Description - The small town of Basalt lies at the confluence of the Roaring Fork and the Fryingpan Rivers. The nearest highway to Basalt is Colorado 82 which passes through the southern end of town.
Copyright: Zander Higbie-Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Fryingpan River, between Basalt and Ruedi Reservoir
- Basalt lies at the confluence of the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan Rivers. Following the waters of the Frying Pan River to the east will bring you to Ruedi Reservoir, an area of diverse recreation opportunities. Basalt is surrounded by the public lands of the White River National Forest.
Recreation - Winter recreation opportunities in the Basalt Area include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and backcountry skiing. The warmer months bring access to white water rafting, kayaking, hiking, backpacking, biking and horseback riding. The Ruedi Reservoir area supports six developed campgrounds and several picnic areas. Also around the lake visitors will find fishing and boating access. The Roaring Fork and Fryingpan Rivers offer world-class fly and cast fishing waters.
The Forest Service administers the area campgrounds which have varying levels of service and facilities. Backcountry and dispersed camping opportunities also exist in the Basalt area. When camping outside of designated campgrounds, be sure to follow the backcountry and dispersed camping regulations, and Leave No Trace principles to ensure the next visitor an equal experience.
The Eagle-Thomasville Road and Hagerman Pass both provide scenic drives. Hagerman Pass is a 4wd road; the Eagle-Thomasville road is passable in 2wd vehicles when dry. Neither road is maintained in the winter months and Hagerman Pass would often be impassable until well into July due to snow.
Popular winter recreation activities include cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. The Tenth Mountain Hut System cuts across the eastern end of the area and provides a hut-to-hut trail system for cross-country skiing. Great snowmobiling exists in many of the non-wilderness portions of the area.
Climate - Elevations range from 6,500 feet around the town of Basalt, to over 13,000 feet in the Sawatch Range. Vegetation includes piñon and juniper forests, hay meadows and sagebrush at lower elevations; aspen and lodgepole pine at intermediate elevations; Engelmann spruce/subalpine fir forests above about 10,000 feet and alpine tundra at the highest elevations.
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.
Basalt is located in the Roaring Fork Valley, between Aspen and Glenwood Springs. It is approximately 185 miles west of Denver, on Colorado Highway 82. The Basalt area includes a portion of the Roaring Fork Valley and the entire Frying Pan River drainage from Hagerman Pass west to Basalt.