Tips For Visitors: Things to Keep in Mind While in Aspen and The Roaring Fork Valley

View from top of Aspen Mountain of a valley under cloudy skies

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated in Aspen helps combat altitude sickness symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and fatigue, enhancing your overall well-being and ability to enjoy Roaring Fork Valley's natural beauty. In addition, the clean, crisp water in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley, often sourced from the snowmelt of the surrounding Rocky Mountains, is renowned for its purity and taste. It's essential to maintaining your health, promoting proper digestion, and keeping your skin glowing in a high-alpine environment. 

Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness, also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), is a condition that can occur when one ascends to high altitudes too quickly. Typically occurring at heights above 8,000 feet, it's a common issue for climbers, skiers, and travelers visiting high-altitude destinations. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, including headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, nausea, and difficulty sleeping. In extreme cases, it can lead to life-threatening conditions such as High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) or High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).

Prevention is the most effective way to manage altitude sickness. Gradual ascent, proper hydration, and acclimatization days can significantly reduce the risk. Moving to a lower altitude is usually the best treatment for symptoms. Always remember that rapid ascent without proper acclimatization can be hazardous to health, so when planning a high-altitude adventure, slow and steady wins the race.

Intense Weather

Aspen, Colorado, is located high in the Rocky Mountains and lends itself to unpredictable and intense weather changes. One moment, the sky can be a vivid blue, and the next, it can turn stormy with little warning. The sudden shifts in weather can present challenges for both residents and visitors. Hikers, skiers, and outdoor enthusiasts may be in potentially dangerous situations if caught unprepared in a sudden snowstorm or heavy rain. Temperature swings can also be drastic, causing issues for those not dressed appropriately.

Therefore, being aware of the local weather forecast and planning for sudden changes is essential in Aspen. Before heading out for a day of adventure, check the forecast and pack layers and necessary gear to cater to various conditions. Stay aware of the sky and your surroundings throughout the day. This vigilance doesn't just mean the difference between comfort and discomfort; it could be a matter of safety in extreme situations. Aspen's weather might be a part of its charm, but it also warrants respect and preparation.

UV Protection

Aspen, Colorado's high altitude and reflective snow surfaces amplify the sun's damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays, making wearing sunscreen in the mountains a good idea and a vital health practice. At our elevation, UV radiation is significantly higher than at sea level, increasing the risk of skin damage and the likelihood of developing skin cancer. This risk is present year-round, not just during summer, as snow can reflect up to 80% of UV rays, intensifying your exposure even on the coldest winter day.

Wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, reapplying it every two hours, and using other sun-protective measures like sunglasses, hats, and appropriate clothing are essential for protecting your skin from the high-altitude sun exposure in the Roaring Fork Valley. Whether skiing, hiking, or simply enjoying the downtown, remember that proper sun protection will keep your skin healthy, preventing premature aging and reducing your risk of skin cancer.

Transportation In and Around Aspen

When traveling to Aspen, there are various transportation options from which to choose. Modes of transportation such as taxis, private shuttles, public buses, and rental cars are all fantastic options during your stay in Aspen. Consider various factors, such as the length of your vacation, budget, and desired comfort level, to help you decide on transportation options when you visit Aspen. Below are some local recommendations of the best options for transportation to and from Aspen.

Car Rental in Aspen

Are you thinking about renting a car in Aspen? A car rental is your best bet for travelers visiting Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley who wish to see the surrounding towns and local sights. A car rental gives you more flexibility while you vacation, as well as giving you access to some of the hidden treasures and mountains. A rental car is great for larger groups of friends or families visiting Aspen. All major car rental agencies are represented at Aspen's airport, and reservations may be made before arrival (recommended) through your travel agent or when booking online; vehicles may be rented on arrival, providing availability.
car driving to Aspen next to open fields

Premium SUV Car Service/ Airport transfers

Transportation to and from Aspen/Pitkin County Airport can be done quickly and efficiently with many of our local Aspen premium car rental services. If you plan on traveling to Aspen with a medium-large group, we highly recommend hiring one of our local premium SUV driver services in Aspen. This option is perfect for those hosting retreats, wedding parties, families on vacation, and more! Private transport is ideal for the organized traveler because it removes the hassle and stress of navigating independently in a new town. All drivers will respect and honor your schedule and be flexible with your itinerary. Hiring a premium SUV service in Aspen can be customized to fit your travel needs. It also allows more opportunities to enjoy the beautiful scenery, engage in conversation with your family and friends, and stretch out in the roomy, comfortable interior while letting your driver plot the best course. To enjoy your stay in Aspen to the fullest, many drivers offer a stop at City Market, a large grocery store, to pick up produce, snacks, wine, spirits, and any items such as toothpaste and sunscreen you may need. Be sure to ask your driver about this option upon booking. Local companies can be found here: Aspen Airport Transfers. Prices may vary depending upon the provider.

Taxi Service

Taxis are available from the Aspen Airport to Downtown Aspen. Taxis available at the taxi stands at the airport generally have a higher price due to the airport taxes. Also, please note this is a one-way trip to Aspen, not a round-trip transfer. We highly recommend that you reserve your Aspen round-trip airport transfer transportation directly from one of the reliable taxi and transportation service companies in Aspen that offer round-trip services to take you safely to your accommodation in Aspen and surrounding areas and take you back to the airport on time for your departure. Making a reservation with one of our local transportation services in Aspen is fast and easy. Once you are in Aspen, local taxis can be a great way to get around.

Bus Service


The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA), in operation since 1983, is a Regional Transportation Authority serving Aspen, Snowmass Village, Pitkin County, Basalt, parts of Eagle County, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, and New Castle. It offers various services, including commuter bus routes, ski shuttles, and seasonal offerings. Bus routes around the City of Aspen and to Snowmass Village are complimentary.

Independence Pass summit sign in winter with snow around

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