There aren’t a lot of places where this can happen, but it’s possible when you live in Crested Butte and have a meeting or event to attend in Aspen (or vice versa), which happened last month when I was one of six journalists from around the U.S. taking part in a media trip. A hike over West Maroon Pass on an 11-mile trail takes less that six hours at a good clip, not counting time getting to and from trailheads via car or bus. This hike isn’t for everyone as it climbs up to 12,600 feet in elevation, but groups could hire a guide for those in decent shape to make it happen.
My backpack was definitely a bit heavier than usual with clothes and other necessities for five days that normally wouldn’t be needed. Next time, I’ll be more organized and ship a package to my accommodations, this time the beautiful St. Regis Aspen. This is one of my favorite Colorado hikes, as the wildflowers and scenery are always exceptional.
My hiking companions and I arrived in Aspen to see the downtown finish of Stage 2 of the fifth annual USA Pro Challenge, a professional bike race. The outdoor expo and free samples of food and drink were perfect for four hungry and thirsty hikers. Dinner on the patio of Trecento Quindici Decano at St. Regis was a treat that night, as was watching the Stage 3 start from the Lexus VIP tent, which provided a front-row view of the racers and Justin Todd from the St. Regis serving as the official starter.
Actress Hilary Swank sat only a few tables over when we dined at Chefs Club by FOOD & WINE located at the hotel, a restaurant I’ve wanted to try since it opened. Plus, we experienced what a Midnight Supper - a St. Regis tradition - might be like with a gourmet dinner for our group in the Presidential Suite (but at 7 p.m. not midnight!). Another fun dining experience was a horseback ride in Old Snowmass and dinner and campfire at a private ranch, a combination offered by Snowmass Creek Outfitters.
I head over to Aspen fairly regularly, but new experiences filled my itinerary such as fly fishing on the Roaring Fork River (my first time in waders!) with Aspen Outfitting and having great success, filling some free time riding a cruiser bike through Aspen’s WeCycle program and test driving Lexus automobiles through partnership between the St. Regis. Hotel guests enjoyed watching a wedding and reception taking place in the St. Regis’s spacious courtyard, which is complimented by Aspen’s largest ballroom and other attractive meeting spaces on the property’s lower level.
If you know of any other great hikes that connect two classic Colorado destinations, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hiking might just become the new meeting transportation!