High elevation destinations, such as Aspen Snowmass, have lower oxygen levels and lower atmospheric pressure, which can occasionally cause altitude sickness. When you travel from sea level, or a lower altitude to a higher altitude, allow time for your body to adjust to the decreased levels and lack of oxygen to prevent altitude sickness.
HYDRATION: Drink Up!
The single biggest thing you can do to prevent altitude sickness is to stay hydrated. At first, what may seem like altitude sickness, may be dehydration, which is caused by the higher rate of water vapor lost from the lungs at higher altitudes.
Even before you leave on your vacation to Aspen Snowmass, start drinking more water than you normally would. Consume up to 3 liters/100 ounces of water a day for several days prior to your trip. Carry a bottle of water with you as you travel and drink from it often throughout the day, especially if you are flying, as high pressure and altitude gained in flying also cause dehydration.
AVOID ALCOHOL & CAFFEINE: Sip Clean!
For the first few days at altitude as your body adjusts, decrease the amount of alcohol and caffeine you would normally consume, as these increase the likelihood of dehydration. One alcoholic drink at altitude has the same effect as two drinks at sea level. Coffee, tea, soda, sugary drinks, and even juice can leach fluids from your body and can cause dehydration. Water is the best hydration fluid there is. Drink water with and between meals.
FOOD & DIGESTION: Eat small, but frequent meals! Your body will be working at maximum to compensate with the lower oxygen, so don’t add more work by eating large meals and hard to digest foods (like fatty red meats and dairy). Eat foods that are high in water content to help maintain your hydration. Fresh fruits and non-starchy vegetables have a high percentage of water and help keep you hydrated at high altitudes.
Easily digested carbohydrates like bread, pasta, quinoa and iron-rich plant-based foods like soy, lentils, spinach and beans work well to combat the effects of altitude adjustment. Many athletes claim that sucking on ginger or peppermint candy reduces nausea due to altitude sickness. Grand Canyon Expeditions Program Manager Nick Colgin explains: “The reason [I] chew hard candy such as ginger chews, is because they help you salivate. It gets really dry at altitude and can lead to high altitude cough or bronchitis. Having hard candies reduces this.”
The Maroon Bells are two of the most photographed mountains in all of North America — and for good reason. Rising more than 14,000 feet above sea level just south of Aspen, Colorado, the twin peaks look as though someone striped them with a white crayon. Aspen trees drape the hillsides while Maroon Lake provides a handy mirror to witness the whole scene in a postcard-perfect reflection. Hiking remains the best way to experience the unparalleled beauty of the area, especially in July when the alpine meadows bloom with a profusion of flowers, or in late September as the Aspen trees turn an amber yellow during fall. Because the area is so wildly popular, vehicular access to Maroon Creek Road in summertime is by shuttle bus only from early June to early October, with some exceptions. Learn more about getting to Maroon Bells.
Q: WHERE IS MAROON BELLS? A: The Maroon Bells is located in the Elk Mountains south of Aspen. The twin peaks are approximately 10 miles from downtown Aspen, 8 miles from the Maroon Bells Basecamp and Aspen Highlands Parking Garage.
Q: CAN YOU DRIVE TO MAROON BELLS? A: All visitors are required to take the shuttle bus from Aspen Highlands between June 9th and October 8th, 2019 between the hours of 8am and 5pm. When buses are not in operation, all vehicles may access the area if the road has been opened for the season.
Maroon Bells Hotline: 970-945-3319
AROUND ASPEN -- Whether it is a long walk before dinner or a brisk climb over lunch break, Aspenites love to take to the abundance of half-day hikes in and around the town. Here are some of the top choices.
AJAX TRAIL (2/5 difficulty)
Length: 1.5 miles one way
Elevation: 400 feet
Trailhead: Near Koch Park
From the base of the mountain near Koch Park, this trail skirts the base of Aspen Mountain and takes in views of the town. This is a superb hike for early evening when it is a little more shaded.
UTE TRAIL (4/5 difficulty)
Distance: 3.1 miles one way
Elevation: 3,192 feet
Trailhead: Off Ute Ave.
Ute Rock Trail, Aspen, Colorado
This trail’s popularity stems from its eagle’s-eye views of downtown Aspen. Ascending the east flank of Aspen Mountain, the path passes iconic Ute Rock and eventually reaches the Sundeck at the summit. Reward yourself with a cold one at the top.
EAST OF ASPEN TRAIL
Length: 6.2 miles roundtrip (numerous shorter segments and access points)
Trailhead: Stillwater Rd. & Hwy. 82 just east of town
This flat trail is unique to the valley, as it winds its way through aspens, willows and riparian habitat along the one of the Roaring Fork River’s only slow-flowing sections.
RIO GRANDE TRAIL
Length: 1 mile one way in town (numerous shorter segments and access points)
Trailhead: Puppy Smith Road & the River
The most popular trail along the Roaring Fork River is the paved Rio Grande Trail, which continues all the way to Glenwood Springs down valley, 42 miles away. Note: this is a popular cycling path as well.
SMUGGLER MOUNTAIN OVERLOOK
Length: 2.8 miles roundtrip
Elevation: 800 feet
Trailhead: Off Smuggler Mountain Road
This short and steep hike along the dirty Smuggler Mountain Road leads to an expansive overlook of downtown Aspen and Aspen Mountain.
ASPEN MUNICIPAL GOLF COURSE
Public / 18 holes
1 mile from Aspen
RIVER VALLEY RANCH GOLF CLUB
Public /18 holes
25 miles from Aspen
RANCH AT ROARING FORK
Public / 9 holes (par 3)
20 miles from Aspen
Eat your way through Aspen and check out some of the great restaurant options here!
Ajax Tavern 970-920-6334 675 E. Durant Ave. Located at the base of Aspen Mountain, Ajax Tavern comes to life at lunch and sizzles into the night year round.
Aspen Tap (970) 710-2461 121 S. Galena St.
Bad Harriet 970.429.7665 310 E. Main. Craft cocktails and small plates in an ultra-relaxed and casual setting.
Big Wrap (970) 544-1700 520 E. Durant Ave. Gourmet Wraps, Salads, Tacos, Breakfast Burritos, Daily Specials, Fresh Vegan Soups, Smoothies
CP Burger (970) 925-3056 433 East Durant Avenue. Aspen-style fast food—high-quality burgers, truffle fries, tuna & falafel burgers. Lulu Wilson's famous Kale Salad, soft-serve and spiked shakes. Winter ice-skating, summer mini-golf. Outdoor seating year-round.
Creperie du Village (970) 925-1566 400 E. Hopkins Av. The Creperie serves sweet & savory crepes, racelete, fondue, salads, charcuterie & cheese boards.
HOOCH (970) 710-7275 301 E. Hopkins Ave. Come enjoy friendly staff, inventive drinks, and delicious food. Located in the basement next to Meat & Cheese the vibe is Colorado speakeasy.
Meat & Cheese (970) 710-7120 317 E. Hopkins Ave. This new hot spot is a European-style restaurant Aspen Restaurant and Farm Shop featuring world farmhouse cuisine, craft beers, & eclectic wine list.
Mezzaluna (970) 925-5882 624 E. Cooper Ave. A lively Aspen Restaurant "Mezzaluna Aspen - an Aspen tradition since 1987, serving modern Italian cuisine, including wood-fired pizzas.
Mr. Grey (970) 925-1797 305 S. Mill St. A new Summer pop-up, Mr. Grey is an addictive marriage between a classic seafood shack and hip full service dining experience.
New York Pizza (970) 920-3088 409 E Hyman Ave. Aspen's most infamous pizza restaurant, New York Pizza is a quick lunch or the late night....This is the #1 late night bite spot in Aspen, located right in the core.
Red Onion (970) 925-9955 420 E Cooper Ave. Aspen's original local gathering spot has put together a menu to regain that claim. Beer pitches are a popular choice here.