Side Trip: Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES)

Explore food, farming, and fun with ACES at Rock Bottom Ranch! Rock Bottom Ranch is an educational farm, wildlife preserve, and visitor center between the Roaring Fork River and the Rio Grande Trail in Basalt. The site is operated by the non-profit Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) and features a unique brand of eco-agriculture that melds 113 acres of wild lands and pristine riparian habitats with agriculture production and education. At Rock Bottom Ranch, ACES models agriculture systems that prioritize ecosystem health, energy efficiency, carbon sequestration, land stewardship, animal welfare, and social heritage. In 2015, Rock Bottom Ranch was the first farm in Colorado to be Certified Wildlife Friendly. The Ranch’s livestock are pasture-raised, GMO-free, and Animal Welfare Approved, certifying that they were raised to the highest animal welfare standards. Products include: eggs, pork, lamb, chicken, RBR/Cap-K Ranch beef, salad greens, over 100 varieties of vegetables, tomatoes, herbs, and more. When in season, products can be purchased at the Ranch Store during open hours and at local farmers’ markets. Visitors will enjoy exploring the Ranch on the Eco-Ed trail system and bike byway featuring a playscape and 5 interactive outdoor classrooms, seeing the farm animals and gardens, and learning where food comes from. ACES offers programs for all ages at Rock Bottom Ranch, including Farm Tours, classes and cooking demonstrations for adults, Farm to Table dinner events, and more! Kids camps are offered during the summer and Spring Break featuring farm, food, adventure, and science themes and many partnership camps focused on art, photography, fishing, and more. A camper shuttle from Hallam Lake to Rock Bottom Ranch and back is offered during certain weeks of the summer. For more adventures, visit ACES at Hallam Lake in Aspen or explore the Roaring Fork Valley on guided hikes and snowshoe tours with ACES Naturalists, offered year-round.