Getting round in Aspen – Lonely Planet


Nestled among the many Rockies in Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley, Aspen is a small, easy-to-navigate mountain city with tons to see and do. Since outside recreation is king right here, you’ll see many individuals using their bikes, strolling, mountaineering and, typically, even snowboarding or snowshoeing round city. This eco-friendly neighborhood, which deeply values sustainability, additionally has a sturdy bike-share program and plenty of free bus routes to assist ease site visitors congestion, scale back air pollution and protect Aspen’s historic character.

Questioning navigate Aspen, Colorado? Right here’s what you might want to find out about getting round this scenic metropolis by automotive, bike, bus or on foot.

Catching the bus

Finest to get round city

Getting round Aspen by way of bus is a breeze, because of the expansive Roaring Fork Transit Authority bus system (it’s RFTA for brief, and Aspenites name it “Rafta”). The entire bus routes within the metropolis of Aspen are free (plus the routes to and from Snowmass Village and Woody Creek); others within the area vary from $1 to $10, relying on the size of the journey. Youngsters below the age of 5 and seniors over the age of 65 at all times trip free.

Buses are geared up with bike racks that may maintain two to 4 bikes at a time, although there’s an additional $2 payment for bikes on the bus. Many buses even have racks for skis and snowboards.

Classic bicycles on the market at a stall on the farmers market in Aspen © iStock Editorial / Getty Pictures

Driving a motorbike

Finest for fast journeys

Aspen — and all the Roaring Fork Valley area — is extremely bike-friendly. Whether or not the solar is shining or a winter storm is dumping snow, individuals trip their bikes year-round right here (some cyclists even connect particular ski racks to their bikes for heading to the slopes!).

Bike lanes, paved paths and trails are plentiful in Aspen, which makes it simple to get round on two wheels. Within the downtown core, there are designated pedestrian/bikeway streets that restrict car journey, making it safer and extra nice to stroll or bike. The 42-mile Rio Grande Path can also be helpful for connecting to varied path methods and different cities within the area.

For fast, point-to-point journeys round city in the course of the spring, summer season and fall, try a motorbike from WE-Cycle, Aspen’s bike-share program. Journeys are free in the event that they’re half-hour or much less. After that, charges go as much as $0.50 per minute for pedal bikes and $5 per minute for e-bikes (the charges are supposed to encourage individuals to solely use the bikes for fast, commuter-style journeys, not longer day journeys). There are 50 docking stations all through Aspen, Basalt and Snowmass, so it’s simple to hop-on and hop-off all through the day.

For longer adventures and day journeys, there are various bike rental retailers in Aspen, together with 4 Mountain Sports activities, Aspen Bikes and Aspen Sports activities. Some Aspen accommodations additionally supply complimentary bikes for company, together with Limelight Lodge Aspen and Aspen Meadows.

Strolling the pedestrian mall

Finest for a leisurely tempo

Strolling is among the finest methods to peruse the retailers, artwork galleries, museums, eating places, bars and trails in Aspen. Your entire metropolis is walkable, because of extensive sidewalks, sluggish car speeds and high-tech crosswalks with flashing lights to assist maintain pedestrians secure.

The Aspen Pedestrian Mall downtown is totally closed off to automobiles, which makes strolling the historic brick-paved streets a calming expertise.

There are additionally many Aspen mountaineering trails inside strolling distance of downtown, together with Smuggler Mountain and Hunter Creek.

Driving the mountain roads of Aspen Colorado surrounded by autumn colours ©peghaz/Funds Journey

Driving a automotive

Finest for attending to trailheads

Although you may stroll or bike in every single place in downtown Aspen, chances are you’ll want a automotive to succeed in among the off-the-beaten-path trailheads, campgrounds and different outdoorsy locations within the area.

The primary route by Aspen is Colorado 82, a freeway that connects the entire communities within the broader Roaring Fork Valley. Downtown, the freeway jogs to turn out to be Predominant Avenue and East Cooper Avenue.

The place to park

The convenience of parking in Aspen varies drastically relying on the season. In the course of the winter months, when town is filled with skiers and snowboarders from world wide, parking is briefly provide. It’s extra plentiful in the course of the spring, summer season and fall, however can nonetheless be a problem, so town encourages all guests to take public transportation, stroll or bike when doable.

There are pay stations for road parking in Aspen, with charges starting from $2 to $6 per hour relying on the season and the time of day (you may as well pay by way of the WayToPark or PayBy Telephone parking apps). There may be one public parking storage in Aspen referred to as Rio Grande Parking Plaza with charges beginning at $2 per hour or $12 per day. Parking in residential areas is free for 2 hours per day (no re-parking allowed), after that you simply’ll have to purchase an $8 parking move.

In the event you’re heading to Aspen for a ski trip, you’ll discover a number of parking tons and garages close to the bottom of Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass ski areas, however it’s vital to get to the slopes early, as these tons are inclined to refill rapidly, particularly on powder days. You’ll be able to obtain the Aspen Snowmass parking app to verify the standing of ski space parking tons and garages every morning. Free parking in Aspen could be laborious to come back by, however among the ski space tons and garages supply choices – parking could also be free within the night, in the course of the summer season, for carpoolers or for the primary quarter-hour, for instance.

Many Aspen accommodations even have parking garages, although you’ll seemingly have to pay to valet your car. As soon as your automotive is tucked away, although, you may usually get round city by way of your lodge’s free shuttle — many Aspen accommodations supply these.

Renting a automotive

To hire a automotive, head to the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport, which is house to a number of rental automotive corporations: Enterprise, Hertz, Funds and Avis. Aspen additionally has a number of limo and taxi corporations, together with Excessive Mountain Taxi, Aspen Limo Providers, Company Transportation Specialists and Nomi Limo. Uber and Lyft even have drivers in Aspen.

Aspen is engaged on its accessibility with ramps and audio bulletins © The World in HDR / Shutterstock

Accessible transportation in Aspen

Aspen has a handful of accessible transportation choices. Aspen’s buses are geared up with lifts or ramps for individuals with mobility gadgets like wheelchairs and scooters, and bus drivers are skilled to assist safe the gadgets contained in the bus. Onboard, there are additionally visible and audio cease bulletins.

Folks with disabilities can even schedule transportation upfront by the Roaring Fork Valley Transit Authority’s complimentary paratransit companies and Pitkin County Senior Providers.

Most service animals are additionally welcome on the Aspen Mountain Gondola and the Elk Camp Gondola at Snowmass (miniature horses aren’t allowed due to their measurement and weight). Aspen can also be house to a number of organizations that provide adaptive snowboarding and snowboarding applications, together with Problem Aspen and Ascendigo.

Aspen is working to make extra of its trails accessible. For now, there are only a handful of accessible trails and paths in Aspen, together with the Braille Nature Path and the Rio Grande Path.

For extra data on accessible journey try Lonely Planet’s accessible journey assets.

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