Driving out of Aspen is less exciting than driving into it, if you’re headed westbound on both occasions. Before you arrive, you’re treated to a journey over Independence Pass, topping out above 12,000 feet. After your departure, you’re driving through the Roaring Fork Valley, and although it provides beautiful scenery and several small towns, it’s just not as thrilling as that high-mountain pass.
West of Aspen, you’ll pass by Snowmass, Basalt, El Jabel, and Carbondale. The only stop I made was in Carbondale (photos below the video). You can see the entire drive, and get a good feel for the lay of the land, in this Drivelapse video:
My GPS device made one weird suggestion. It told me to turn off of Colorado 82, and take County Road 100 for the final few miles into Carbondale. If I had stayed on 82, I would have had to detour south into town, since Carbondale is just slightly off the main highway.
Carbondale has a nice downtown, that gave me an excuse to get out and walk for a few minutes.
Carbondale brags about all the attention it’s received, as a nice place to live and work. It ranked as one of the top 12 towns in National Geographic’s list of the “next great places to live and play”. It also landed in the top 50 of a similar list by Men’s Journal.
Public art, like this mural, is featured prominently downtown.
I explored for a few minutes, but I knew I had a lot of ground to cover, so before long I headed up 82 to Glenwood Springs.