Established in 1901, Basalt is a small mountain town nestled in the Roaring Fork Valley. It’s located about 18 miles northwest of Aspen at an elevation of 6,611 feet.
Situated in both Eagle and Pitkin counties, the town had 3,984 recorded residents in 2020. The statutory town has several commercial businesses catering to locals and tourists. Visitors come through town en route to Aspen, and to enjoy the local nature.
Originally the town was called Aspen Junction because it was a train junction between Ute City and Aspen. It was later renamed Basalt after the basaltic rock formation on Basalt Mountain.
A notable feature of town are the kilns located in Arbaney Park. These were constructed in the early 1880s, as demand for smelting increased. Each kiln is 25 feet high, and has two holes for ventilation and addition of fuel for the fires.
These kilns eventually created a small community called Fryingpan. In 1887, Aspen Junction was settled right across the river, and many of Fryingpan’s residents quickly relocated. In 1901 the settlement was officially incorporated.
Ruedi Reservoir – Although closed in the winter, Ruedi Reservoir attracts recreationists the rest of the year. The boating and fishing are great on the 1000-acre reservoir. There are also campgrounds by the lake.
Crown Mountain Park – Offers spectacular views of the mountain range and ample space to spread out and enjoy nature. There are baseball, lacrosse, and soccer fields as well as a BMX track. They offer year-round programming and rentals as well.
Biking – There are dozens of outstanding mountain bike trails in the region, the closest being in Glassier Open Space. Snowmass also offers lift-accessed downhill mountain biking and a terrain park within 15 miles of town.
- Basalt is the gateway to Ruedi Reservoir, just up Frying Pan Road. There is dispersed camping and campgrounds in that area.
- The Roaring Fork Valley has the most abundant camping, with options near Maroon Bells and Independence Pass.
- Basalt is surrounded by the White River National Forest that has many campgrounds. Popular ones include Molli B, Ruedi Marina, and Little Maud campgrounds.
- Read about camping near Basalt, Snowmass and Aspen.
Fishing – The Frying Pan River passes through downtown, providing year round fishing. It’s a Gold Medal trout waters area so the quality is great. There’s also Ruedi Reservoir, which adds boating to the mix.
- Read about the lakes and rivers to fish around Aspen.
- Just south of town you’ll find Arbaney Park, and Arbaney Kittle trailhead, a local favorite. The trail totals 20 miles out and back, but you can catch beautiful views within the first 2 miles.
- Basalt River Park is a newly constructed riverfront walking trail system that is great for low-impact adventures.
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Basalt Mountain Inn – Nestled in the middle of historic downtown, you will find this recently renovated Inn. It has great proximity to outdoor recreation and suites to accommodate larger groups.
Aspenalt Lodge – Features a very convenient location to both downtown and Frying Pan River. This lodge is the perfect cozy mountain getaway.
Element Basalt – Element is oriented toward nature lovers, with spacious outdoor areas to relax and even a market to grab snacks before your next adventure.
Read about the best hotels in Basalt.
Wienerstube Restaurant – A uniquely decorated restaurant serving up authentic German dishes and beer.
Sure Thing Burger – Delicious, hearty burger baskets and if you stick around after your meal, they’ll treat you to free ice cream.
Scottie’s – Cozy local spot offering a wide selection of breakfast and lunch dishes.
May – Motors on Midland – Downtown’s historic avenue is filled with classic, cool cars during this annual get together. There is also a beer garden and food vendors for a full day of fun.
Jun-Sep – Basalt Sunday Market – Join local producers and vendors for a weekly farmer’s market in front of Town Hall.
Jul – Basalt River Rendezvous – You can find the perfect summer night activity at this annual festival held by the Roaring Fork Conservancy. Celebrate and learn about the local waterways and how to preserve them.
Nov – Taste of Basalt – An indoor event held to benefit local schools, this food and wine tasting night is a great way to warm up and support the community.
Dec – Holiday Tree Lightings – There are two separate lightings in town, typically held on consecutive Sundays. The events include horse drawn carriages, s’more making, caroling, and more.
Activities near Basalt
- Fryingpan River
- Lake Ann Reservoir (11mi)
- Roaring Fork River
- Thomas Lakes (11mi)
- Ruedi Reservoir (18mi)
- White River National Forest
- Hagerman Pass 4×4 (41mi)
- Aspen (22mi)
- Carbondale (11mi)
- El Jebel (4mi)
- Glenwood Springs (23mi)
- Marble (40mi)
- Paonia (70mi)
- Redstone (29mi)
- Snowmass Village (16mi)
- Woody Creek (11mi)
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