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Colorado > White River National Forest > Aspen Ranger District
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Aspen Ranger District

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Aspen Trails- The City of Aspen's trail system provides both summer and winter use making it one of the largest trails systems in Colorado. Hikers, Bikers and Cross-Country Skiers have many choices at all ability levels.
Aspen/Snowmass Vicinity- The area around the towns of Aspen and Snowmass Village offer an impressive array of hiking trails, bike paths and parks to choose from, four world class ski areas, and a nordic trail system in the winter.
Capitol/Snowmass Creek Area- This area includes the Capitol and Snowmass Creek drainages, to the northwest of Aspen and southwest of Basalt.
Castle Creek Area- The Castle Creek Area and Castle Creek Valley leads to the south of Aspen. It includes attractions such as Conundrum Creek, Ashcroft, Montezuma Basin, Taylor Pass and Express Creek.
Collegiate Peaks Wilderness- The Collegiate Peaks Wilderness encompasses 167,994 acres in central Colorado.
Hunter Creek Area- This area is located immediately east of Aspen. The Hunter Creek Valley serves as Aspen's backyard for easily accessible recreation activities such as hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness- The Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness comprises 82,729 acres in the White River National Forest in central Colorado.
Independence Pass Area- The Independence Pass Area is located east of Aspen and offers a high concentration of attractions in a scenic alpine setting. The pass is closed in winter to vehicular traffic with the exception of snowmobiles.
Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness- The Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness comprises 180,962 acres of the Elk Mountains in central Colorado.
Maroon Creek Area- The Maroon Bells Recreation Area is located southwest of Aspen and is subject to entrance fees. The most photographed peaks in North America, the spectacular Maroon Bells, are the focal point of this area.
Woody Creek/Kobey Park Area- Kobey Park, above the old sawmill at Lenado, is a historic logging area with many spur roads. It affords a beautiful view of the Elk Mountains, Williams Mountains, and the Sawatch Range.

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General Information

Maroon Bells in early autumn
Copyright: - US Forest Service
Maroon Bells in early autumn
Description - The Aspen Ranger District surrounds the resort town of Aspen, at the upper end of the Roaring Fork River Valley. It encompasses some spectacular mountain terrain in the Elk Mountains, and Sawatch Range.

Attractions - The Aspen Ranger District offers world-class skiing and snowboarding at it's four mounrin resorts: Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass and Buttermilk. On average, about 300 inches of snow falls per year. Cross- country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and back country hut trips are available as well.

The availability and diversity of outdoor activities during the summer months is amazing. Aspen is located in the middle fo the spectacular Elk Mountains. Some of the most picturesque mountains in the country can be found on this district, including the Maroon Bells and several other fourteen-thousand-foot peaks. Portions of the Maroon Bells- Snowmass, Hunter-Fryingpan, and Collegiate Peaks wilderness areas are located in the Aspen Ranger District. The Maroon Creek, Castle Creek and Hunter Creek Valleys are all easily accessible from town.

Recreation - Aspen is best known for its downhill skiing. The athletes mountain has mostly difficult terrain and doesn't allow snowboarding except under rare circumstances. Snowboarders need not worry because of the excellent nearby mountains, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass. These are some of the best downhill snow riding opportunities in the world.

Winter enthusiasts are not restricted to the formal constraints of the ski resorts. Backcountry skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and snow camping opportunities in this region rival any in the state.

When the snow melts, Aspenites can hike, bike, climb, and paraglide to their hearts content. As far as I can tell, you can find high quality permutations of every outdoor activity imaginable, save ocean sports. Though you cant surf ocean waves, locals have been know to surf waves in the river in their kayaks. All in all, the Aspen area offers the opportunity for high-quality outdoor experiences.

Climate - In the valley bottoms, summer high temperatures extend into the 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. Most 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 - The Aspen Ranger District is located in the White River National Forest on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. The district begins on the Continental Divide and encompasses the headwaters of the Roaring Fork River. Its boundaries include segments of the Hunter-Fryingpan, Mt. Massive, Collegiate Peaks and Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Areas. The Ranger Offices are located on Highway 82 on the northwest side of town.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Ranger Tip: Summer is coming slowly to the Aspen area. The snowline is about 10,000 feet for south facing slopes and only 9,000 feet for north facing slopes. Independence pass is now open and the snow drifts at the top are quite impressive.

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: Angie Neis (Johnson City, TN)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I was wondering what hikers were saying about Conundrum.

More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Contact Information:
Aspen Ranger District, 806 W. Hallam , Aspen, CO, 81611, Phone: 970-925-3445

Additional Information:
Aspen Area - Aspen sits at the upper end of the scenic Roaring Fork Valley, in the mountains of west-central Colorado. Aspen is a world-class ski resort, and with its mountain setting, a center for endless other outdoor recreation activities.
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.
White River National Forest - The White River National Forest encompasses two and one-quarter million acres of Colorado's central mountains, including many of Colorado's resort destinations.

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies - A non-profit environmental education center located within the Hallam Lake Nature Preserve.
Aspen Times' Snowmass Coverage - The oldest of Aspen's two newspapers has an online section devoted to Snowmass Village.
Forest 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.
White River National Forest - Official Forest Service website.


Local Lodging

Stay at the Aspen Square Hotel
Stay at the Aspen Square Hotel

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