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Colorado > Colorado Community Areas > Aspen Area
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Aspen Area


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Aspen Ranger District- The Aspen Ranger District encompasses some spectacular mountain terrain in the Elk Mountains, and Sawatch Range.
Aspen Trails- The City of Aspen's trail system provides both summer and winter use making it one of the largest trails systems in the state.
Aspen/Snowmass Nordic Trail System- This 60 kilometer groomed trail system connects the towns of Aspen and Snowmass.
Crystal River- The Crystal River is one of the last free-flowing rivers in the west, tumbling more than 35 miles through scenic terrain to join the Roaring Fork River two miles below Carbondale.
Fryingpan River- This stretch of the river is considered to be some of the finest trout water in the West.
Hunter Creek Area-
Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness- The Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness comprises 82,729 acres in the White River National Forest in central Colorado.
Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness- The Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness comprises 180,962 acres of the Elk Mountains in central Colorado.
Roaring Fork River- The Roaring Fork River is a freestone river that has many different faces as it travels throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. It originates on Independence Pass and culminates at the confluence with the Colorado River in Glenwood Springs.
Ruedi Reservoir- Recreation facilities around the lake consist of four campgrounds accommodating 81 campsites and two boat-launching ramps. The lake covers about 997 acres and is approximately 5 miles long.
Snowmass Village Area- Snowmass Village is a world class resort and ski area. Most popular during the snowy winter months, Snowmass Village has a lot to offer in the summer as well.
Sopris Ranger District- The Sopris Ranger District surround the communities of Carbondale, Basalt, Redstone and Marble.

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General Information

A beaver wades through Maroon Creek below the spectacular Maroon Bells
Copyright: Robbie George-UteCityPhoto.com
A beaver wades through Maroon Creek below the spectacular Maroon Bells
Description - Aspen is one of Colorado's favorite year-round resort areas. It sits at the upper end of the Roaring Fork Valley and offers interesting history, challenging outdoor recreation opportunities, abundant cultural activities, pleasant climate and beautiful natural scenery. Aspen is world renowned for its downhill skiing and snowboarding. Aspen Mountain rises imposingly from town while Snowmass, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk are within 12 miles of town.

Most of the area around Aspen is public land within the White River National Forest. The spectacular Elk Mountains rise to the south and west, with the Williams Mountains and the Sawatch Range to the east. These mountains are cut by beautiful alpine valleys. The Maroon Creek, Castle Creek and Hunter Creek Valleys are all easily accessible from town. Much of the high mountain area surrounding Aspen lies within designated wilderness areas in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass, Hunter-Fryingpan and Collegiate Peaks wildernesses.

Attractions - Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk ski areas are the most popular attractions in the Aspen area but are far from the only ones. The Maroon Bells are some of the most photographed mountains in North America and are a popular destination. In addition to the restored historic buildings within the town of Aspen, Ashcroft and Independence are well preserved ghost towns which offer a scenic outing and a glimpse into the region's rich mining history. The Roaring Fork and Fryingpan Rivers provide anglers with some of the best trout fishing in the state. Independence Pass, a main summer route into town, Castle Creek Road to Ashcroft, and Maroon Creek Road are all paved roads offering spectacular scenery. Most of the high mountain area surrounding Aspen lies within designated wilderness areas in the Maroon Bells- Snowmass, Hunter-Fryingpan, and Collegiate Peaks Wildernesses.

Recreation - While downhill skiing and snowboarding are Aspen's best known recreational pursuits, winter enthusiasts are not restricted to the formal constraints of the mountains. Backcountry skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, winter hut trips, and snow camping opportunities in this region rival any in the country.

When the snow melts, Aspen offers an abundance of of opportunities for hiking , backpacking, camping, mountain biking, climbing, fly-fishing, horseback riding, kayaking, whitewater rafting, hunting, and paragliding. A visitor to the Aspen area can find high quality permutations of almost every outdoor activity imaginable. Though you cant surf ocean waves, locals can be found surfing waves of the Roaring Fork River in their kayaks.

Climate - In the valley bottoms, summer high temperatures extend into the 70's and mid 80s, with cool evenings that can often dip into the 30s. Winter lows occasionally dip to minus 30 degrees, though daytime temperatures are often in the 20s to 30s. The relative humidity is quite low throughout the year. Much of the area and its recreation facilities lie at higher elevations where significantly lower temperatures and more precipitation can be expected. Afternoon summer thunderstorms are common. Snow is possible at any time of year in the highest elevations. The high elevation roads and trails are often not clear of snow until mid-July.

Location - Aspen is located in west-central Colorado, 40 miles southeast of Glenwood Springs on Colorado Highway 82. During the winter months this is the only highway access into Aspen. During the summer months, Aspen can be accessed from the east, over scenic Independence Pass, on Highway 82. Independence Pass is normally closed from early November through May.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Dan Fargo (San Clemente, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Drove into Aspen over Pearl Pass and up Castle Creek, what a beautiful entrance to the city! Forest Service said pass was still closed but Jeep clubs had it right, they had opened it. Did have a sweet and short slide down one last small snow bank near the peak pass.

Filed By: John Grounds (Palm Beach, Florida)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Excelent private water fly fishing on the Roaring Fork with Freestone Outfitters.Me and my daughter landed about 25 or 30 trout in an afternoon.Excent guide,patient instructors.

Filed By: craig (colorado springs, co)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: climbed Pyramid peak sept 7, had some wet conditions and ice on summit rocks in places, was clear but windy on top. Climbed different route up west face. 7th time for me.

Filed By: Marshall Hall
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Aspen is a great deal of fun to visit and has incredible outdoor recreation opportunities. The summers are even better than the winters with lots more to do. Don't miss the Maroon Bells, but be sure to plan on taking the bus up there.


More Information

Contact Information:
Aspen Chamber Resort Association, 425 Rio Grande Pl. , Aspen, CO, 81611, Phone: 970-925-1940

Additional Information:
Colorado Community Areas - Colorado's diverse communities include metropolitan areas, posh ski resorts and rustic mountain towns.
Northwest Region - This diverse area encompasses mountains and high desert. The terrain supports a huge variety of recreation opportunities and some of Colorado's world famous resorts.
Roaring Fork Valley Area - The Roaring Fork Valley consists of the Roaring Fork River drainage. It begins in the east at Independence Pass, where the headwaters of the river lie, and includes everything west to Glenwood Springs, where the Roaring Fork empties into the Colorado River.

Links:
Aspen Center for Environmental Studies - A non-profit environmental education center located within the Hallam Lake Nature Preserve.
Aspen Chamber Resort Association - Visitor information provided by the Aspen Chamber Resort Association..
Aspen Music Festival - The world famous Aspen Music Festival features classical music concerts in a specially designed tent.
Aspen Times' Snowmass Coverage - The oldest of Aspen's two newspapers has an online section devoted to Snowmass Village.
Foret Conservancy - Current Information From Local Volunteers, conditions and Closings
Independence Pass Foundation - Non-profit dedicated towards preserving Independence Pass. Special emphasis on staballizing and revegetating road-cuts on highway 82.
Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers - Volunteer Opportunities In This Area
Ute City Photo - View local photographer Robbie George's stunning landscape, wildlife and sporting event photographs of Aspen.
White River National Forest - Official Forest Service website.
WHO Press - WHO Press specializes in guidebooks about Aspen, Colorado, and the Roaring Fork Valley.

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