Carbondale Attractions

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

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The town of Carbondale, Colorado is an outdoors lover’s paradise in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. Carbondale attractions include excellent cross-country skiing, mountain biking, kayaking and hiking.

Cross-country skiing near Carbondale. (Photo by Jack Dawson)

Carbondale area lodging is generally more affordable than nearby Aspen’s, and comes in many forms, from historic luxurious hotels to  family-friendly national chain hotels.

Read below for a list of a few things to do in Carbondale on your next visit to Colorado.

Scenic Drive
The West Elk Scenic Byway is one of the state’s most beautiful drives, and winds through the Crystal River Valley, over McClure Pass to Crawford and Crested Butte, then over Kebler Pass and back to Carbondale.

Outdoors Activities
Kayaking and fly-fishing are great in the surrounding rivers and mountain streams in Carbondale. Mountain biking and hiking are other out-of-water activities worth checking out.

Downhill Skiing near Carbondale
You’ll have your choice of ski mountains while staying in Carbondale. Its just about 30 miles from Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass (all part of the same company), as well as Sunlight Mountain Resort outside of Glenwood Springs, to the south.

Cross-Country Skiing near Carbondale
Travel just seven miles west of Carbondale to reach the Spring Gulch Nordic Trail System. This area has over 12 kilometers of groomed trails that are open to visitors free of charge. The trail system is maintained and operated by the Mount Sopris Nordic Council, a community-based non-profit organization.

Another cross-country trail is the 5 kilometer Redstone Stables, 18 miles south of Carbondale. And if you’re willing to go as far as Aspen, you’ll be greeted with over 80 kilometers of free, beautifully groomed and linked trails.

If you’re looking for backcountry trails, Avalanche Creek, off of Highway 133 is a good option for snowshoers and skiers. The trail goes up the steep-walled valley along Avalanche Creek, but once you enter the Wilderness Area past the campground, you may need to break your own trail. McClure Pass offers similar backcountry cross-country skiing. Its altitude brings lots of snow, so conditions will almost always be good. Part of the route winds through a peaceful forest up to a ridge. Although its more work than a traditional trail, you’ll be rewarded with unspoiled wilderness and stunning silence that the Rocky Mountains have in the winter.

This area of Colorado has multiple world-class courses, including a Jack Nicklaus course along the Roaring Fork River (Aspen Glen Club). Ranch at Roaring Fork Golf Course and River Valley Ranch Golf Course are two other great ones to check out.

Downtown Carbondale
The downtown of this small Colorado town has lots of shops. Browse their gift shops and art galleries for excellent handmade ceramics made in the area. Carbondale restaurants offer many delicious options, begging repeat visits.

Colorado Rockies Activities

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