North America Travel

Road Tripping Colorado USA

Aspen and Surrounding Area, Colorado USA

Location: Colorado

Inspired to explore environs closer to home, meaning in the United States, we set out on a road trip in August. Road tripping Colorado USA began in Washington State. We traveled 3375 miles through 5 states over 13 days. Our goal was only to sate a wee bit of our wanderlust and see a few towns and regions we had never visited. This is the second installment of three part series of our road trip adventures. Read installment number one here.

We left Idaho to continue our journey to the Aspen Colorado area. For all the travel we had done, even several visits to Colorado, somehow Aspen eluded me. And so why not? Aspen here I come.

Colorado border
Welcome to Colorado

Seemed easy enough, although a long drive from Sun Valley to Aspen we could do it in a day. We left early and enjoyed the beauty as we left Idaho and spent many miles through Utah and eventually crossing into Colorado.

But oh no, we could see it for miles…smoke. Something was definitely burning. We proceded but when we were about an hour from our destination of Carbondale, a small town outside of Aspen, we learned that Interstate 70 was closed due to a fire. Our only option was a four-hour detour through Grand Junction. Sigh….a long day of driving got even longer.

Grizzly Creek Fire Colorado
Grizzly Creek Fire

It was a relief to finally arrive, road weary but intact, at Cedar Ridge Ranch and our Glamping Airbnb. It was pitch black but we found our cozy tent with queen size bed ready and waiting and we collapsed into.

Cedar Ridge Ranch tent
Glamping at Cedar Ridge Ranch

At sunrise with coffee in hand we explored the ranch to see what exactly it was we had gotten ourselves into. We could see the fire burning…but felt comfortable at the distance we were at. And so we headed out to see what we came here to see.

Cedar Ridge Ranch
Grizzly Creek Fire behind Cedar Ridge Ranch

The Aspen region includes the towns of Carbondale, Basalt, Glenwood Springs, Marble and several others. Our lodgings were high above Carbondale and about a 30 minute drive to the town of Aspen.

Aspen Colorado
Slopes come right into dowtown Aspen

We spent one day in Aspen and I was amazed how the ski slopes come right down into town. It would be really fun to come back here in the winter. Aspen and all the small towns we visited were enforcing the mask wearing not only inside buildings, stores and restaurants but in all public spaces including sidewalks, parks and even on the chairlifts. Good for them.

Colorado, with a population of 5.5 million ranks 35th in the states for virus cases currently at 52,000 as of this writing.

Aspen Colorado
Mask up in Aspen

We explored the small town of Carbondale, visited the weekly farmers market, and did several morning runs along the Crystal Creek trail, an old railroad bed trail about six miles long.

We loved the tiny and historic town of Basalt, the cutest town I think of all we saw. It was really lively with street performers and lots of visitors, but still easy to social distance. We had an outstanding meal at Temparnillo. I highly recommend it.

Temparnillo Basalt Colorado
Fantastic meal at Temparnillo

We did a steep hike called Sunnyside, just outside of Aspen and boy did I feel the elevation. Starting at 7000 feet and climbing to 9500 I was breathing hard. But the views…wow. So the next day we did a long but flat 8 mile hike on the Rio Grand trail, a paved trail popular with cyclists that runs through the valley from Aspen to Glenwood Springs about 42 miles. It was a great way to exercise without the elevation gain.

Rio Grand Trail Colorado
Rio Grand Trail Aspen Valley

We squeezed in nine holes at the River Valley Ranch Golf Course on a really hot day, but we enjoyed getting to play despite the smoke billowing in the distance.

River Valley Ranch golf course
River Valley Ranch with the fire in the distance

We really loved staying at the Cedar Ridge Ranch and having the horses, cows, alpacas and chickens as our neighbors. We saw coyote, ground hogs, deer and wild turkeys. Cedar Ridge offers horse rides, farm tours, yoga and even arts and crafts. Next time we will stay longer, because our four nights zoomed by. Road Tripping Colorado USA was made perfect down on the ranch.

Cute Alpacas at Cedar Ridge Ranch

As we left the fire continued to burn, and even two weeks later as I write this blog the Grizzly Canyon fire continues to burn. Interstate 70 has just reopened though, luckily for all the businesses and residents. Our thoughts and prayers are with all we met and everyone in beautiful Colorado.

Cedar Ridge Ranch
Cedar Ridge Ranch at dusk

Hope you enjoyed Road Tripping Colorado USA. Next week we visit Oregon.

Read about the fires here.

See this week’s top performing pin here.

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  • Reply Julie

    I have lived in Colorado for nearly 35 years now. It sounds like you had a wonderful trip to our lovely state. Every part of Colorado has something to offer. Thanks for sharing!

    August 28, 2020 at 8:08 am
    • Reply Laureen

      Hope to come back soon.

      August 28, 2020 at 11:15 am
  • Reply Maxine

    Laury, Glenwood has about hot springs pool. That is where my class went for our Senior Sneak Day. Beautiful country.

    August 28, 2020 at 9:59 am
    • Reply Laureen

      Next time we will spend some time there. I hope to go back again soon.

      August 28, 2020 at 11:15 am
  • Reply Rhonda Ablom

    I would love to spend some summer time in Colorado. The only time I have been as an adult was for skiing, and boy was it cold – although absolutely lovely and we didn’t have to worry about bears. That alpaca photo you got is fabulous.

    August 28, 2020 at 2:11 pm
  • Reply Heather Markel

    Sorry to hear about the fires but what a lovely sounding trip! Having animals as neighbors is the best. And I’m with you on the altitude. Omg hard to hike in that. Well done!

    August 30, 2020 at 3:54 pm
  • Reply Sue Davies

    Fun road trip. Impressed that you got in a round of golf. The fire seems scary–we were in Melbourne during the Australia wildfires. I’d love to spend some time in Colorada.

    September 1, 2020 at 8:24 pm
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