Carbondale, Colorado

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Written by Cassidy Barnes posted on Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

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Carbondale, Colorado is one of the best adventure towns in the country and is located about 170 miles west of Denver and 30 miles from the village of Aspen.

View of Mount Sopris, the dominating mountain south of Carbondale. (Colorado Tourism Office)

In winter, it’s a smart choice to cut down on expenses by staying in Carbondale lodging and then commute to the big name resorts!

Mount Sopris, at 12,953 feet, dominates the landscape surrounding Carbondale. The magnificent mountain south of town meets crystal waters here to provide breathtaking views in all directions.

The waters in the area are the Roaring Fork River, which continues upstream to Aspen and downstream to its mouth at Glenwood Springs, and the Crystal River.

Carbondale gets its name from the first settlers’ hometown of Carbondale, Pennsylvania. As coincidence has it, it is also a good place for coal reserves.

Although Carbondale was not a major mining site, its beginnings had to do with the gold rush. The town was an agricultural center, which provided provisions for the workers in big gold and silver mining towns like Aspen.

Because of Aspen’s hyperinflation in real estate prices, Carbondale also serves as a bedroom community for workers in the mega resort town.

It’s altitude of 6,181 feet, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, allows it 295 days of sunshine a year with low humidity. Winters are cold but mild and summers are temperate.

All the opportunities for outdoor sports make this a great place to live or visit. Kayaking, mountain biking, fly fishing are popular summer activities in Carbondale.

The winter brings on the ski season, with excellent family skiing at nearby Buttermilk Ski Area or Sunlight Mountain Resort. Experts and those who are up for a challenge should try the legendary Aspen and Snowmass resorts.

Cross-country skiing is excellent in Spring Gulch, just seven miles outside of Carbondale. This trail system has 12 miles of smooth paths and is free and open to the public, although buying a membership is encouraged.

Downtown Carbondale has art galleries, boutiques, gift shops, and a number of great restaurants.

To learn more about the history of the region, head to The Mount Sopris Historical Museum. Just look for a hundred old two-story log cabin.

Town festivals include the Carbondale Mountain Fair in July and the Potato Day Parade and Festival in October, celebrating the town’s agricultural beginnings.

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