09/03/2011 11:58 am ET | Updated Nov 02, 2011

Aspen Right Now: 6 Experiences Not To Miss (PHOTOS)

The trees are about to turn, making this one of the most scenic times to trek to Aspen. Check out these six activities in this quaint mountain town.

Independence Pass: This scenic drive bridging Aspen and Leadville offers tundra pools, roadside waterfalls, hiking trails, a small ghost town and the Continental Divide. Expect the pass to close after the first major seasonal snowfall.
Highway 82, Southeast of Aspen

Sky Hotel: Whether you get a room or simply stop in for a cocktail, this sleek, chic hotel houses social hotspot 39 Degrees Lounge. While the weather’s agreeable, saunter out to the Sundeck for beverage at the poolside bar and drink in stunning mountain views.
709 E. Durant Avenue, Aspen; 970-925-6760

Maroon Lake/Maroon Bells: When you’re this close to Maroon Lake – reflecting the “most photographed peaks in North America” in its shiny surface – it’s almost a crime to not check out the view. Save yourself a drive and catch a free shuttle departing from Rubey Park every 20 minutes.
Rubey Park, Durant St. & Mill St., Aspen; 970-925-4482

Snowmass Hot Air Balloon Festival: The landscape is lovely, but the sky will be bursting with dots of vibrant color in September during the Hot Air Balloon Festival in nearby Snowmass. In addition to lively scenes above, activities such as disc golf, wine and culinary tastings, and art tours will be happening on the ground.
Sep. 16 - 18; free
Snowmass Village, Snowmass

Aspen Farmers Market: Wander through streets surrounded by goods of local farmers and artisan craftspeople. Live music and culinary samples complete the scene at this charming open air market.
Saturdays through mid-October, 8am - 3pm; free admission
Hopkins Ave. & Hunter St.; 970-379-1346

Silver Queen Gondola: As autumn arrives, the famed Aspen trees begin to turn, making a gondola ride a must. Journey two and a half miles up the mountainside – and 3,000 vertical feet -- and experience a breathtaking view of Aspen and Elk Mountain Range in their golden glory.
$10 - $25, age 3 & under free
Base of Aspen Mountain