Whether you are driving, biking or taking RFTA, there are many ways to explore Basalt and the Roaring Fork Valley.
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 as it is the opposite of using compass directions. For example: If you are in Willits, you need to head upvalley to visit downtown Basalt. RFTA, buses are either designated as headed upvalley toward Aspen or downvalley toward Glenwood Springs.
Several different airport shuttles and buses are available from these airports:
- Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (ASE) 25 minutes
- Denver International Airport (DIA) 3.5 hours
- Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT) 2 hours
- Eagle County Regional Airport | Vail (EGE) 1 hour
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. NOTE: Basalt has a 2-minute idling ordinance. Once you park, be sure to turn off your engine.
Biking is a great way to get to know Basalt, by road, bike path, or dirt trail. The Rio Grande Trail, A 42-mile rails-to-trails paved multi-use path, runs from Glenwood Springs to Aspen, offering connections to the Emma, Willits, and Basalt/Old Snowmass trails and into Basalt neighborhoods. The Rio Grande Trail is also a great way to access many mountain bike trailheads, which may not have parking located close by. Several of these trails are noted in the map insert.
In addition to the paved bike paths, Basalt is a great town for both road cycling and mountain biking. One popular ride starts in Historic Downtown and goes up Frying Pan Road to Ruedi Reservoir. 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 take advantage of the front-loading racks that are on many of RFTA’s buses (see RFTA racks below).
WE-cycle is a community-supported bikeshare offering FREE 30-minute rides. It is a fast and convenient way of getting around Aspen, Basalt, Willits, El Jebel, and Snowmass Village. Download the app Transit to sign up and access unlimited 30-minute rides. Looking for a little extra boost? Find the blue e-bikes for an accelerated ride. Leave your car parked at
your home or hotel and enjoy flexible, one-way trips to local restaurants, shopping, and RFTA bus services. Invigorate your summer with something fast, healthy and fun!
By Public Transit
New! In 2022 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., with extended hours on summer weekends (June through September). There is no service in May, October, and November. For more information and to view the current hours of operation, download the Basalt Connect app. Request a ride with a tap of a button! Additional details are on the Helpful Apps page.
Public transit in the valley is run by the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, better known as RFTA (“raft-ah”). It is a great alternative to driving in the valley. Riding RFTA between Basalt, Willits/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, buses are equipped with bike racks. Bike loading/unloading is allowed at designated stops during daylight hours. Click here for RFTA’s Bike & Ride page. Between November and April, the buses switch over to winter with racks ready to hold your skis or snowboards. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride to the mountains!