| June 20, 2016 | Lifestyle
The Little Nell Jeep tours give stargazing the high-class treatment.
In the light pollution-free ridges of the Rocky Mountains, stargazers can see deeper colors, farther constellations, and even the cosmic debris of the Milky Way beyond the Maroon Bells.
As the rose-tinted alpen glow fades to dusk in the brisk air of a summer evening in Aspen, a group of stargazers and amateur astronomers load into Jeep Rubicons outside The Little Nell—Aspen’s only five-star resort hotel—for an unforgettable ride up the backside of Aspen Mountain. Driving through lush aspen meadows, past babbling brooks, and often alongside deer, rabbits, foxes, and other high-mountain wildlife, guests arrive at Richmond Ridge just as the mountains go dark and the night sky reveals itself in all its Northern Hemisphere glory.
Champagne, sweet treats, warm blankets, and state-of-the-art binoculars await as the Nell’s adventure concierge and a local astronomy expert identify constellations, shootings stars, planets, quarter moons, meteor showers, and answer questions in the pristine, light pollution-free setting. It’s an experience that is as informative as it is romantic, exciting as it is idyllic. The nearly three-hour tour finishes with a steep descent down the face of Aspen Mountain, past the well-known hiking and ski trails for which the mountain is known, and back to the Nell’s front entrance. Traveling mere miles from where you started, guests are offered an experience that seems a world away. The Little Nell, 675 E. Durant Ave., 970-920-6315
Photography by Thomas O’Brien