Article by Brittany Anas – Forbes Travel Contributor
Situated close to the much more famous and heavily touristed Aspen, Colorado, Snowmass has all the charm of a small town – located at the base of the mountains.
Blanketed in snow, Colorado’s mountain towns are obvious vacation destinations in the winter. But locals know just how glorious summertime escapes to the mountains can be: The air is crisp and ample outdoor adventures fill up weekend itineraries.
Snowmass, which sits in a valley cradled by mountains, is one of those mountain towns that excels in the summer months, especially for intrepid types seeking a rugged-but-luxe, immerse-yourself-in-nature experience.
Less than 200 miles west of Denver, Snowmass is a basecamp for those who want to hike Maroon Bells (the twin peaks reflecting into a lake is so iconic, it’d be a solid contender for the official postcard of Colorado if such a thing existed). But Snowmass, and the greater Roaring Fork River area, is also a bonafide destination for mountain bikers. The valley (which is home to Aspen and Snowmass) is a designated IMBA Gold-Level Ride Center, one of only seven in the world and the only in Colorado.
Plus, colorful hot air balloons that freckle the skies during a late-summer festival, an alpine coaster that glides through a mile of mountain terrain, and a calendar packed with fun events in the square that anchors Snowmass Village all make summer an ideal time to visit.
Where to Eat
Start the day off at the Crêpe Shack, by Mawa’s Kitchen. (It re-opens for the summer season in mid-June). Mawa McQueen, who was born in Africa’s Ivory Coast and raised in Paris, puts her own spin on crêpes. The menu is divided into savory and sweet, so you could get a sandwich substitute here (think: a veggie crepe stuffed with avocado, spinach, basil pesto and mozzarella) or go for a sweet treat with one of the dessert-inspired crêpes, like a s’mores one made with Ghirardelli chocolate chips, graham crackers, and torched marshmallow.