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Vacation in Roaring Fork Valley - Colorado

Jump to: Overview, Things To Do, Transportation, Climate, Accommodations, Cost

Area Overview

The lower Roaring Fork Valley is so-named because of the Roaring Fork River, which runs through the communities of Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, Basalt and El Jebel. Aspen, CO is our famous neighbor at the upper end of the Roaring Fork Valley.

Known worldwide for fantastic scenery, skiing, a lively cultural scene and celebrity clientele, Aspen is a source of recreation, dining and entertainment.
Aspen is a city in and the county seat of Pitkin County, Colorado, United States.It is situated in a remote area of the Rocky Mountains' Sawatch Range and Elk Mountains, along the Roaring Fork River at an elevation just below 8,000 feet (2,400 m) above sea level on the Western Slope, 11 miles (18 km) west of the Continental Divide.
Founded as a mining camp during the Colorado Silver Boom and later named "Aspen" because of the abundance of aspen trees in the area, the city boomed during the 1880s, its first decade of existence. That early era ended when the Panic of 1893 led to a collapse in the silver market, and the city began a half-century known as "the quiet years" during which its population steadily declined, reaching a nadir of less than a thousand by 1930. Aspen's fortunes reversed in the mid-20th century when neighboring Aspen Mountain was developed into a ski resort, and industrialist Walter Paepcke bought many properties in the city and redeveloped them. Today it is home to three renowned institutions, two of which Paepcke helped found, that have international importance: the Aspen Music Festival and School, the Aspen Institute, and the Aspen Center for Physics.[3]

In the late 20th century, the city became a popular retreat for celebrities. Singer John Denver wrote two songs about Aspen after settling there. Both of them popularized Aspen among the countercultural youth of the 1970s as an ideal place to live, and the city continued to grow.

Today the musicians and movie stars have been joined by corporate executives. Rising real estate prices have driven development "down valley" to neighboring communities in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Glenwood Springs:
At the confluence of the Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers, the historic resort town of Glenwood Springs is the largest of the four communities and famed for the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, Iron Mountain Hot Springs, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, Glenwood Canyon, Yampah Spa & Vapor Caves and Sunlight Mountain Resort.

Here you can tour underground caverns, pedal miles of riverfront trails, paddle the whitewater, sample local produce, shop in unique boutiques, dine at fabulous restaurants or focus on relaxation. Home to the largest mineral hot springs pool in the world, Glenwood Springs has a deep-rooted heritage in the hospitality business. Visionaries of the late 1800s built an internationally known hot springs resort. Travelers from around the globe soaked in the thermal waters, stayed in a luxurious hotels and explored the wonders of subterranean caves.

Today these attractions still draw over two million visitors each year. Each season offers something unique. The warm summer months provide endless opportunities to raft, kayak, hike, and bike. Winter snows attract skiers, riders, snowshoers and ice skaters. Swimming and cave exploration are year-round activities.

Touted as one of the “Top 12 Towns" in the "50 Next Great Places to Live and Play" by National Geographic Adventure magazine, Carbondale is a great base camp for recreation enthusiasts. Resting in the magnificent shadow of 12,953-foot Mt. Sopris, there is plenty to do, including biking, hiking, gold medal fly-fishing, kayaking, and world class skateboarding. In winter, excellent cross-country skiing can be found at Spring Gulch and beautiful snowmobiling and snowshoeing trails are accessible in all directions.

El Jebel:

The community is located in the Roaring Fork Valley, between Carbondale and Basalt, along the north side of State Highway 82. The community grew rapidly in the last two decades of the 20th century with the population increase in the valley downstream from Aspen. It consists largely of a group of commercial establishments just off State Highway 82, as well as several housing subdivisions nearby.

The town was named for the basaltic rock formation on Basalt Mountain, and began as railroad town. It was incorporated in 1901. Located at the confluence of the Fryingpan and Roaring Fork Rivers, Basalt is well known for its Gold Medal trout fishing in the Frying Pan River. Ruedi Reservoir is also a popular regional destination for boating and other watersports. Basalt is also a hub for mountain biking in the Roaring Fork valley. There are a dozen world class cross country trails as well as lift-accessed downhilling within 15 miles of Basalt, both up and down the valley.

Includes Cities/Towns: Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs.

Things to Do

Recreation & Fitness

This region features a vast array of arts, culture, caverns, biking, hiking, boating, a World Class Whitewater Activity Area, paragliding, Gold Medal fishing, dozens of golf courses, camping, horseback riding, skiing and winter sports, hunting, museums, history, fine dining, film, arts and cultural festivals. Located in the heart of the White River National Forest.

Cultural Activities

The region was named #1 in Arts Vibrancy in the United States. The rich professional cultural scene in Aspen is shared valley-wide as the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and Aspen Film Festival have down-valley enterprises and performances. Community theatre and Symphony of the Valley are popular, and the communities of Glenwood Springs and Carbondale have active Arts Councils that foster visual art as well as dance and music. A professional Vaudeville Revue performs in Glenwood Springs, and there is a rich gallery scene throughout the Valley. Weekly concert series and live music can be found every night of the summer and most weekend nights year-round. Locally-grown artists have gone on to national recognition.


This region features a vast array of arts, culture, caverns, biking, hiking, boating, a World Class Whitewater Activity Area, paragliding, Gold Medal fishing, dozens of golf courses, camping, horseback riding, skiing and winter sports, hunting, museums, history, fine dining, film, arts and cultural festivals. Located in the heart of the White River National Forest.


The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority has been in operation since 1983, and functions as a Regional Transportation Authority. The RTA includes the communities of Aspen, Snowmass Village, Pitkin County, Basalt, a portion of Eagle County, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. RFTA provides commuter bus service from Aspen to Glenwood Springs (Roaring Fork Valley); Glenwood to Rifle (Hogback); intra city service in Aspen and Glenwood Springs, ski shuttle service to the four Aspen Skiing Company ski areas, Maroon Bells Guided Bus Tours, and a variety of other seasonal services.

Guests can reach Glenwood Springs via I-70 or the California Zephyr trail, as well as through four regional airports: Aspen Pitkin County, Rifle Garfield County, Grandjunction, and Eagle Vail Airports.


Monthly Temperatures / Rainfall

 Month  Low  Avg  High  Rain
 January  13.0  24.5  36.0  1.5 "
 February  19.0  30.0  41.0  1.1 "
 March  27.0  39.5  52.0  1.4 "
 April  32.0  45.5  59.0  1.5 "
 May  39.0  54.5  70.0  1.8 "
 June  46.0  63.5  81.0  1.1 "
 July  53.0  70.0  87.0  1.1 "
 August  52.0  68.5  85.0  1.3 "
 September  44.0  60.0  76.0  2.0 "
 October  33.0  48.5  64.0  1.9 "
 November  24.0  35.5  47.0  1.3 "
 December  15.0  25.0  35.0  1.3 "

Best Time To Go:

Summer and winter.

Glenwood Springs, CO, gets 21 inches of rain per year. The US average is 37. Snowfall is 51 inches. The average US city gets 25 inches of snow per year. The number of days with any measurable precipitation is 106.

On average, there are 239 sunny days per year in Glenwood Springs, CO. The July high is around 86 degrees. The January low is 3. Our comfort index, which is based on humidity during the hot months, is a 75 out of 100, where higher is more comfortable. The US average on the comfort index is 44.

Temperatures decrease and snowfall increases as you head up-valley. Aspen has humid continental climate owing to its high altitude and is generally 10 degrees cooler than Glenwood Springs, with higher amounts of snowfall.


With a wide range of lodging options from Glenwood Springs to Aspen, there is affordable accommodations for ever guest to the Roaring Fork Valley.


Cost Information Is Unavailable

Additional Information

Visitor Information

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