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Rio Grande Trail

Who says Aspen has to be expensive? Enjoy a glorious morning on the trail and a day exploring Aspen for next to nothing.
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 42 miles
Duration: Full day
Family Friendly

Overview :  "Would you like a glass of wine?" Ira asked, as he pointed out the lighting on a grove of aspen trees in a humongous oil painting.

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Tips:  - If you plan to utilize the RFTA shuttle, make sure to get some information ahead of time (see enclosed website) and bring the... more »

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Points of Interest

1. bike rentals

Canyon Bikes is a good place for renting bikes, especially if you're going to ride the Glenwood Canyon Trail while you're in the area. The bikes are in good shape, the price is reasonable, and the staff is friendly and helpful.
Their store is located in the lower level of the Hotel Colorado at 319 6th Street and their phone # is 800-439-3043.

2. hotels & restaurants

This area has affordable hotels & restaurants with easy access to the trail.

3. Two Rivers Park

This is a good spot to start your trail journey. There are parking lots, restrooms, and resting areas.

4. river crossing

At this point, you cross the Colorado River and start heading up the Roaring Fork River. Some people think that they are riding near the Rio Grande River, because of the name of the trail, but that is in southern Colorado.

5. road crossings

For the first few miles of the trail, in the Glenwood Springs area, you'll cross some roads with one major crossing. Be careful in these areas and make sure to stop, look all ways, and follow the signal directions if applicable.
As you get into the country, moving toward Aspen, the street crossings diminish then vanish.
The good news about this... More

6. bridge over Roaring Fork River

Recreation abounds in Colorado as bikers and hikers stop at the bridge to watch fishermen float by in their drift boats.

If you venture up Main Street, you're bound to find a nice coffee shop or restaurant in which to relax and get refreshed. During the summer, there is often some type of festival or market going on. This makes a nice spot to stop before hitting the open trail between here and Aspen.

8. open trail

This is one of the first of many nice open trail sections. Although you are still following County Road 100 at this point, you are away from Highway 82, so it is more tranquil in this area.
In wide open stretches like this, you can often see nice views of Mt. Sopris in front of you.

9. riverside reverie

You are never too far from the Roaring Fork River while on the Rio Grande Trail. The wide open trail gives way to a slightly more wooded area that still offers nice views of the surrounding countryside.

10. double flyover

Near this point, the trail crosses another bridge over the Roaring Fork River and then shortly after that, a scenic overpass that flies over Highway 82 for a safe crossing of the major road in this valley.

11. long and winding trail

Over the next few miles, you will be amazed by how varied the terrain and landscape can be from one trail section to the next. It will go from lush and green to brown and seemingly barren, back to verdant riverside scenery.
Of course many of the changes are due to distance from the river, elevation, and other geographic differences.
These changes ... More

As you pass Woody Creek, you may be tempted to dismiss it as a wide spot in the trail. However, it is home to the famous Woody Creek Tavern and, nearby, it is also home to many celebrities such as Ed Bradley, Don Henley, Don Johnson, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and the late Hunter S. Thompson.
If you visit the Woody Creek Tavern, you can... More

This museum presents rotating exhibits often showcasing contemporary works of art from well known local and national artists. From this spot you will begin to find tributary trails and roads from which you can access downtown Aspen with its shops, galleries, and restaurants. You can spend lots of money and a little time here or vice versa. Enjoy a... More

14. flowers in the rough

Although you are still following fairly near to the highway for the first portion of the trip, you can still see beautiful spots of natural splendor, like these flowers, alongside the trail.

15. Back down by the river

When you drop back down to the river, you will be rewarded with intermittent shade, lots of resting spots and varied scenery from wooded glades to interesting little waterfalls.

16. Aspen homes

From this point, you will begin to see some interesting homes ranging from eclectic to beautiful. Take note of the landscaping of some of the trailside gems.