Tackle spectacular high mountain passes by road and on foot, on this luxury adventure from Aspen to Crested Butte.
Independence Pass to Aspen
While a flight will drop you directly into Aspen, sometimes the journey is just as important as the destination. The spectacular Independence Pass is the highest paved route in the state and this jaw-droppingly beautiful drive, which passes Twin Lakes before climbing through the idyllic Lake Creek Valley to the Continental Divide, is a road trip to remember.
High Culture & Adventure Perfectly Blended in Aspen
Days 2 & 3
“I came for the winter, and stayed for the summer” is a phrase you’ll hear a lot in Aspen and it’s easy to see why. With natural beauty, culture, and character in excess, Aspen has it all. It’s reputation as a playground for the rich and famous is not unfounded but these well-heeled residents do not define its character, with rafting guides often indistinguishable from global CEOs on the barstool next to you.
Acclimatize to the altitude this morning with a gentle downhill biking trip through the spectacular Maroon Bells Wilderness. You’ll have plenty of energy to soak up the scenery as you make your way the twelve miles down Maroon Valley back to the Little Nell for a late lunch on the terrace at Ajax Tavern. Later that afternoon, armed with a gourmet picnic, make your way to the lawn in front of the Benedict Music Tent to enjoy the world class classical music that fills Aspen in the summer.
The next morning, you’ll leave the Little Nell with a private guide for a fly-fishing trip on either the Roaring Fork or Frying Pan, both Gold Medal trout streams that run through stunning country. If you’re in the mood for something a little more adrenaline fueled, leave your fly rod behind and tackle the class III rapids as you raft the Upper Roaring Fork.
Hiking from Aspen to Crested Butte
It is a circuitous one hundred and ten mile drive through the Elk Mountains from Aspen to Crested Butte but, if you don’t mind a little physical exertion, it’s also an epic ten mile hike through some of the most spectacular scenery in Colorado. You’ll be accompanied by a private guide as you pass through evergreen forests, wildflower-strewn meadows, and ultimately Alpine tundra, as you make your way up and over the West Maroon Pass before descending into Crested Butte. At the trailhead, you’ll be met by a driver for the short journey to the secluded Taylor River Lodge, where a revitalizing pool and hot tub await your weary bones!
N.B. If hiking sounds a little too much like hard work, the same route can be covered on horseback.
Camp Two Established at Taylor River Lodge
Day 5 & 6
Today you’ll get kitted out at the lodge before experiencing some of the world class fly fishing that is on the lodge’s doorstep.
For beginners, start your day with your guide on the lodge’s stocked pond before moving on to the pretty Taylor River that runs through the property. Here you’ll be wade fishing or alternatively, head further afield to the Gunnison River for a float trip.
Relax back at the lodge in the afternoon with a trip to the bathhouse (complete with retracting wall) and spa or enjoy a family climbing lesson on the rock wall across the river from the lodge.
The following morning, you’ll meet your guides and be transported to a trailhead for a mountain biking adventure. Some say that the mountain bike was invented in Crested Butte but regardless of whether this is true, Crested Butte is undoubtedly one of the mountain biking capitals of the world with thousands of miles of trail to suit all levels.
End your day in the charming historic town of Crested Butte itself, known to some as the ‘last great ski town’.
Onwards by Road or Return to Aspen by Helicopter
After breakfast at the lodge, you’ll have several options for your onward journey. A private vehicle can transport you back to Aspen via the spectacular Kebler Pass or finish on a high with a scenic helicopter flight back across the mountains to Aspen. Private vehicles can also be shuttled from Crested Butte to Aspen, allowing you to continue your journey from Crested Butte.