Cool Off

Five Ways to Beat the Heat in Aspen

Our quick guide to some of Aspen's favorite "swimming holes."

By Allison Pattillo August 15, 2018

Aspen's Dancing Fountain was the first of its kind when it was completed in November 1979. 

While afternoon showers help to cool things off, the weather can still get toasty around here, especially during the long, hazy days of summer. Many local hotels and condos have amazing pool facilities, perfect for whiling away an afternoon. Luckily, for those of us who don't have access, there are several other rejuvenating options (including free ones!) to make the most of a warm day. 

Aspen Dancing Fountain
Aspen's Dancing Fountain, on the Hyman Avenue Pedestrian Mall, has offered a cooling and entertaining respite since it debuted on Memorial Day weekend in 1980. With restaurants, outdoor seating on the mall, the Red Fox frozen yogurt stand, and the Popcorn Wagon nearby, you can relax and get refreshments while your children (and you) frolic among the computerized jets that spout water. Free,

Snowmass Recreation Center
With four outdoor saltwater pools and a water slide, kids of all ages are able to cool off, with an amazing mountain view. The leisure pool is heated to 94 degrees and has a zero-depth entry; the lap pool is 25 yards in length and heated to 82 degrees—plus, there's a hot tub. All of the pools use a salt sanitation system.  $10 a day for youth/$15 a day for adults, 

North Star Nature Preserve (a.k.a. Stillwater)
Whether you SUP, float on an inner tube, or hang out at North Star "beach," the meandering headwaters of the Roaring Fork River and the peaceful setting of the 175-acre preserve make for a relaxing way to spend a day. Parking can get crowded, so be sure to carpool or ride your bike (access is about 1.5 miles east of Aspen off Highway 82). Or head farther up the highway to Devil's Punch Bowl–but be sure to go with someone who knows where to take the plunge. Free,

Aspen Recreation Center (ARC)
This indoor facility includes a lap pool with diving boards, lazy river, family swim area, water slide, and hot tub. On warm summer days, the large garage-style doors are opened wide to the grass lawn outside. $16.50 a day for youth/$19 a day for adults, 

Whitewater Rafting
Rivers may not be running as high as usual this year, but rafting and ducky trips (smaller, individual boats also known as inflatable kayaks) are still a fun way to splash around, cool off, and make summer memories. Trips take place on the Colorado, Roaring Fork, and Arkansas Rivers, depending upon water flow. Prices vary by trip,,,


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