If you’re looking for a destination to visit this fall, then consider Aspen, which has strict COVID-19 precautions in place. To the surprise of he locals, Aspen turned out to be a super popular place to visit over the summer for outdoor-lovers, campers and RV travelers during the pandemic. As you walk around the downtown area, mask wearing and social distancing is very comprehensive. Bring your mask on the trails while hiking, as some paths are pretty narrow and you might come close to strangers. Here is my recommendation for a week-long escape in the Aspen, Colorado nature:
Aspen has so many nooks and crannies to explore, and at high elevations! I took the backcountry jeep excursion with Blazing Adventures. The guide takes you on a customized tour of the mountainous area depending on your interests. He will also delve into Aspen’s history and the local area geology, flora, and fauna. We made it to the Lanedo Overlook, which was replete with wildflowers and pine trees, just outside of the town of Lanedo: a ghost town known for its logging and lumber industry.
I got a bunch of hiking in during my 5-day visit. Was a massage necessary after my trip? 1000%! My first hike was a 6-mile roundtrip to the alpine American Lake at an 11,000-foot elevation. Although the hike itself wasn’t intense, the thin air and elevation gave it that extra kick and cardio boost. A tip is to start the hike at 7am or earlier (at that time there were no cars or people on the trail). By the time we looped back around 10/11am, there were dozens.
My second hike took place at the Hunter Creek Loop with a local naturalist from the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES), Jeb Hines. Along the way, he explained a lot about the ecological diversity in the area like the wild roses; service berries; and species of plants that were found on earth hundreds of millions of years ago. He pointed out the beautiful Magpies: birds related to crow while climbing to a high point of 8,800ft. Afterwards, I had a picnic lunch at John Denver Sanctuary, which has one of the largest perennial collections in America.
The Silver Queen Gondola delivers guests to the top of Aspen Mountain at over 11,200 feet for mountaintop yoga, led by a local studio, Aspen Shatki. Have no fear about sharing the tight space with someone else: the gondolas are sterilized between uses and loaded only with family members or people you know. You also have to bring your own yoga mat for further precaution during the pandemic.
I’ve tried CBD in its gummy, flower, and oil form. However, the Intuitive CBD massage at the Hotel Jerome marked the first time I had an official CBD massage. The oil was relaxing and seemed to help to relieve soreness in my shoulders and hamstrings.
Accommodations at The Little Nell
This lovely hotel is planted right in downtown Aspen. The Little Nell’s Element 47 restaurant is the a perfect place to social distance outside and watch the Gondola go up and down (and the brave hikers ascending Aspen Mountain) while having a beer or bite to eat. The property recently won the Wine spectator brand award and has 20,000 bottles of wine to choose from. Worried about COVID-19 while staying in a hotel? The Little Nell has several measures in place to protect people from the pandemic. You can’t ride the elevator with people you don’t know; all staff and guests wear masks around the hotel public spaces; there are abundant hand sanitizer stations and hand sanitizer wipes and mask kit in your room.