Basalt is a friendly, small mountain town with the unique advantage of possessing a diverse collection of neighborhoods, each with its own personality and places to explore. No matter your desired adventure: a great meal, live music, an adrenaline-filled physical challenge or some much-needed retail therapy, Basalt is the place. Basalt goes beyond town limits and covers much of the mid- Roaring Fork Valley. Beyond historic Downtown Basalt, the Basalt Business Center and Southside in the east, and Willits, the midvalley commercial and industrial centers in the west, the Basalt community stretches from Old Snowmass to nearly Catherine Store and includes developments and smaller neighborhoods such as Lazy Glen, Holland Hills, Seven Castles, Emma, Sopris Village, El Jebel, Blue Lake, Missouri Heights, Dakota Ridge and Cerise Ranch.
HISTORIC DOWNTOWN BASALT
At the confluence of two Gold Medal waters — the Fryingpan River and the Roaring Fork River — lies historic Downtown Basalt. Sometimes referred to as “Old Town,” historic downtown is an eclectic combination of shopping, restaurants, historical attractions, local businesses and beautiful Victorian buildings. The two main streets are Midland Avenue and Two Rivers Road. Both Town Hall and the Basalt Chamber of Commerce (the red caboose) are located in Lions Park, with direct river access nearby. Downtown is home to several art galleries and an art center, as well as a whitewater park. A short walk from the downtown core is the Basalt Regional Library and the post office as well as the elementary and middle schools. Both the Basalt/Old Snowmass and Emma bike trails connect either end of downtown back to the Rio Grande Trail.
BASALT BUSINESS CENTER / SOUTHSIDE
Located south of Highway 82 and historic Downtown Basalt are the Basalt Business Center and Southside — a true combination of commercial/industrial and residential areas. The Basalt Business Center begins after turning off of Highway 82 and onto Basalt Avenue. This business district has a mix of consignment stores, retail and service businesses, as well as automotive shops. The Basalt Business Center is home to emergency care for both people and pets with an after-hours urgent care clinic and 24/7 small animal emergency hospital. Beyond the business area lies the residential neighborhood of Southside, which has a mix of single-family homes and duplexes as well as two beautiful parks abutted by open swaths of ranch land. At the edge of the neighborhood overlooking the town is Basalt High School and the Longhorns stadium, as well as easy access to the Rio Grande Trail.
If there is a place in the Roaring Fork Valley that mimics modern city life, it is Willits — a lively blend of houses and townhouses, parks and playgrounds, shops and businesses. Homes here are organized around parks and connecting sidewalks, making it easy to stroll around the neighborhood. The rolling terrain of Linear Park stretches the length of Willits, and then joins the Willits Town Park, which includes a lake, a soccer field, playgrounds, biking and walking trails. The main hub of activity in the area is Willits Town Center — a mixed residential/commercial multiphase development featuring a diverse mix of businesses, residential lofts and a healthcare center. Whole Foods Market and the Element Basalt-Aspen hotel complement the locally owned restaurants, brewery, unique retailers, sporting stores, offices and more. Culture thrives at The Arts Campus at Willits (TACAW), which hosts a vibrant mix performing arts, entertainment and events in its space The Temporary.
Adjacent to Willits is Orchard Plaza, which was annexed into Basalt in 1994. Located off Highway 82 and Willits Lane, Orchard Plaza offers a variety of shopping and services, including a grocery store, liquor and pet stores, restaurants, a shipping center, nail salon, movie theater and banks.
MIDVALLEY MEDICAL SERVICES AREA
A hub of health and wellness, the Medical Services area is located on East Valley Road off Highway 82 and Original Road. Located there is the Midvalley Medical Center complex and Midvalley Health Institute building that house physicians and clinics specializing in a variety of medical areas such as women’s care, pediatrics, orthopedics, physical therapy and medical imaging, as well as a fitness facility. The area is also home to a condominium complex and Aspen Skiing Co.’s innovative tiny home community for employees.
MIDVALLEY DESIGN + INDUSTRIAL CENTER
Predominately a commercial and industrial district, the Midvalley Design + Industrial Center is where creative ideas are imagined and realized. Located off Highway 82 and Willits Lane, the varied collection of area business includes interior designers, home product and services, world-renowned photographers and fitness centers. The area is home to several food-industry establishments, including a distillery and coffee roaster.
Off of Highway 82, between Downtown Basalt and Willits in unincorporated Pitkin County, lies Emma. The historic townsite includes the Mather house — a Victorian brick home — the Emma Store, and the one-room Emma Schoolhouse, which dates back to the 1880s when Emma was a rural outpost and train stop along the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad. Beyond the historical landmarks today lie working ranches and farmlands, including hay and potato production. The area is known for its open space, preserving spectacular views of Basalt Mountain, Mount Sopris, and Capitol Peak, one of the most notorious 14ers in Colorado. The Emma Trail bike path connects Downtown Basalt to Emma and from here it is possible to link up to both the Rio Grande Trail and the Willits Trail. Each year in the spring and summer nesting ospreys return to Emma to breed.
Beyond the official town limits of Basalt in unincorporated Eagle County is El Jebel. The area is bisected by Highway 82 and is downvalley from Willits. Once the main commercial hub for the midvalley, the El Jebel area is home to the Sopris Village and Blue Lake neighborhoods, and a commercial center featuring a bowling alley, a garden center, fire station, preschool, several restaurants and other retail and service businesses. It also the gateway to Missouri Heights, a vast mesa overlooking the valley floor with working ranches, single-family residences and sprawling open spaces. Perhaps the crown jewel of El Jebel is the aptly named Crown Mountain Park, with ball fields, playgrounds, BMX track and community center. The recreational area offers something for everyone, and it hosts many large events including a hot air balloon festival, a music festival and sports tournaments.
FRYINGPAN RIVER VALLEY/ RUEDI RESERVOIR
Perhaps the most stunning — and acclaimed — natural feature of Basalt is the Gold Medal Fryingpan River. Running through the FryingpanRiver Valley, just east of Downtown, this sparsely populated area is dotted with ranches and homes set against the backdrop of the White River National Forest and Hunter Fryingpan Wilderness area, red sandstone cliffs, evergreen pines and firs. Rich with legends of mining, railway history and the early Colorado frontier, the Fryingpan River Valley is worth a drive. Travel about four miles up and the Seven Castles red-rock outcroppings on the left side of the roadway are a spectacular sight. Farther up the road is the 997-acre Ruedi Reservoir, which is a hub of recreational activities, from sailing to stand-up paddle boarding (SUP), and from hiking to camping. Insider tip: In autumn, watch for the pumpkins that mysteriously appear on roadside nooks and crannies, high ledges and rocks jutting up from the river.