Thanks to the impressive transportation network that serves the Roaring Fork Valley, getting here, and around once you arrive, is a scenic and efficient experience. This Roaring Fork Valley transportation guide will help you better understand what private and public transportation options you have available to you here in the valley.
Transportation To and From the Roaring Fork Valley
The Roaring Fork Valley is primarily accessed by vehicle via Interstate 70 (I-70), which traverses Colorado east to west. There are individual exits on I-70 for each town from Glenwood Springs west to Rifle. Travelers headed for towns from Glenwood Springs south to Aspen can take Glenwood Springs exit 116 on I-70 south toward Highway 82. Highway 82 runs the length of Roaring Fork Valley from Glenwood Springs to Aspen and all the way to the valley’s terminus on Independence Pass.
In the summer, travelers can access Aspen and other towns in the valley via Highway 82 over Independence Pass. This access is restricted in winter months as Independence Pass, which connects Aspen to cities like Buena Vista and Leadville to the east and south, is closed. This closure isolates Aspen during the winter and makes it only accessible via 82 from the west, through Glenwood Springs.
There is only one commercial airport in the Roaring Fork Valley, Sardy Field in Aspen. Sardy Field has many direct flights from locations like Denver, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and Houston. Those flying to Aspen from other locations will likely transfer through one of those airports to get to Sardy Field.
Residents of the Roaring Fork Valley also make use of nearby Eagle-Vail Airport in Gypsum (EGE), the Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT), or drive to Denver International Airport (DIA) for international flights. There are some local municipal airports that accommodate chartered flights, small planes, private planes, jets and helicopters.
Bustang and Colorado Mountain Express
Many residents and visitors to the Roaring Fork Valley need to get to and from Denver International Airport (DIA). They have the options of hiring private transportation, taking Bustang, or jumping on the Colorado Mountain Express (CME) shuttle. With private transportation often being prohibitively expensive, Bustang and CME are two of the most affordable and efficient ways to get to and from DIA.
Travelers can take Bustang busses from Denver to Glenwood Springs, and back, via the Bustang West Line. In Glenwood, people transfer to RFTA busses to get to their final destination in the Roaring Fork Valley. Every day there is one Bustang bus that departs Denver heading for Glenwood and one that goes from Glenwood to Denver.
CME offers riders the ability to get from DIA all the way to Aspen and back with stops in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, Basalt and Snowmass Village. CME shuttles are fast, efficient, and comfortable transport vans that carry up to ten people at a time. If you have a large party you need to get from Denver to the Roaring Fork Valley you can also book an entire CME van for a private trip.
Transportation Within the Roaring Fork Valley
Roaring Fork Transit Authority
The primary mode of public transportation in the valley is the Roaring Fork Transit Authority (RFTA), whose routes reach from Aspen to Rifle. All busses in RFTA’s fleet use biodiesel, including its hybrid buses.
In 2013, RFTA unveiled its new VelociRFTA rural Bus Rapid Transit program, the first of its kind anywhere in the country. By increasing the bus frequency during peak seasons, waiting and commutes times are drastically reduced. Additionally, free WiFi is available at all VelociRFTA stations and on the buses.
Possibly the most efficient way to get around the towns of Aspen and Basalt in the spring, summer and fall, WE-cycle is a public bike share program that has stations sprinkled in urban areas throughout the upper Roaring Fork Valley. Check a bike out for 30 minutes and proceed to the station closest to your destination where you can check it in.
Private Taxis, Shuttles, and Limos
There are dozens of private transportation services available in the Roaring Fork Valley. The Aspen Airport has a long list of taxis, shuttles, and limo services for visitors and residents alike.