The hiking and camping in the Roaring Fork Valley are the most spectacular in the nation, if not the continent. The valley is surrounded by the White River National Forest, which provides plenty of opportunities to unplug, rejuvenate and commune with Mother Nature.
Here’s an overview of some of the camping and hiking areas in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Aspen — Maroon Bells Wilderness
The Maroon Bells are the most photographed peaks in North America–with good reason. The iconic double peaks reflect in picturesque Maroon lake while surrounded by glorious spruce, fir and aspen forests. The rugged hiking trails weave their way up to West Maroon Pass, East Maroon Pass, Electric Pass and Buckskin Pass. Wildflowers cover the open meadows in the summer and aspen trees glow with a golden light in the fall. This glacial valley, surrounded by 14, 000 feet peaks, is a “must do” for Colorado hikers, and is well known as an international treasure.
Aspen — Independence Pass
Five campgrounds dot this quintessential Colorado valley. With wonderful alpine forests and the headwaters of the Roaring Fork River, the breathtaking sights are limitless. For a high elevation, birds-eye view of the valley, take the Lost Man Loop Trail and camp at the family campground.
Basalt — Lower Frying Pan Forest Area
From Basalt, head north 25 miles to Ruedi Reservoir and you’ll find a pristine wilderness area filled with aspen forests at lower elevations, and spruce and fir trees at higher elevations. Open alpine tundra areas are sprinkled with wildflowers in the summer. Seven beautiful campgrounds welcome RV’s and tents, some with picnic tables and fire rings, and provide access to the reservoir and gorgeous surrounding trails.
The Carbondale KOA is a jewel on the Crystal River and since it’s private, you don’t need a fishing license to fish on the property. Avalanche Campground lies 13 miles south of Carbondale and its proximity to gold medal waters make fishermen, young and old smile from ear to ear. There’s plenty to please hikers, too. With soaring peaks and a variety of hiking trails, the scenic vistas and deer, elk and eagles will call you to return again and again.
Redstone and Marble
The Redstone Campground sits on a ridge above the Crystal River at 7,800 feet, with widely spaced sites and magnificent views of outcroppings and cliffs. A hike up Mount Sopris offers breathtaking views of the valley, whether you reach the 12,953-foot summit or do a partial hike. Bogan Flats, a campground close to the historic town of Marble, stretches along the Crystal River where big horn sheep navigate the rocky cliffs.
There are 5 privately owned campgrounds around Glenwood Springs that serve as gateways to the White River National Forest. Amazing hiking trails surround the area, and with names like Doc Holliday, Hanging Valley Lake and Horseshoe Bend, you can be sure that travelling these areas will fill your senses with nature’s beauty. An added bonus is the possibly of encountering big horn sheep.
Rifle and New Castle
These towns provide some of the best camping areas on the I-70 corridor. Harvey Gap State Park has fishing, canoeing, windsurfing and swimming, among rolling hills at 6,30 feet. Likewise, Rifle Gap State Park is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream with fishing, water sports, bird watching and cross country skiing. The lake lies at 6,000 feet and is fed by three creeks, surrounded by rolling hills. Rifle Falls State Park features a triple waterfall, grotto, picnic sites and hiking trails that travel around the falls and creek.
If Colorado hiking and camping are on your Bucket List, come to the Roaring Fork Valley and experience the wonder and majesty of the alpine rivers, lakes and mountains.