Basalt, Colorado

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Written by Cassidy Barnes posted on Friday, February 19th, 2010

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Basalt is a small mountain town in northwest Colorado. Basalt attractions include world-class skiing at Snowmass and Aspen Ski Resorts and excellent Colorado fishing in the Frying Pan and Roaring Fork rivers.

Downtown Basalt, Colorado has typical Old West architecture. (Colorado Tourism Office)

Basalt lodging is much more affordable than on-resort or in-town accommodations at Aspen Ski Resort. In fact, because of the hyperinflation of Aspen real estate prices, Basalt is known as a “bedroom community” for those who work at the ski area. Current population hovers around 3,000 people.

Basalt is nestled high in the Rocky Mountains, between the Sopris and Basalt mountains. Winter cross-country skiing is fantastic in the wild, pristine mountains surrounding town. Summer brings out the hikers and mountain bikers.

Glenwood Springs is close by to the north, and the town of Aspen is just to the south on Colorado Highway 82. You’ll pass Snowmass before getting to Aspen. Ski resorts are within 15 miles both up and down the valley.

Basalt is arguably the best place to fly-fish in Colorado. One thing is for sure, all you anglers out there will be in heaven. The area is situated at the confluence of two gold-medal rivers: the Frying Pan and the Roaring Fork.

The Roarking Fork is said to get its name because it actually roars out of the Sawatch Range east of Aspen. The Frying Pan is called such because of the way it flows high and  wide at certain times of year.

This area is a favorite tailwater for huge rainbow trout, and thus anglers as well. The rivers get crowded in the summer, but thin out a lot in the fall, winter and spring. The fishing is great all year round! 

Whitewater rafting is great on the Roaring Fork, which is a wild, undammed river in its entirety. Take the river from west of Aspen to Basalt for a serious rafting or kayaking trip. If you’re looking for more of a pleasure float, take a leisurely trip down the 12-mile lower part of the river from Basalt to Carbondale.

The Ruedi Reservoir is a gorgeous body of water fit for windsurfing, sailing and even skiing. Basalt is surrounded by the White River National Forest, a great place to take part in their famous area fishing and hiking.

Warm, cozy accommodations right in Basalt are within walking distance to great shopping and dining. Take your pick between over 20 restaurants and window shop (and really shop) in countless boutiques and specialty stores in this quaint mountain town.

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