Quick Guide to The Roaring Fork Valley
I have been spending more and more time in the Roaring Fork Valley recently and have really fallen in love with the area. Not only is it beautiful with lots of access to outdoor adventures it’s only ~ 3-hour drive from Denver and has lots of great restaurants and shopping too! You may here people say “Up Valley” which means toward Aspen and “Down Valley” which means Glenwood Springs.
This cute little town has a surprising number of highly-rated restaurants and home to our favorite spot to stop in for a drink after fishing or a long hike.
Tipsy Trout – This dog-friendly restaurant and bar is right on the Frying Pan River with a big shady porch over the river and garage doors all around make this place breeze and cool on a hot summer day. The trout dip is yummy!
Free Range – This restaurant not only has tasty food but amazing service. We called to get a table and the hostess said they were booked but then called back 5 minutes later with an opening!
Other places to try: Heathers Savory Pies, CC Cafe, Mod’s Thai House, BLT Taqueria
A friend’s mom recently moved to Carbondale and when we went to visit early this summer we really fell in love with the area.
White House Pizza – Pizza, yes, please! They also have a dog friendly on the back patio
Carbondale Beer Works – Stop in for a beer or cocktail and a snack after a long hike
It’s been a while since we spent a substantial amount of time in Glenwood Springs but I have a quick guide you can read here with restaurant recommendations.
Glenwood also has great shopping! Stop in Bullocks to find a great cowboy or river hat. I got a great one I have been wearing all summer long!
Snowmass is really a ski resort but is great to visit or stay year-round as you’re right in the middle of everything in the valley. Read my guide to Snowmass here.
Aspen is the further point “up” in the valley and well it’s Aspen. It’s pretty, can be really crowded and expensive. Be ready to spend a pretty penny but also great people watching! Read my post on Aspen here and all about visiting the Maroon Bells here.
What To Do In The Roaring Fork Valley
Golf – There are a few public courses in the area including The Ranch at Roaring Fork Par 3, 9 hole course that Clay and I have played in the fall.
Ski – Aspen & Snowmass dominate skiing in the area but there is also this little resort called Sunlight I skied years ago. If you are looking for an off-the-beaten-path small family resort check this place out.
Cool Off – Besides floating down the Roaring Fork River, Ruedi Reservoir is the perfect place to spend a day on the water. Rent a boat or SUP and explore the giant reservoir. We spent an afternoon here after fishing with a little picnic and a few dips in the cold water were super refreshing.
Fly Fishing – The RFV has some amazing fly fishing. The frying pan river that flows north of Rudie Resivour through Basalt is considered Gold Medal Water Fishing. Fly shops are great for getting recommendations of where to fish and what to fish with – be sure to stop in before you hit the river.
Float – Grab sup or inflatable kayak and float the Roaring Fork from Carbondale to Glenwood Springs. The river is fairly mellow and totally doable on a SUP. We floated on a friend’s raft and had a leisurely booze cruise. You can also SUP around Aspen, get more info here.
Where to Stay in the Roaring Fork Valley
Airbnb – We typically prefer to stay in Airbnbs and RFV has a lot and a lot of very fancy expensive ones as you get closer to Aspen. Best to book in advance to get a good deal
Camp – There are a number of the designated campgrounds in the area check out recreation.gov for more info. Another option is booking with Hipcamp, we found a great option super close to Basalt on Hipcamp.
Hotels – I have only stayed in hotels in Aspen and Snowmass, thus far so here are some recommended ones in the area.
I hope to add more recommendations after another visit to the area this fall!