Lunch laps |

Lunch laps

Jeanne McGovern
The Aspen Times

Lunch laps, I’ve discovered, are not just for winter.

In summer and fall, I’ve found it’s almost better to get out of the office, the house, wherever I find myself inside for that quick breath of fresh air than it is in winter (though winter lunch laps do offer a chance of soaking in some rays as the days get awfully short).

On that note, I’ve discovered a few nice walks/simple hikes away from the masses who make Smuggler or the Rio Grande their daytime ritual. I can’t share them all, nor do I really want you to know, but before the leaves fall off the trees and the season changes for good, I suggest breaking free and checking out one of these three:

The West End: Before bridge construction got back under way, meandering through Aspen’s West End was a quiet, scenic stroll. Not so much with all the bright orange cones, flaggers, cars, etc. I’m moving my West End walk down Hopkins, over the Marolt pedestrian bridge and around the open space.

The East End: I like this walk because you can make it as long or a short as you like by heading out of town on Ute Avenue and then along the East Aspen Trail to the Aspen Club site, past the Stillwater Bridge, all the way to Wildwood or farther. There are a few great spots along the way to just stop and listen to the river and the rustling leaves.

Just Outside of Town: At the ABC, take the steep steps down the Stein Trail, around the sanitation district (OK, that’s not so pleasant), to the trail adjacent the Roaring Fork River. After a short walk, cross the bridge and connect to the Rio Grande, which is generally not too crowded this far down the unpaved portion. I like this one because you will get your heart pumping coming back up the Stein steps.