Whether you are driving, biking or taking RFTA, there are many ways to explore Basalt and the Roaring Fork Valley.
Upvalley VS. Downvalley
While in the Roaring Fork Valley, you are more likely to hear the phrases “upvalley” and “downvalley” to either indicate relative location or direction of travel than compass points. Both are references based relative to Aspen and centered around Highway 82. “Upvalley” is always toward Aspen, where “downvalley” is always away from Aspen (and implied toward Glenwood Springs). This can be confusing as it is a bit backward when one is used to compass directions.
When you want to explore a neighborhood of Basalt, it is best to simply park and walk around. Parking is free, however certain locations do have time limits or overnight parking restrictions. Be sure to read the posted signs for details.
Biking is a great way to get to know Basalt, whether it’s on a bike path or dirt trail.
Running from Glenwood Springs to Aspen is the Rio Grande Trail, a 42-mile rails-to-trails corridor that is multi-use and paved. From the Rio Grande, you can connect to the Emma Trail, Willits Trail and the Basalt/Old Snowmass Trail to venture out into different neighborhoods in Basalt, including downtown. The Rio Grande Trail also is a great way to access mountain bike trailheads, which may not have parking located close by.
In addition to the bike paths, Basalt is a great town for both road cycling and mountain biking. One popular ride is to go from Downtown Basalt to Ruedi Reservoir up Fryingpan Road. There are several single-track trails to choose from, including Basalt Mountain Road and Buckhorn Trail. You can explore the whole Roaring Fork Valley by bike and when you are ready to head back to Basalt, feel free to to take advantage of the front-loading racks that are on all of RFTA’s buses.
Public transit in the valley is run by the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, better known as RFTA. It is a great way to get around if you don’t want to drive. It costs only $1 to go between Downtown Basalt and Willits and there is free Wi-Fi on board. Two main buses routes run through Basalt – the VelociRFTA BRT buses and the Roaring Fork Valley Local. For rapid transit, use the VelociRFTA BRT, which stops at major destinations and is the faster option for traveling longer distances, such as Basalt to Aspen. Buses are designated with a “BRT ASPEN” headsign for buses traveling upvalley or “BRT GLENWOOD” headsign for buses traveling downvalley. The Roaring Fork Valley Local stops more frequently and goes to more destinations in the valley.
Public transit is made easier for adventurers with RFTA’s seasonally based gear racks. Between April and November, the buses are equipped with bike racks. Bike loading/unloading is allowed at designated stops and this amenity can only be used during daylight hours.
Between November and April, the buses switch to the winter season with racks ready to hold your skis or snowboards. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride to the mountains!
WE-cycle is the valley’s community-supported bike share system. Sign up at we-cycle.org for access to unlimited rides of 30 minutes or less May through Nov. 1. Once signed up, you can ride in both the Aspen and Basalt systems and experience the freedom and convenience of bike share. Hop on a bike for errands, going out, to get to the bus or to and from work. The town of Basalt and Eagle County have underwritten free access to WE-cycle all season long. Invigorate your summer with something new, healthy and enjoyable.
Google Transit App
Use the Google Transit app (available for iPhone and Android) to locate the nearest RFTA stop or WE-cycle station to plan a trip. The app shows when you can catch the next bus and it updates in real time.
How to Get Here
Several different airport shuttles and buses are available from these airports. Aspen Airport (ASE) – 25 minutes Denver International Airport (DIA) – 3.5 hours Grand Junction (GJT) – 2 hours Vail/Eagle County Airport (EGE) 1 hour