Naturalist Programs

Training the environmental leaders of tomorrow

Each June, ACES spends two weeks training 16 new Summer Naturalists. These enthusiastic college graduates spend the next two and a half months guiding hikes and providing educational outreach for both visitors and residents at iconic sites throughout the Aspen area. Following the summer season, many Naturalists are re-hired to work through the winter, providing them with an opportunity to continue growing as educators and leaders.

Through training, individual research, and guiding, Naturalists develop a deep knowledge of local ecology, environmental issues, human history, and the physical landscape. Over the course of the summer, Naturalists learn to use storytelling to explain a range of subjects, inspiring a connection to the Aspen area for over 41,000 locals and visitors in 2017.

Through this program, ACES Naturalists often develop greater understanding and passion for the subjects they are most interested in as they plot their own career paths. For more than 30 years, this ever-growing group of ACES alumni has gone out into the world affecting change. As scientists, teachers, land managers, policy makers, nonprofit administrators, and sustainability experts, Naturalists further ACES mission when they bring their knowledge, communication skills, and appreciation of the natural world to new communities.

General Tour Info


Take a tour with an ACES Naturalist

Hire a Guide and Custom Programs

Hire an ACES Naturalist guide and explore the mountains, forests, and wildlife on your own schedule. Available by the hour, our guide will lead you on private adventures that may be customized to your interests.

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Winter Snowshoe and Ski Tours

During the winter months, ACES offers a variety of daily programs at spectacular locations around Aspen. Join an ACES Naturalist for daily guided snowshoe tours on top of Aspen Mountain, at Snowmass, and at Ashcroft, or hop on a Naturalist-guided ski tour at Snowmass.

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Summer Hikes

Explore Aspen with ACES! From June until September, ACES offers a variety of things to do for all ages at spectacular locations around Aspen. Join an ACES Naturalist guide for free daily hikes, which explore popular local spots like Aspen and Snowmass mountains, the Maroon Bells and the Snowmass Ice Age dig.

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