Introduction to Aspen, Colorado

Aspen is a well known ski resort town situated in the Elk Mountains section of the Rocky Mountains in Pitkin County. Aspen is a popular location for skiing, summer activities, the arts, music and business. It's a popular destination for the rich and famous.

The downtown is filled with upscale shops and restaurants. Aspen is known for its luxurious homes and condominiums. A large number of celebrities reside in the community on a part-time basis. There are numerous lodges, posh hotels and resorts for tourists to choose from. The city is home to the notable Aspen Institute. The popular Snowmass Village is nearby. The name was given due to the vast amount of aspen trees in the region.


A group of minors arrived in 1879 and dismissed the governor's strong suggestion that they travel back over the Continental Divide and out of the way of the havoc caused by the Ute Indians. The area was originally known as Ute City. The name was changed to Aspen in 1880. It soon became the most productive silver mining area in the country. The population significantly increased due to the prosperous mines. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act enacted in 1890 resulted in the government doubling the amount of silver it purchased.

President Cleveland revoked the act which led to the Panic of 1893 that devastated the economy. A large number of the silver mines were shut down, causing thousands of miners to loose their jobs. Later, wages were reduced and mining made a modest comeback, but according to a census performed in 1930 a significant number of mines were still closed. In 1946 the Aspen Skiing Corporation was established and became a popular resort. Soon Aspen became an international ski destination.

Outdoor Activities

The well known ski destinations are Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, Snowmass and Highlands. Tourists and residents also enjoy sleigh rides, snowshoeing and snowmobiling in the winter. During the summer, mountain biking and hiking are popular activities. Other summertime fun includes golfing, white water rafting, exploring mines, watching rodeos, fly fishing and enjoying the scenic views provided by the chair lifts.

The John Denver Park is a notable location to enjoy the day during the summer. The nearby Maroon Bells area showcases spectacular mountains. A scenic trail leads hikers to a couple of beautiful lakes and a glacier carved valley. Guided tours are available for outdoor adventures.

Attractions and Entertainment

  • Aspen Music Festival
  • The Crystal Palace Theatre Restaurant hosts a variety of plays
  • Club Chelsea is a popular music venue
  • Hotel Jerome is a historic landmark
  • The Jazz Aspen Snowmass
  • June Festival
  • Aspen Celebrity Downhill
  • Labor Day Festival
  • The historic Wheeler Opera House
  • Aspen is home to numerous art galleries
  • Theatre Aspen.
  • Ashcroft Ghost Town
  • Aspen Art Museum


Total Population 6,740
Male Share of the Population 54.1%
Female Share of the Population 45.9%
Senior Citizens 19.8%
Employed Population 16+ 3,923
Age of the Population 44


% of people married 34.5%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 64.5%
Median Earnings25+ $0
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $0
Median Earnings With High School Degree $0


Median Family Income $100,594
% Above Poverty Level 91.2%
% Below Poverty Level 8.8%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 16 minutes
% Working from Home 11%
% Walking and Biking to Work 29.9%
% Using Public Transportation 19.4%


People Living Alone 45.7%
Median Gross Rent $1,157
Median House Value $547,100


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 22.6%
US/American 0%
English 13%
Irish 11.5%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Aspen Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 99 miles W of Lakewood, Colorado (center to center)
Nearest Large City 105 miles W of Denver, Colorado
County Pitkin
Standard Zip Codes 81611
P.O. Box Zip Codes 81612
Phone Area Codes 970
Time Zone Mountain (-7 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 39.191
Longitude -106.816

Aspen Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Station ASPEN 1 SW
Distance 1 miles
Jan Temp 7 to 34 F
Apr Temp 25 to 51 F
Jul Temp 46 to 77 F
Oct Temp 29 to 58 F
Annual Precip 23.2 inches
Distance 12.7 miles
Jan Temp 1 to 33 F
Apr Temp 21 to 49 F
Jul Temp 40 to 79 F
Oct Temp 23 to 59 F
Annual Precip 16.3 inches
Distance 24.5 miles
Jan Temp 4 to 28 F
Apr Temp 17 to 43 F
Jul Temp 39 to 71 F
Oct Temp 23 to 50 F
Annual Precip 16.6 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Basalt 3,791 $95,089
Crested Butte 1,445 $71,818
Marble 150 $83,000
Mount Crested Butte 859 $56,125
Snowmass Village 2,865 $109,417

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Aspen Public Libraries

Pitkin County Library
Aspen, Colorado
(970) 925-4025
Library Web Site

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More Information for Librarians

Aspen Hospitals

(Government - Hospital District or Authority)
(970) 544-1261
Emergency Service: Yes

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Aspen High Schools

Serves 474 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 12.7

Study Online in Aspen
Historic Aspen


Aspen and Aspen Mt.. c1893.
Additional Resources
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