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From Basalt to New Castle, Which Roaring Fork Community Is Right for You?

The Roaring Fork Valley is home to several vibrant communities, each with its own unique character and charm. From luxury living in Aspen to endless outdoor family adventure in Snowmass, Roaring Fork has something for everyone. Read on to find out which Roaring Fork community is right for you.


Known as the epicenter of the famous ski resort, Aspen is where luxury meets outdoor adventure. Here you’ll find year-round opportunities for outdoor activities, gourmet restaurants, luxe shopping, and a rich arts and culture scene.

aspen mountain

Credit: Jonathan Ross/Getty


Aspen’s thriving downtown boasts world-class shopping, an impressive culinary scene, dynamic culture, and vibrant nightlife. Small-town charm combined with enthralling culture and the features of a cosmopolitan city make Aspen the perfect playground for anyone seeking luxe living and adventure.

Year-round adventure abounds in Aspen. It’s easy to walk a few blocks to access the ski slopes of Aspen Mountain for a few runs before après-ski and dinner at numerous gourmet restaurants offering international flavors. Known as a summer/winter camp for adults, Aspen offers skiing, snowboarding, hiking, biking, fly-fishing, and more.


Luxury penthouses and condos, plus some single-family homes, duplexes, or townhomes tucked in, dominate the residential options in Aspen’s core.


As one of the world’s top-rated family ski destinations, Snowmass is perfect for families and outdoor enthusiasts. It even boasts the most ski-in/out ownership opportunities with both single-family home, condo, and fractional ownership options.


The laid-back family destination of Aspen’s four mountains, Snowmass offers miles of ski and bike trails, abundant hiking paths, numerous restaurants, and ample shops to satisfy every family member. Snowmass Village is coming of age and offers attractive alternatives for those seeking large family retreats.


The areas of Woodrun, Ridge Run, Fox Run, The Pines, Two Creeks, and The Divide are highly sought-after by those seeking ski-in/out homes. Melton Ranch and Horse Ranch offer all-day sun with easy access to the slopes utilizing the town’s transportation system. Snowmass Mountain’s top-rated ski school is the icing on the cake for multigenerational families who favor life in the Village.

Condominiums along Fanny Hill and the Owl Creek Townhomes at Two Creeks offer direct ski access and are family favorites.


Located just down the valley from Aspen, Basalt is the closest town to the ski resorts and is where rivers, recreation, and culture meet. It began as a railroad town and was known as Aspen Junction until 1895 when the name was changed to Basalt. The name was taken from the basaltic rock formation of Black Mountain, which is now known as Basalt Mountain.


The Basalt community is family-oriented, with school booster clubs and a plethora of events that bring together family and neighbors. During the summer, the community plays host to a farmers market, concert series, and movies in the park, as well as many other events sprinkled in throughout the year.

Basalt is a haven for anglers and water devotees. The gold medal trout waters of the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan rivers are optimal for fly-fishing, while the Ruedi Reservoir is perfect for boating, sailing, and paddleboarding. Lake Catherine, located in the hills above town, is filled with trout and perfect for a family fishing outing. There are endless trails for hiking and biking, as well as plenty of camping sites. Not to be overlooked, the elegant Roaring Fork Club offers championship golf, incredible dining, and an unparalleled fishing program.


There are many communities and neighborhoods to choose from in Basalt, including those that line the banks of the Frying Pan River, the flanks of Mountain Sopris, the high mesa of Missouri Heights, and the walkable enclaves surrounding downtown.


Seeking Aspen’s year-round, high-altitude playground without the elevated prices? The lower Roaring Fork Valley may be right for you.


Nestled at the base of Mount Sopris, Carbondale is a quaint town brimming with activity. Its Main Street is lined with gourmet restaurants, local artisan galleries, and unique shops offering gear for the outdoorsy. Festivals and family events happen almost weekly. On the first Friday of each month, residents deck out their bikes with lights and ornaments and parade through town. This monthly event has taken on a life of its own and has expanded into themed First Fridays. Other events include a farmers’ market and rodeo in the summer. The annual 5Point Film Festival and Carbondale Mountain Fair are beloved events as well.

The great outdoors meets innovation in Carbondale, which has become an incubator for young businesses, from creators of outdoor gear to purveyors of fine spirits. The community has a tremendous support system to help small businesses succeed.


Carbondale is filled with unique homes. You’ll find large working ranches in the “backcountry,” plus lofts, Victorians, single-family homes, and condos in the restaurant/shopping-rich cores of town.

Thanks to the Roaring Fork and Crystal Rivers, which meander through the Carbondale valley, there is plenty of riverfront living as well as mountainside homesteads. Another draw to the lower Roaring Fork Valley are the golf course communities of River Valley Ranch and Aspen Glen, which offer top-notch courses, the latter of which was designed by Jack Nicklaus.

Glenwood Springs

Glenwood Springs is located in the narrow mountain valleys where the Colorado River and the Roaring Fork River come together. The surrounding terrain is steeply contoured on all sides and features numerous caves. Extensive geothermal resources exist in the area, which manifests in the local hot springs.

Glenwood Springs is one of the most walkable towns in America, a distinction that has been recognized by PBS and Walking Magazine. It’s even included in the Walking Town Hall of Fame. The town’s dense amenities and constrained geography make Glenwood Springs a natural environment for pedestrians and cyclists. There are also extensive trails running throughout and around the city.

The Glenwood Springs economy has centered on hospitality for vacationers since its founding, unlike many of Colorado’s mountain towns, which were generally settled for mining or railroad purposes. Glenwood Springs has consistently attracted visitors and thus never experienced the busts or quiet years most mountain towns have endured.

Much of this tourism, particularly during the summer months, involves local outdoor sports and the town’s amenities. In the winter, visitors are drawn to the proximity of Glenwood Springs to multiple major ski resorts, as well as its hot springs.

Glennwood Springs

Credit: Glenwood Hot Springs Resort

Glenwood Springs also serves as a bedroom community for Aspen and Vail. Many people who work in Glenwood Springs, in turn, live further down the Colorado River.

Colorado River Valley

The Colorado River Valley is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who are seeking more laid-back living in the wilderness. The area is home to several charming and historic towns with close-knit populations, such as New Castle, Silt, and Rifle.

These communities strive to differentiate themselves from countless other rural communities that have endured multiple boom-and-bust economic cycles. The communities’ common goals for the economic future are becoming a reality — it’s becoming known not only for its energy industry and outdoor activities but for its outside-the-box thinking in shaping the way people live and work in a vibrant, competitive business environment.

The Colorado River Valley is where the Old West meets the New West. While a rich western heritage and history are deeply woven into the fabric of these communities, they are also innovative and progressive. Residents also benefit from the amenities in neighboring towns, which are just a short drive away.

New Castle

New Castle is a historic coal-mining town that is now one of the fastest-growing communities on the Western Slope. Situated on the western edge of the Rocky Mountains, New Castle offers easy access to several municipal parks and trails. The Colorado River flows through the town, providing opportunities for trout fishing, white water rafting, boating, and more. The neighboring Glenwood Springs provides convenient access to cultural activities, restaurants, shopping, and more.


A rich history and a strong sense of community-run deep in this charming town. The community is perfect for those who seek a quintessential small-town living and a close-knit population.



Located at the base of the White River Plateau, Rifle is surrounded by the White River National Forest. Much like Silt and New Castle, Rifle is ideal for anyone seeking a quiet sanctuary set amongst the wilderness, but it’s just a short drive from amenities in neighboring towns.

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