Basalt welcomes Ride the Rockies participants
This page is intended for cyclists and support crew participating in the 2022 Ride the Rockies. If you are a Roaring Fork Valley resident or a local business, there is a separate page detailing relevant details for locals.
This website is a great resource for information. Be sure to explore the Discover section to learn more about the area. The Directory section lists Basalt Chamber member businesses by industry, so you can sort by categories including shopping, dining, or outdoor recreation activities.
The 2022 Discover Basalt magazine is full of articles, itineraries and other content highlighting things to do while you are visiting, including the Cycle of Life article, starting on page 66.
On Monday, June 13, 2022, the Basalt Chamber of Commerce staff is hosting an Information Booth at the festival location in Lions Park, right next to our iconic red caboose. We will be there from noon–4 p.m. to answer your questions and point you in the right direction. Stop by and say “hi”!
Basalt is a small town (population 4,412) located in the heart of the Roaring Fork Valley, between Glenwood Springs and Aspen, CO. Incorporated in 1901, the town has its roots in the early railroad and mining days. Today, the small community is a mecca for a variety of year-round outdoor recreation activities. The town is best known for its Gold Medal flyfishing in the Fryingpan and Roaring Fork Rivers. Basalt sits at the confluence of these two rivers, which provides plentiful trout, making it one of the best flyfishing destinations in the world.
Basalt is also a haven for road cycling and mountain biking, with miles of scenic rides on the road and local bike paths and miles of trails. One iconic road climb is the journey up to Ruedi Reservoir which is also popular for boating and camping. The variety of backcountry roads in the area provides several ways to experience the Roaring Fork Valley beyond riding the 42-mile Rio Grande Trail bike path. For those who also enjoy exploring trails by bike, the Roaring Fork Valley is one of the few IMBA designated Gold Level Ride Centers in the world, the highest distinction possible for a mountain biking community.
The town of Basalt is split into two main sections that are four miles apart, connected by Hwy 82, local roads, and a network of bike paths. On a map the town resembles a barbell or a dog bone. The two main areas of town are Historic Downtown to the east and Willits (including the commercial area Willits Town Center, which includes Whole Foods Market) to the west. El Jebel is an unincorporated area adjacent to Willits. The Ride the Rockies festivities, including the overnight town celebration and campground, are located in Historic Downtown Basalt in the east part of town (closest to Aspen).
Upvalley vs. downvalley – A primer
While in the Roaring Fork Valley, you are 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 towards Glenwood Springs).
This can be confusing to some as it is the opposite of a compass, but as a you ride towards Independence Pass, you will soon realized that “upvalley” can also translate to “uphill”. For example: If you are in Willits, you need to head upvalley (uphill) to visit Historic Downtown Basalt. In the case of RFTA, buses are either designated as headed upvalley toward Aspen or downvalley toward Glenwood Springs.
Dining & Food options
Riding makes you hungry and Basalt has several options around town.
Walking distance from Lions Park and the RTR campground
- BLT Taqueria | 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
- Brick Pony Pub | 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Butch’s Lobster Shack| Not yet open for the season
- CC Café | 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Craft Coffee | 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Free Range Kitchen | 5:30 – 9 p.m. | Reservations
- Heathers Savory Pies & Tapas | 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. | Reservations (call)
- Jalisco Grill Basalt | 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
- Stubbie’s Sports Bar & Eatery | 3 p.m. – 2 a.m.
- Tempranillo | 5 – 9 p.m.
- The Basalt Store (convenience store) | opens at 6 a.m.
- Thunder River Market/Phillips 66 (convenience store) | 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.
- Timbo’s Pizza | 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
- The Tipsy Trout | 11:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
- Two Rivers Café | 6 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. | CASH ONLY
Approximately four miles away by bike, bus or shuttle. See Getting Around for details.
- City Market | 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.
- El Korita | 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
- K’ Gen Asian Cuisine | 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
- Mezzaluna | 4:30 – 9 p.m.
- New York Pizza | 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
- Ocean Seafood and Raw Bar | 4 – 9 p.m.
- Open Sesame | 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
- Scottie’s | 6 a.m. – 3 p.m.
- Starbucks | 5 a.m. – 8 p.m.
- Sundae | 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
- Sure Thing Burger | 11 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
- Whole Foods Market | 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.
- Zane’s Tavern | 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Colorado is famous for its beer and spirits industry, so of course Basalt has its own local options. While you are here, explore a homegrown favorite – Capitol Creek Brewery (Willits).
In addition to a brewery and distillery, there are several local liquor stores, bars and restaurants around town to quench your thirst.
- Jimbo’s Fine Wine and Liquors | Downtown
- Four Dogs Fine Wine & Spirits | Willits
- El Jebeverage | Willits
Events, Activities & Discounts
Basalt Regional Library | 14 Midland Ave, Basalt • Historic Downtown
More rides for next time you visit
From Aspen Skiing Company – Aspen’s Most Popular Bike Routes:18 routes + maps for your cycling pleasure, including two in Basalt!
- Aspen > The Tipsy Trout (in Basalt)
- The Tipsy Trout > Aspen
Not mentioned: The ride up to Meredith (Ruedi Reservoir area) and back.
There are several transportation options that don’t involve a bike. Below is a highlight of options. More details are on the main Transportation page.
Basalt Connects | on-demand rides
The Town of Basalt is piloting a service that provides free, on-demand rides in Basalt – named Basalt Connects. The service is provided by one 12 rider transit van and an eight-passenger van that can accommodate a wheelchair. Rides are available between Willits and Downtown, and neighborhoods within the town boundaries. Basalt Connect operates daily between 6-9 a.m. and 3-10 p.m. For more information and to view the current hours of operation, download the Basalt Connect app (Apple Store | Google Play). Request a ride with a tap of a button!
RFTA | Public transit
Public transit in the valley is run by the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, better known as RFTA (“raft-a”). It is a great alternative to driving in the valley. Riding RFTA between Basalt, Willits, and El Jebel is free for all passengers. Enjoy bus stops conveniently located near shopping, dining, and outdoor recreation. Two main bus 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, all of RFTA’s valley buses have front-load racks. There are two different kinds of bike racks on RFTA buses, racks that hold two bikes and racks that hold four bikes. It is a first-come, first-served system. Bike loading/unloading is allowed at designated stops during daylight hours. More details here.