Last call for summer tours through Aspen Historical Society |

Last call for summer tours through Aspen Historical Society

Kimberly Nicoletti
Special to The Aspen Times
Downtown Aspen Walking Tour.
Courtesy Aspen Historical Society

As hints of fall’s crisp air begin to creep in, summer events and tours are winding down. But, there’s still plenty to keep you occupied this month, between outdoor concerts in Snowmass and Aspen, as well as the upcoming balloon and wine festivals in Snowmass. But, if you’re looking for a little education with your outings, you might want to catch Aspen Historical Society’s guided tours: It’s the final month of summer tours around town, so get ’em while the weather’s warm. Here’s a round-up:

Historical Downtown Walking Tour: 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays

Meet across the street from the Wheeler Opera House for this guided walking tour of Aspen’s historical buildings and the stories they hold.

Victorian West End Walking Tour: 10:30 a.m. Thursdays and Saturdays

Stroll through Aspen’s Victorian West End residential neighborhood and learn about its history and architecture, as well as little-known facts about the people who lived in these storied homes.

Victorian West End Walking Tour.
Courtesy Aspen Historical Society

Red Butte Cemetery Tour, 1:30 p.m. Fridays (no tour on Sept. 9 and 16)

Get in the spirit of Halloween with this cemetery tour, which focuses on locals who are buried there.

History Coach Tour

Don’t want to walk? Hop on a guided driving tour of historic downtown Aspen in AHS’ unique electric vehicle. The tour includes visits to the Wheeler/Stallard and the Holden/Marolt Mining & Ranching museums and focuses on Aspen’s transformation from a mining town to a world-famous resort. ($25 for adults, $20 for kids and seniors.)

Hotel Jerome Tour, 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays

Tour the lobby and first floor as you view Aspen’s history through the eyes of the Hotel Jerome, which has been at the center of community life since 1889.

Hotel Jerome Tour.
Aspen Historical Society

Wheeler Opera House Tour, 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays (through Sept. 14)

This free tour, in partnership with the City of Aspen’s Wheeler Opera House, reveals an insider’s look at the iconic building, which has been the center of Aspen’s arts and cultural scene since 1889.

Archives Tour, 11 a.m. Sept. 20 only

This free tour lets you peek backstage, into the AHS archives and research facility, revealing the artifact-accessioning process, a display of Maps Through the Decades and the underground vault, where much of the AHS Collection is stored.

Bauhaus Architectural Walking Tour, 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays

Explore examples of Bauhaus-influence and other modern design principles, which continue to inspire local design.

Also, the last tour of Earthworks and Land Art of Herbert Bayer takes place Sept. 7. Led by landscape architect Ann Mullins, the tour looks at the Bauhaus-inspired and Bayer-designed campus of Aspen Institute and includes multiple examples of Bayer’s groundbreaking land art, installations and sculptures.

Ashcroft Ghost Town, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, through Sept. 4, then 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 24-26 and Oct. 1-2

This self-guided tour offers a docent onsite. Located 11 miles up Castle Creek Road, the silver-mining ghost town features restored remains of several historical buildings, including a saloon, post office and hotel. Interpretive signs tell stories of the former boom-and-bust town. ($5, no dogs.)

Independence Ghost Town, until Independence Pass closes for the winter

Located 16 miles east of Aspen on Highway 82, this ghost town was the first mining site in the Roaring Fork Valley. Today, it features interpretive stations that showcase the characters, enterprises and structures that make it historical. ($5)

History in Your Backyard: Hunter Creek Valley, 5:30 p.m. Sept. 20

This first installment of a new adult education series explores the history of familiar places in the Aspen area. Historians and guest panelists share stories of one of Aspen’s closest “camps” in the Hunter Creek Valley and recent efforts to preserve the historical structures in the area.

Most tours are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and kids 18 and younger. The AHS money-back guarantee ensures you’ll learn something new, or they’ll give you your money back.

Sept. 17 is free museum admission day (1-5 p.m.) at the Wheeler/Stallard and Holden/Marolt Mining & Ranching museums, as part of the Smithsonian’s Museum Day.

In addition, the Basalt Public Library will host a storytelling presentation with Nina Gabianelli and Sklar Lomahaftewa, a Northern Ute tribal member, 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 27, as part of its monthlong traveling exhibit, Seasons of the Nuche: Transitions of the Ute People, which is on display in the library’s lobby. The exhibition was curated with input from Ute tribal members and explores the past and present of the Ute People with modular display panels and interactive elements, including a tipi.

And, if you want to head toward Leadville, check out the Wilderness Workshop Camp Hale Hike, starting at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 9, at the 10th Mountain Division Memorial atop Tennessee Pass. Led by author and nature-based coach Susie Kincade and representatives from the 10th Mountain Division Living History, this hike explores the history of the camp and training grounds, its impact during WWII and its contribution to the ski industry, as well as efforts to protect it. The free tour takes place in the Pando Valley at historic Camp Hale. More info:

AHS’s summer tours require advance registration (except for the Wheeler Opera House Tour). Most tours max out at a dozen people, and private tours are offered based on guide availability. Call 970.925.3721 to book, or visit

Aspen Historical Society Historic Downtown Walking Tour.
Courtesy Aspen Historical Society

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