera and Death Valley.

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Drive to the Crest of the Rocky Mountains
Drive to the Crest of the Rocky Mountains

Take Hwy. 82 east to reach Independence Pass on the Continental Divide. The only word for the alpine scenery up here is “spectacular.”

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10 Beautiful Mountains in America

See (or climb!) these majestic mountains in the United States: McKinley, Rainier, Shasta and seven more.

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Relive Aspen’s Colorful Boom-and-Bust Past
Relive Aspen’s Colorful Boom-and-Bust Past

Sign up for the DarkSide tour for ghosts, murder and mayhem. Go underground on a mine tour, and learn about the silver boom in nearby Ashcroft.

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8 Romantic Getaways for Couples

Cozy, intimate and fun vacation spots for you and your valentine.

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Aspen Center for Environmental Studies
Samantha's Pick Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

Take in a Naturalist Night lecture or go on a guided tour on snowshoes. There’s something to do here for the whole family — no matter what the season.

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Gorgeous Hikes Abound
Samantha's Pick Gorgeous Hikes Abound

Go with Maroon Lake Scenic Trail for an easy afternoon, or if you’re looking for a challenge, hike to Cathedral Lake.

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Aspen Restaurants Are Expensive!
Samantha's Pick Aspen Restaurants Are Expensive!

To enjoy high-profile restaurants like Cache Cache and Element 47 at more affordable prices, go early to enjoy a drink and an appetizer at the bar.

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