For pavement lovers in Aspen, it doesn’t get any better than the Rio Grande Trail, which spans a continuous 42 miles from Herron Park in Aspen northwest to Two Rivers Park in Glenwoods Springs. There are mountain views, fields of wildflowers, riverfront sections, farms and parks along the trail, which parallels Route 82, passing through Old Snowmass, Basalt, and Carbondale. The town of Carbondale has a fun, outdoorsy vibe, with outdoor sculptures and numerous microbreweries.
Attached is a trail map with great descriptions of 9 individual sections. Closest to Aspen is the 8.4 mile section from Herron Park to Woody Creek, with numerous access points. There are two short steep climbs and great views of Aspen Mountain and the Roaring Fork River. Note that the two miles of trail between McLain Flats Road and Stein Park are gravel. A great 5-mile out and back is Herron Park to Stein Park.
Pro Tips: Beautiful in spring with wildflowers, and fall for the changing aspens. Might not be maintained in winter. Also, the RFTA runs buses that can be used for drop off at certain trailheads, allowing for a one-way run.
- Trail total is 42 miles. It's 8.4 miles (13.6 km) one-way between Herron Park in Aspen and Woody Creek. 5-mile out and back to Stein Park
- 879 feet
- Woody Creek or Herron Park; Official trailhead in Aspen is near the U.S. Post Office
- Woody Creek Tavern or Walking Bridge Bus Stop