Aspen in October - a few tips
As every year since 1998, the "John Denver Week" will take place again this October in Aspen -- lots of events in memory of John and his music, concerts, sing alongs, hikes, campfires...
Here is a list of the dates and events 2020.
Since usually quite a few people participate in the events, we have decided to prepare a special category for this week here.
So, first of all, here comes the try to answer the questions which came up most frequently as well as possible.
As an important side note, we also wanted to mention the importance of staying hydrated and start this before you leave home.There is nothing worse to spoil your trip than dealing with altitude sickness, you can google for symptoms to watch for. Some people may have been to areas of high elevation and are aware, some may be coming from the flat lands like Florida etc and some folks may not have ever had a problem but are a bit older from their last trip and experience things differently. Just want everyone to have a good time and not stuck in their room because they don't feel well. Also remember to pace yourself. Walking a trail at sea level and walking one at 8,000+ ft. is a bit different. (thanks Barb White for making us aware of the importance of this advice!)
To Denver and then go the rest by car - or better fly to Aspen directly?
Each version has its own appeal - the flight across the Rocky Mountains is beautiful and the approach to Aspen Airport is kind of a thrill, since the valley is very narrow. Besides this, you are at your destination as soon as you have landed. Most hotels offer a shuttle service to pick you up at Aspen Airport and take you back for departure. Besides this, Aspen really has a nice, small, cleary laid out airport.
In case you would like to visit an event which is not in walking distance, it always makes sense to ask other fans if maybe they have some space left in their car. Travelling together can be so much fun! Besides this possibility, there is a free bus service in Aspen which takes you to many interesting places.
The drive by car on the other hand takes about 4 hours --- photographers should plan more time... :-D --- and offers beautiful looks into the Rocky Mountains. I'd especially recommend the "scenic route" via Indepencence Pass (be careful to check the signs along the Highway, which will inform you in case the pass is closed, which can happen at this time of the year). You should stop on top and take a little walk around to enjoy the breathtaking landscape. I know, I sound like a tourist guide, but in case you didn't feel it up to now, you will certainly get your first impression of "Rocky Mountain High" here... :-)
Also on the way from Denver to Aspen, you can make a little detour to visit Georgetown, the nice little town where "The Christmas Gift" was filmed.
You also have to keep in mind that, from our own experience, flights directly to Aspen are - at least from Europe - quite a bit more expensive. Considering this, it may be worth calculating if it would not be cheaper to rent a car. Even if most places in Aspen are in walking distance to each other, it may always come in handy to have a car available if needed.
Where to stay in Aspen?
Well, here comes the difficult part.... :-)
First of all, you should be aware that - even though October is absolute off-season - Aspen is expensive. Of course there are many, many hotels in the town, but inexpensive accomodation is in short supply.
I deliberately don't want to give any recommondations here - too different are the wishes, requirements and pockets of those who may read here. This is why I will limit this to mentioning the two "most important" hotels for the John Denver Week -- so once there is the Mountain Chalet, traditionally the hotel where they have sing-a-longs each day, most of them until the wee hours of the morning, in the lobby.. Many fans consider it their "home away from home"... Second then the Limelight Hotel, where several events take place as well, and where they usually offer a "John Denver rate" for the time of the events. In 2011, 2012 and 2017, they also held the VIP receptions after the Wheeler Memorial Concerts there.
The Mountain Chalet is the less expensive choice, while the Limelight is very new and comparatively offers more comfort. It's all a matter of taste.
Both hotels are located in sight distance to each other in the middle of Aspen, which is very convenient, and both hotel fees include breakfast, which goes, after all, not without saying in the USA.
Information about more hotels can easily be found, for example, by using an Internet search engine.
Where is what? How to get tickets?
A list of the events which have been set by now can be found here - more events will be added as they come up.
Where is the John Denver Sanctuary?
The John Denver Sanctuary is located on the outskirts of Aspen and is part of the Rio Grande Park, right beside the big white building here .
Follow North Mill Street downhill until, after the big meadow, you can turn to the right into a path - it leads you directly to the Sanctuary. There are also signs which will help you...
How do I get to Windstar?
The (since it has been sold former) Windstar Land is one of the places you can only reach by car (or on foot, but I guess this is a little TOO far, it is about 17 miles....). Windstar is not located in Aspen, but near Snowmass, about a 30 minutes drive away. It looks like beside moving the John Denver Statue away and setting up a little memorial for John, a few things have changed there, but it is still fully accessable most of the times. Unfortunately, it is not known now how long this will still be the case. The statue, by the way, has in the meantime been set up at the Red Rocks Theater near Denver.
You leave Aspen on Highway 82 direction Glenwood Springs, until you see a gas station from the Highway at a turnoff to the left. Turn left into this street (this is the Snowmass Creek Road), follow it to the end, then turn left again. Windstar will be on your right after about 0.7 miles. Here the route from Windstar into the middle of Aspen on Google Maps.
The "Rocky Mountain High"-stone
Did you ever wonder where the cover photo of "Rocky Mountain High" was taken? Well, it is very close to Aspen, at a place called "Slaughterhouse Falls". It is in walking distance from Aspen, and if you are a little courageous, you can have somebody take a similar pic of yourself... :)
From Aspen, follow the Rio Grande Trail direction Woody Creek. It is an easy trail with not much incline. After a while, you will reach a Parking Lot.
In case you prefer to go by car, go east from Aspen on Main street to Hwy 82W. Turn right onto Cemetary Lane. Cemetary Lane changes to Mc Lain Flat Rd. Turn left into the mentioned Parking Lot for the Rio Grande Trail and park. (There is a porta potty there so if you need to go, go now. There is nothing more on the trail.)
Continue on the trail to the right. It won't be long before you will see kind of a pond on the right hand side of the trail. Go about half the distance of the pond and then turn around and look at the river... You will certainly recognize the place :). If you want to take "THE picture", you will have to climb down to the river. Please be very careful as it will most likely be very wet and thus slippery.
How to dress?
In general - in Aspen, October can bring just about any kind of weather - summery T-Shirt temperatures the same as snow (sometimes both of that within 24 hours), as well as everything in between. Thus, the best thing to do is "dress in layers" -- several layers of cloths, so you can put them on and off as needed, for example T-Shirt, sweater and a jacket. In the late hours after sunset, a jacket is a must - as soon as the sun has disappeared, it quickly becomes pretty cool.
For the concerts - this is Aspen, so you wear what you feel comfortable in. I have seen anything from jeans and cowboy shirt to evening dresses, everything is okay... :)
We are, of course, happy to answer any further questions we are able to answer via our contact form.