Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To Aspen

June 23, 2012 6:00 AM

Just shy of four hours from Denver, drive through the scenic Rockies to one of Colorado’s most stunning hidden gems. Aspen isn’t just for ski bums these days. With stops including Glenwood Springs along the way, this effortless drive takes visitors to the state’s most chic mountain town for amenities that make it hard to leave.

Getting There 
Take I-70 west to exit 116, CO 82 East to drive into Glenwood Springs, or hop the California Zephyr toward Emeryville from Union Station in Denver.

Stop Along the Way

sweet basil Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To Aspen

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Sweet Basil
193 E. Gore Creek Dr., 201
Vail, CO 81657
(970) 476-0125

Sweet Basil promises the perfect early lunch stop in Vail. With fantastic fare for every taste, a riverside location and impeccable service, this ideal location in Vail is also great for a little stroll on the cobblestone pathways. Executive Chef Paul Anders breathes life into tasty menu options such as angus flat iron steak salad and the open-faced ahi tuna sandwich on brioche, complete with grilled pineapple and sweet potato chips. Whether sipping a detox-tini or a classic mojito overlooking the river, nothing beats a rest stop at Sweet Basil.

glenwood caverns amusement park Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To Aspen

Photo Credit: Glenwood Springs Adventure Park/Facebook

Glenwood Springs Adventure Park
51000 Two Rivers Plaza Rd.
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
(800) 530-1635

Price: from $12 for adults/click here for prices and seasonal hours

Before heading south to Aspen from Glenwood Springs, the Glenwood Springs Adventure Park is a wonderful stop to enjoy the Fairy Cave tours, Alpine Coaster, Soaring Eagle Zip ride, or just to take in the views of the valley. This family-friendly adventure park exploration begins with a gondola ride to the top of the mountain. Colorado’s largest show cave is a wonderful tour, cool in the summers and simply fascinating, while the more adventurous vacationer may enjoy the Giant Canyon Swing, launching adrenaline-seeking enthusiasts 1,300 feet over the Colorado River into Glenwood Canyon.

glenwood hot springs Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To Aspen

Photo Credit: Glenwood Springs Hot Springs/Facebook

Glenwood Springs Hot Springs
401 N. River St.
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
(970) 947-2955

Price: from $13.75

Glenwood Springs Hot Springs is a relaxing respite on this Aspen adventure. The Grand Spring, the world’s largest outdoor mineral hot springs pool at 405 feet long and 100 feet wide, is fed by the Yampah Springs. A 104 degree therapy pool is an additional 100 feet long and 40 feet wide. Home to two water slides and a diving board, the mineral-rich waters will be sure to leave you wanting more soaking time.

the little nell Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To Aspen

Photo Credit: The Little Nell/Facebook

Little Nell
675 E. Durant Ave.
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 920-4600

Click here for availability and pricing

For luxury accommodations in Aspen, Little Nell is a perfect option. A pet-friendly five-star, five-Diamond resort property, the amenities are seemingly boundless. From the gourmet offerings at Montagne to the outdoor pool overlooking the slopes, Little Nell is the zenith of Mountain Chic hotels. Beautifully renovated rooms overlooking the mountain and surrounding city afford comfort, location and a true spirit of Aspen.

Related: Aspen

hotel jerome Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To Aspen

Photo Credit: Hotel Jerome/Facebook

Hotel Jerome
330 E. Main St.
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 920-1000

Click here for availability and pricing

A historic hotel choice, Hotel Jerome recently became part of the Auberge Resorts family. Home to the famous J Bar and The Garden Terrace, it brings elegance of years past to modern amenities of today. From the beautiful atrium lobby to the elegant touches in the rooms themselves, guests step back in time in Aspen at Hotel Jerome. Enjoy everything from babysitting and pet accommodations to an outdoor, heated pool and on-mountain ski storage at one of the area’s most luxurious hotels.

gisella aspen Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To Aspen

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415 E. Main St.
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-8222

Across the street from Hotel Jerome, Gisella Restaurant offers elegant Italian cuisine. From menu items such as the fettuccine al salmone with fresh salmon, peas and vodka pink sauce to the gnocchi al ragu di carne with homemade potato dumplings and veal and beef ragu, Gisella is perfect for a special dinner or chatting away at the bar while enjoying a glass of wine and calamari. Familiar face Chef Michel Wahaltere from Denver’s Cucina Colore now leads the culinary team for an unforgettable Aspen dining experience infused with as much passion and gregariousness as the chef himself.

jimmys aspen Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To Aspen

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Jimmy’s Aspen
205 S. Mill St.
Aspen, CO 81611
(970) 925-6020

For a more casual spot with fun nightlife, Jimmy’s is just the ticket. A fun and often crowded atmosphere, everything from Salsa Night to Thai Week grace this legendary spot. Named to Food and Wine’s Top 50 Bars in America, you may even see Jimmy himself at the bar talking up regulars and visitors alike. A neighborhood restaurant and bar, locally priced menu items include everything from comfort food to steaks, but don’t miss out on the creative cocktails here. With a summer rooftop patio, this is the place to see and be seen, or at least thoroughly enjoy a night in Glenwood Springs.

CBS Denver Insider’s Tips

Be prepared for higher prices in Aspen, from food to gas, hotel rooms to souvenirs, the mountain town is known for its high prices. With celebrities and Aspenites alike shopping at the world-renowned stores of Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, bring your nicer wardrobe to this posh destination.

Strolling the streets of Aspen is usually the easiest way around the city. With plenty of maps and information booths, Aspen is easy to navigate. Scenic drives to nearby Snowmass or Carbondale are also great quick trips out of the city, and neighboring Maroon Bells makes for a spectacular photo op, or hike, while in the area.

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Chad Chisholm is an avid globetrotter and brings the best of travel secrets and expert insights to his readership. A Denver-based travel writer and photographer, Chad’s travels have taken him to five of the seven continents in a passionate love affair with the world of travel and the outdoors. His work can be found at