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"IT'S NOT THE DESTINATION, BUT THE JOURNEY."

Never has that been more true than when you're exploring the landscapes surrounding the Aspen Valley in an Aspen Jeeps luxury adventure rental. 

Cruise the local streets in the winter months in style.

In the summer and fall seasons, the below routes make for some perfect Colorado Jeep days. 

 

Pop off the roof, roll down the windows, turn up those tunes, and breathe in that fresh mountain air as you explore all that the Aspen area has to offer. 

Get in touch. We are happy to help you plan your perfect adventure.

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ASPEN MOUNTAIN

2-3 hours

Summer Rd. usually opens mid-June.

Crisscross under chairlifts and head right up the face road of Aspen Mountain. Make it a quick trip and drop down the backside via Midnight Mine or Little Annie Rd.. If you have more time, cruise the top of the mountain via Richmond Ridge to Taylor Pass for hours of fun. 

Grub: The Sundeck at the top of the mtn is open for lunch on select summer dates, and even has live bluegrass on some Sundays. More info here.

 

Or, once on Castle Creek Rd., head out to Pine Creek Cookhouse: we LOVE this place!

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INDEPENDENCE PASS

2 hours, or fill a day with the loop.

Road usually open Memorial Day - late Oct.

Route to the Top (with off-road add-on).

Entire Loop Route Linked Here.

The drive up Independence Pass is a breathtakingly beautiful paved route with narrow and thrilling sections. Drive to the top and back down for an iconic "intro to Aspen" kind of day. 

Access an easy dirt road for a 5-11 mile adventure via Lincoln Creek to Grizzly Reservoir & Ruby.

There are also various spots to get out and enjoy a hike (The Grottos or Weller Trail) along the way.

Turn around at the top of Indy Pass, or keep on keepin' on. Twin Lakes is 18 miles from the top down the other side. 

For a FULL DAY of fun, keep going! Take the pavement from Twin Lakes to Leadville's main street for lunch, then venture back onto dirt to check out Turquoise Lake. Hagerman Pass leads you back to pavement towards Ruedi Reservoir, and then you'll follow the Frying Pan River all the way to main street in Basalt. Another 30 minutes on HWY takes you back to Aspen.  

 

Woaw baby, that's a day. 

Grub: Order a picnic or eat in Aspen.

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TAYLOR PASS

6ish Hours.

Usually accessible late June / early July. 

 

Fill your day with dirt and connect the front side of Aspen Mountain to the ghost town of Ashcroft via Richmond Ridge, Taylor Pass, Express Creek, and back home via Castle Creek. You'll get a little of everything on this versatile route: criss cross under chair lifts, drive through pine forests, visit an alpine lake, see 360 degree mountain vistas, experience summit exposure, navigate rocky inclines and traverse a short section of mountainside narrows for ultimate thrill-seeking.

Grub: Order a picnic or make a reservation at Pine Creek Cookhouse for the ultimate end to a day. 

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SNOWMASS / THE DIVIDE

1-2 Hour Loop. Route Linked Here.

Divide Road usually opens mid-May.

 

Check out Snowmass Village and make your way back to HWY 82 via some sections of dirt through Old Snowmass. You'll start in the shadow of majestic Mt. Daly and pass sprawling country estates on the way. This route leads to Hwy 82, so it's a great "back way" addition to get to some of the other destinations on the list. A stop out at the St. Benedict's Monastery for a prayer is peaceful and serene. On your way back to Aspen, be sure to take McClain Flats road to town instead of the HWY for a welcome change of scenery.

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CRYSTAL MILL

6 - 10 hour day. Route linked here.

Marble accessible year-round. 

Road to Crystal usually opens mid-May.

From Aspen, it's about 90 minutes of pavement to get to Marble, and the drive gets more and more beautiful as it goes along. Once on 133, the road will soon follow the stunning Crystal River. Depending on time of year, you'll even pass a few roadside waterfalls on the way. Take the turn-off to Marble, pass Beaver Lake, and access the dirt route to the historic Crystal Mill & town of Crystal.

 

For the more experienced Jeepers, Lead King Loop is an additional option.

*Schofield Pass not allowed in our Jeeps. 

 

A quick stop at Redstone's Coke Ovens on the way is educational, and if you're in the mood for a soak in a natural hot springs with a view, bring a suit and $28 pp, and plan to stop at Avalanche Ranch on the way home. 

Grub: Slow Groovin' in Marble is a fan favorite!

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CASTLE CREEK

1 Hour to All Day Adventure. Route linked here.

Road to Ashcroft open year round.

Road past Ashcroft opens in May.

This paved drive from Aspen up Castle Creek Rd. follows the river and is a stunning drive in itself. As a bonus, this road also provides access to many of our favorite Aspen area things to do: 

Check out the old "town" of Ashcroft, loaded with local history.

Park at the American Lake or Cathedral Lake trailhead and head out for a day hike dreams are made of. 

Access Taylor Pass and Aspen Mountain via Express Creek Road, Little Annie Road, or Midnight Mine Road. 

Access Pearl Pass and Montezuma Basin. 

 

Grub: Highly recommend Pine Creek Cookhouse, for a delish and memorable meal in the woods. *may want reservations

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SMUGGLER

3 Hours. Route linked here.

Direct out of Aspen, the dirt road via Smuggler to Warren Lakes is about 10 miles one way. DRIVE SLOW and CAREFULLY as the road is heavily trafficked by hikers and bikers for the first 1.5 miles. After that, smooth sailing (well... not exactly smooth, as it's quite steep and bumpy for a time, but the usage drops dramatically)!

Grub: Order a picnic or eat in Aspen. 

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MAROON BELLS

2+ Hours.*Parking must be reserved in advance.

Road open May 15 - Oct 31

Route Linked Here.

 

The Maroon Bells. An Aspen icon.

You will need to make parking reservations in advance and there are two options for driving & parking: A day pass allows you to park PRIOR to 8AM, at which time the road closes and the only way to the Bells is via shuttle bus / bike. Another option is driving up after 5PM. The evening parking passes can be easier to come by. Parking is $10 and can be reserved via the Aspen Chamber website.

See the sights, look for wildlife, take a stroll around Maroon Lake, and if you're feeling so inclined, hike on up about 2 miles to Crater Lake. 

Grub: Order a picnic or eat in Aspen.

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PEARL PASS & 
MONTEZUMA BASIN

5 - 6 Hours to top of the Pass and back down. 

Road accessible in May. 

There can be snow higher on this route into July. 

Accessed via Castle Creek Rd., this route is for the advanced Jeeper with plenty of experience behind the wheel.

Fact sheet on Montezuma Basin linked here

Fact sheet on Pearl Pass linked here. 

Prior discussion / approval required for this route.

Grub: Order a picnic or Pine Creek Cookhouse

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RUEDI RESERVOIR

3 - 5 Hours. Route Linked Here.

Road open year round.

 

From Basalt, drive the paved road that follows the gold medal Frying Pan River and leads to Ruedi Reservoir and beyond. Turn up those tunes and think "out for a Sunday drive" vibes with this one. May we suggest packing a picnic to enjoy at the lake? Add a Paddle Board onto your rental for another bit of fun. If you don't want to stop at the lake, keep going beyond the Reservoir to dirt roads that access high alpine water, or go even further for Hagerman Pass. 

Grub: Order a picnic or eat in Basalt. 

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HAGERMAN PASS

8ish Hour Loop. Route Linked Here.

Road typically accessible in late June.

Accessed from the East via Independence Pass and Leadville, or from the West beyond Ruedi Reservoir, the dirt Hagerman Pass is fun, stunning passes by high alpine lakes, and creates a loop from Aspen with a lot to see and do along the way!  Read up on Independence Pass & Ruedi Reservoir sections for more info on all that this loop entails. 

Grub: Order a picnic or eat in Leadville or Basalt.

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LENADO

2-4ish Hours. Route linked here.

Year Round. Pavement & Graded Dirt.

Venture from Aspen through Woody Creek. A turn on WC Road 18 will lead you on a 10 mile drive past sprawling acreage and estates to the eclectic and historic area of Lenado & beyond to the gate.

 

July 15: The gates go up and Kobey Park is accessible to vehicles, with graded dirt roads that wind up the mountain. It's an easy drive with gorgeous views. Dispersed camping allowed. 

Grub: Woody Creek Tavern, a quirky and well-loved restaurant and bike destination on your way back. It's worth a stop!

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LINCOLN CREEK

3 Hours. Route Linked Here.

A turn off Indy Pass onto Lincoln Creek Rd. takes you on an easy 6 mile dirt adventure to Grizzly Reservoir. The next 5 miles are a bit more advanced than the first 5, and take you to the ghost town of Ruby. Bring a fishing pole or SUP, pack a picnic, and chill. Or head back out to HWY 82 and to the top of Independence Pass.

 

Dispersed camping allowed.

Grub: Order a picnic or eat in Aspen.

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AND BEYOND

In pursuit of dry ground and sun? 
When it's still a blanket of white in the Aspen Valley, there are grand adventures to be had just beyond. Book an Aspen Jeep to get you there.

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BY DAY
OR NIGHT

You've already put in the miles to get yourself out there. Our camp ready rides will help you keep yourself out there. 
Extend your adventure!
Reserve a rooftop tent / camping equipped vehicle so you don't have to hurry home when the sun goes down. We have plenty of recommendations for where to camp on your own in the wild.