Memorial Day means the unofficial start of summer! You’ve got a long weekend. And up in the high country, the snow is melting. The rivers are running. Soon the wildflowers will be peeking out again. It’s a perfect time to head for the hills—especially Aspen. Here are the highlights of your Memorial Day celebration in Aspen.

Maroon Bells are open. The road to the Bells opens May 23, 2014—a sure sign that summer is here. This early in the season, you can drive your own vehicle. And of course, you can bike the iconic route. You’ll still find some snow on the hiking trails, but expect spectacular photos of winter making the annual handoff to its warmer sister season.

Independence Pass is clear. The stunningly scenic route also opens May 23. Drive the highest paved road in Colorado on your way in from the Front Range. Or head up from Aspen for a half-day trip to the Continental Divide at 12,095 feet. Don’t blame us if you start singing like Julie Andrews.

Live like a local. Crowds are still low over Memorial Day weekend, which means you get an Aspen local experience. Join a game of pick-up Ultimate Frisbee in Wagner Park. Get your Memorial Day burger at Little Annie’s.

Be among the first to sample these new Aspen restaurants and bars:

The rivers are raging. Those 300+ inches of snow this winter have to go somewhere. And the seasonal meltoff means epic river rafting. The Roaring Fork Valley offers Class II to Class IV whitewater—so you can pick your adrenaline rush. Get details from our friends at Blazing Adventures.

It’s like in-state tuition. It pays to be local, and the Limelight Hotel is offering a special off-season rate for Colorado residents. Coming from out of state? Don’t worry; there are off-season specials for you too. Get info on all the specials here. Keep track of more Memorial Day events here too.

About Kelsey Anderson

Kelsey is a Midwest native who currently resides in Colorado. She spends her weekends hiking, biking, and checking out local eateries. Her favorite things to do in Aspen are hiking around Maroon Bells, jamming at Belly Up, and exploring the latest restaurants.