Aspen is one of the most famous ski resorts in the Rocky Mountains – if not the United States! It is world-renowned for its beauty, amazing snow, and of course its jet-set skiers that pay thousands of dollars a night to stay in the most luxurious ski condos in the countries. There are quite a few ways to get from Denver to Aspen, and in this article we will discuss the best ways how to get from Denver to Aspen.
It is of course possible to fly directly to Aspen from your home Airport, but you can also choose to fly to Denver and make your way up the mountain from there. Depending on the level of comfort you are after and your budget, there are quite a few routes you can take!
Whether you want to take direct flights from Denver to Aspen, want to drive to the mountain in a private luxury SUV or want to take a bus up to Aspen ski resort, we have put together a complete guide on the best ways to get from Denver to Aspen!
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From Denver to Aspen by Car
You can drive from Denver to Aspen by car. It is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to get from Denver to Aspen and will allow you to stay in resorts and hotels outside of the ski resorts. This is one of the main reasons why driving from Denver to Aspen is most popular with ski enthusiasts on a budget.
You can easily pick up a rental car at Denver International Airport. You can hire a car via rentalcars.com where you will get an overview of all rental companies available in the airport and around Denver. You will be able to choose your car and the duration of the rental.
When renting a car in Denver to drive from Denver to Aspen it is important to take your luggage into account. You might want to rent a bigger car in case you are taking your ski gear with you. You will need to book the car beforehand so it will be waiting for you in Denver Airport when you arrive. From Denver Airport, Aspen will be a 4 hour drive in good conditions. In winter, it might take a bit longer due to snow on the roads and queues.
Also ask yourself whether or not you have experience with driving in winter conditions before renting a car to drive from Denver to Pitkin County. Sure, most of the roads will be clear, but when you get caught in a large flurry of snow, conditions on the road can become dangerous quite quickly.
This also means that when you rent a car in Denver Airport, you should rent a car that is fitted with winter tires and preferably has 4 wheel drive to make it through the snow.
You obviously won’t have this problem if you want to head from Denver to Aspen in summer to go on hiking of mountain biking trips. In fact: you will even be able to take the scenic route. The most scenic route from Denver to Aspen is Roadway 82. This route will take you over the Independence Pass. This is the highest paved state highway in Colorado and it will take you right across the Continental Divide. Please do check whether or not the pass is open before setting off. During heavy snowfall passes such as these can be closed for several hours on end.
From Denver to Aspen by Private Transfer
I get it: Arriving in Denver Airport after a long flight – even when it was a nonstop flight, can be incredibly tiring. Especially when you arrive in Denver in the middle of the night, it might not be the best idea to then get into a rental car to drive 4 hours to Aspen Ski Resorts. I love a good road trip, but safety should come first!
Renting a private transfer to take you from Denver Airport to Aspen is easy. You can use websites such as Klook to book a transfer from Denver to Aspen. A chauffeur will wait for you in Denver Airport and will bring you up the mountain in no time.
You can obviously also arrange a transfer to bring you back to Denver International Airport to catch your return flight, or even rent a transfer that takes you from the ski resort to Aspen Airport.
When looking for a private transfer, you will have lots of choice ranging from smaller cars such as the Toyota Camry or Toyota Wish to large SUVs such as the Suburban, or even little busses when you are travelling with a large group of family or friends.
All transfers from Denver to Aspen will come with free wait time, and depending on what transfer you choose, you will get free phone charging points, water, tissues – and you can even choose your own music!
I would advice booking your transfer sooner rather than later as these are often fully booked in winter – and prices are known to go up when you book last minute!
Denver to Aspen Flights
You can also choose to fly from Denver to Aspen. There are about 4 daily nonstop flights operated by United Airlines. All of these flights leave from Denver and land in Aspen Airport from where you can make your way to the Ski Resort through private transfer. Flights from Denver to Aspen take about 45 to 50 minutes, and the Airport is a 9 minute drive from the Aspen Ski Resort.
The difference in travel time will depend on the flight distance and of course on the winds. Due to the plains where Denver is located you might also experience some turbulence. We took an American Airlines flight from Denver to Fort Worth and had some turbulence. I am not saying you will always experience turbulence when flying from Denver, but we did.
Tickets, prices and routes are all available online. You might want to have a look at what is financially better – whether it is to book your ticket from your home town to Aspen directly, or whether it is best to book two separate tickets. Sometimes one is considerably cheaper than the other!
You should never buy one-way tickets, always try to book a return. Return tickets – whether you book through a popular airline such as American Airlines or United Airlines, or a budget airline such as Frontier, are always cheaper than buying a single ticket.
These flights to Aspen are in no way cheap flights, but it is by far the fastest way to get to Pitkin County from Denver. The Aspen-Pitkin County Airport is quite a small airport with some shops and a restaurant. Most of the planes leaving from the airport are private planes, or planes flying to nearby airports.
From Denver to Aspen by Shuttle
As many other United States ski resorts in the Rocky Mountains, there are shuttles available to take you from Denver International Airport to Aspen in Pitkin County. Shuttles are way cheaper than the cheapest flights, but they can take quite long before you reach your destination.
Shuttles run at certain times from Denver International Airport to Aspen. Tickets to these shuttles are flexible so if you miss your flight, or the shuttle is full, you can take another one. Shuttles mostly run with one or one and a half hour between them, so if you miss the shuttle or book a shuttle on a peak day, you might have to wait quite some time.
Shuttles that run from Denver to Aspen will drop you off at most Aspen hotels and resorts. You can expect the shuttle trip from Denver to Aspen to take about 4 and a half hours due to the fact that these shuttles are often laden and cannot drive as fast as a transfer or rental car.
It might be best to compare the price between a shuttle and a transfer – especially because you pay shuttles per person and transfers per car or bus!
From Denver to Aspen by Bus
Another way to get from Denver to Aspen is by bus. I would, however, not recommend it as there are a lot of moving parts that can leave you stranded.
Colorado Department of Transportation has a Bustang System that will take you from Union station in Downtown Denver to the West Glenwood Park and Ride in Glenwood Springs. At Union station you will need to look out for the CDOT West Line Bus which only runs twice a day. If you miss this bus, your chances of getting to Aspen that day are very slim.
Getting to Glenwood Springs will take about 4 hours. Busses leave at Union Statin at 7 am ( you will pull in at Glenwood Springs at about 10:55 AM) and at 5:40 PM (You will arrive in Glenwood Springs at 9:35 PM)
From the Glenwood Springs park and ride you will need to take the Roaring Fork Transit Authority Bus L to Aspen. This bus drive will take about an hour and busses leave about twice an hour. The bus will take you to the centre of Aspen which means that – depending on where you are staying, you might need to get an Uber or a Lyft to your resort, condo, or hotel!
How many flights a day from Denver to Aspen International Airport?
Currently there are 4 flights a day from Denver to Aspen International Airport. These flights are operated by United Airlines and are all direct flights. The earliest flight to Aspen from Denver departs at 09:47 AM. The latest flight from DEN to ASE departs at 7:27 PM.
How long is the flight from Denver to Aspen
The flight time from Denver to Aspen is about 45 minutes of which 27 minutes are spent in the air.
What is the flight distance between Denver and Aspen International Airport?
The flight distance between Denver and Aspen is 125 miles or 202 kilometres. This is calculated through straight line flying.
Where are the shuttle counters located in Denver International Airport?
Shuttle counters can be found in the main terminal of the airport, in the northeast area near North Security.
Lieze Neven is a globetrotting travel writer and expat currently based in Nepal. With a passion for exploration, she has lived in Dubai, the UK, and Belgium, alongside her international teacher husband. Her parents live in France and she tries to visit Paris at least once a year. Together, they travel the world looking for the best hotels, experiences and food locations have to offer!