Colorado

8 Colorado Resorts: Year-Round Escapes From Aspen to Vail and More

Denver local Becca Blond takes you through the top eight Colorado resorts for family, romantic, or solo adventures no matter the season.

The wheels of my Trek mountain bike are spinning fast and my hands are clenching the handlebars too tight as I shift into a higher gear and negotiate a hairpin turn that takes me into a sun-dappled glade of Aspen trees. My heart is racing at this point, adrenaline coursing through my veins, as I continue to hurtle down the front of Snowmass Mountain towards the village base.

It’s both terrifying and fantastically exhilarating.

Downhill mountain biking is just one of a number of adventure sports available throughout the summer when Colorado resorts shed their winter snow and welcome a different kind of traveler. You can also hit the alpine slides and coasters, fly through the sky on a zip line, or try a challenging ropes course.

No matter the season when you’re visiting, you can get your fix of an adrenaline rush at these eight Colorado resorts.

Aspen and Snowmass Resorts

Separated by about 20 minutes drive, Aspen and Snowmass resorts are owned by the same company so you can ski both on the same lift ticket in winter. The town of Aspen has existed since the 1800s and is known for its celebrity scene as well as luxe shopping, dining and skiing at the adjacent Aspen Mountain.

Snowmass Village was constructed around the ski mountain itself and does not have the same historic ambiance as Aspen. But it does host a slew of restaurants, bars, and slope-side lodging.

To play on the mountain in summer, you’ll want to head to the Elk Camp Gondola at Snowmass as this is where most of the resort activities take place. Here you’ll find the recently completed Lost Forest, where you can ride an alpine coaster, fly along zip lines or try out one of the rope challenges. The Snowmass Bike Park is also here and boasts 2,897 vertical feet of downhill biking trails. Although there are definitely some gnarly steep runs you won’t want to do without experience, there’s also plenty of beginner terrain for families or first-time riders.

Where to Stay in Snowmass and Aspen

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With easy access to the Elk Camp Gondola, the swanky (and very dog-friendly) Viceroy Snowmass is a favorite luxury village stay. Beyond the five-star service and spacious studio and suites—guests love the two bedroom corner suites, which have large balconies fronting the ski slopes and lots of windows so you’ll never miss a sunrise or sunset across the mountains. The Viceroy also partners with Aspen Cycling Tours for guided biking day trips around the surrounding Roaring Fork Valley.

Viceroy Snowmass

Top rated
9.1 Excellent (880 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.5 / 10
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Aspen For Adventurers

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In Aspen, one of the most popular hotels for adventure types (I’ve spotted more than a few professional snow riders staying here over the years) is the Limelight Aspen.

The four-star hotel has a fun loving vibe, playful color palette in rooms that feature extra comfy beds and does a fabulous free breakfast spread come morning. The onsite restaurant does excellent wood oven pizzas and serves reasonably priced beers on draft that become even more affordable at happy hour. Oh, and if you’re traveling with a pup, the Limelight also loves its doggy guests.

Limelight Hotel

Top rated
Aspen, 0.1 miles to Paepcke Park
9.3 Excellent (1496 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.6 / 10
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Posh Aspen

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Also in Aspen, right at the base of Aspen Mountain, is the very posh, five-star Little Nell. The hotel exudes modern elegance throughout its rooms and suites and the service here is top notch. The Nell also offers a number of summer activities through its Adventure Center that range from stargazing tours to fly fishing to a cycle and farm dinner excursion.

The Little Nell

Top rated
Aspen, 0.4 miles to Paepcke Park
9.2 Excellent (221 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.5 / 10
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Vail and Beaver Creek

Like Aspen and Snowmass, Vail and Beaver Creek are partner resorts that are easy to access from each other. Located just off I-70 about 2-1/2 hours drive from Denver, Vail offers a similar range of on-mountain activities as Snowmass through its Epic Discovery Center. You can pick up an Adventure Pass for unlimited, all-day access to everything in the park, which includes zip-lines, a mountain roller coaster, tubing hills, a climbing wall and bungee trampoline among other options, all spread across Vail’s multiple peaks. The program is especially popular with families.

Vail’s Eagle Bahn and Gondola One gondolas also run in the summertime, and from the top, there’s access to hiking and biking trails for all levels. If you’re traveling with a pup, however, note that unlike Aspen Snowmass, dogs are not allowed to ride up gondolas in Vail (although they can come down the mountain if you hike up).

Where to Stay in Vail

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For lodging in Vail, check out the Sonnenalp Vail in the heart of Vail Village. The Bavarian-style boutique property offers luxury digs in a variety of sizes—families will like the loft suites or condos with full kitchens—and you can grab a bite at one of four onsite restaurants (the fondue at the Swiss Chalet is delicious).

While you’re there, indulge in a treatment in the spa complex that also features indoor and heated outdoor swimming pools, a yoga and pilates studio and a top-of-the-line gym. Whatever you do, don’t skip a soak in one of the whirlpools with views of Gore Creek.

Sonnenalp Hotel

Top rated
9.3 Excellent (957 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.6 / 10
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Where to Stay in Beaver Creek

The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa is another excellent summer sleeping option. The resort sits at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain and overlooks Beaver Creek’s golf courses, which are a top summer draw. The mountain also offers opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, and 4×4 tours. The Park Hyatt offers elegant rooms and suites, many with fireplaces done up in modern mountain style with extra comfortable beds draped in high-end, crisp, hotel white linens.

At the onsite Allegria Spa, try one of the signature treatments like the Colorado Wild Rose Cure. The treatment includes a warm rose compress, a wildflower body scrub, a lavender essential oil, and flower petal bath and a full body massage.​

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa

8.2 Very good (29 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.2 / 10
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Telluride

Remote Telluride is pure joy in the summer. Tucked away in a stunningly beautiful and isolated box canyon in southwest Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, the Wild West town dates back to the 1880s silver mining boom days. In winter it offers world-class skiing, but in summer, you’ll find fields of wildflowers to bike and hike through, blue ribbon streams to cast a fly fishing rod and lakes for SUP. There are also opportunities to ride horses through the mountains or raft kid-friendly Class II and III rapids on the San Miguel River.

The town is home to an impressive line up of festivals. Its most famous is June’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival, now in its 46th year. Other June festivals include the Telluride Wine Festival and Telluride Yoga Festival; while July sees the Telluride Americana Music Festival and the dog-focused Bow Wow Film Festival.

Where to Stay in Telluride

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When it comes to lodging in this rustic-luxe resort town, a few properties stand out. The Hotel Madeline is at the base of the ski resort and offers chic Mountain Village accommodations. In summer this means the hiking trails start right from your door. The property offers a range of rooms and suites that are elegant, contemporary, and ultra comfortable. They also accommodate kids and dogs with equal zeal.

Madeline Hotel and Residences

Top rated
9.1 Excellent (576 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.2 / 10
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Telluride Town Center

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Another lodging option in town is the Hotel Telluride. Located in the town center, rather than the ski resort, it’s especially appealing in summer when the town is buzzing. The boutique property models itself after a European ski chalet and features a mix of rooms and suites. They also do all-inclusive packages if you’d rather not worry about base spending on the road.

The Hotel Telluride

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (1428 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
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Breckenridge

One of the closest ski resorts to Denver, Breckenridge is absolutely lovely in summer. It’s an authentic Wild West town—its history dates back to the 1860s gold rush—and a ski resort with year-round activities. For an adrenaline rush, head up to Epic Discovery at Breckenridge Ski Resort. (The on-mountain offerings for summer are very similar to the ones offered in Vail.)

If you’d rather just spend an afternoon strolling and shopping, then head to Main Street in the town, which sits at a lofty 9,900 feet elevation at its base. Here you’ll find multiple blocks of shops selling everything from active wear to children’s toys and oxygen and dozens of restaurants (Downstairs at Eric’s is a favorite for pub grub including excellent hot sandwiches and pizza) and old school bars like the Gold Pan Saloon, in operation since 1879.

For something different, check out the Breckenridge Creative Arts District in the center of town. One of the most unique activities offered here is a glass blowing workshop where you can create your own pendant.

Where to Stay in Breckenridge

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Main Street Station Breckenridge is a top lodging choice. The condo-style accommodation at the base of Peak 9 is more affordable than other resorts mentioned in this article (especially in summer) and caters to families and groups with a choice of studio to four-bedroom professionally decorated condos. Each is slightly different, but all feel mountain luxe and very spacious.

Main Street Station

8.8 Excellent (1974 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.1 / 10
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