Rio Grande Trail is a 42.4 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Glenwood Springs, Colorado that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Length42.4 miElevation gain2,641 ftRoute typePoint to point
dog friendlyKid friendlyCross-country skiingHikingHorseback ridingMountain bikingNature tripsRoad bikingWalkingBird watchingrunningPartially pavedRiverViewsWildflowersSnow
Description
Waypoints (10)
Contact
Tips
Getting There

You have (at least) three trail options. You can start in Glenwood Springs and journey uphill to Aspen, then take the RFTA (Roaring Fork Transit Authority) bus back; you can bus to Aspen and ride downhill (net) back. Or you can ride out and back. Of course there are also options to just ride a portion of the trail with various RFTA bus stops along the way in towns such as El Jebel and Carbondale. If you choose to take one of the RFTA bus, not only will that save your weary legs, but it will give you a chance to mingle with some of the locals. No matter which way you choose to go, you will enjoy this world-class, high altitude trail. This trail, is great for family bonding trips by foot, horseback, bike, inline skate, Trikke, recumbent, tandem, or nordic skis. The trail is also wheelchair accessible and great for walking with your best friend, whether that friend is the two-legged or four-legged variety.

Colorado Tourism Office, 1625 Broadway, Suite 1700 , Denver, CO, 80202, Phone: 800-COLORADO

- If you plan to utilize the RFTA shuttle, make sure to get some information ahead of time (see enclosed website) and bring the correct change. It's cheap, but it's not free. - Although large portions of the trail are available for nordic skiing, some portions may not be available. Check the Rio Grande Trail website for further details. The same goes for horseback riding. Know before you go. - This trail is accessible to both motorized an non-motorized wheelchairs. - Rest benches, picnic tables, restrooms, and dog waste stations are available along the trail, but not always abundant, so plan ahead. Below are some suggestions to enhance your visit to the Rio Grande Trail: - Glenwood Springs may be the adventure capitol of the United States. From here, you can ride the trails, whitewater raft the rivers, fish, hike into a wilderness, scream down a zipline, go on a Segway cruise, soak in natural hot springs, or, if you're here in the winter, ski Sunlight Basin. - Aspen also offers winter skiing at Aspen, Highlands, and Buttermilk mountains. It also offers delectable dining, upscale shopping, fantastic art galleries, and amazing people-watching experiences. - Towns in between Glenwood Springs and Aspen include Carbondale, El Jebel, Basalt, and Woody Creek. Each of these has attractions such as festivals, farmers' markets, dining, and various specialized activities/attractions.

Directions from Aspen: The trail can be accessed from multiple points. In Aspen is is normally access from the Mill Street bridge over the Roaring Fork River or from the Cemetery Lane/Slaughterhouse Bridge. To access the trail from Mill Street, go north from the corner of Mill and Main about 2 blocks to the Roaring Fork River. To access the trail from Cemetery Lane, travel west from Aspen 1/4 mile on Highway 82. Just west of the Castle Creek Bridge, turn right at the Cemetery Lane stoplight. Follow Cemetery Lane1 mile to Slaughterhouse Bridge. There is a parking area on the left. Both the paved and unpaved trails can be accessed from this point. The Aspen/Glenwood Springs area is accessible by car, bus, train, and plane. A great way to visit Glenwood Springs is via the Amtrak train.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (72)
Photos (41)
Recordings (60)
Completed (160)
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scott macleod
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Road biking
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Brock Hill
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 1, 2020
Bike touringGreat!

My wife and I biked the Aspen to Basalt section with a stop at Woody Creek Tavern for lunch. Cool morning turned warm by 11. Beautiful fall colors and interesting trail with lots of variety. Awesome!

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Jennifer Schauer
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Hiking

Start at the park

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Ellie Vates
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 16, 2020
Bike touringGreat!

Absolutely best biking trail Ive been on! We rented Electric bikes which were so fun! The e-bikes give you extra propulsion even if you dont have the assistance on. I wasnt shy about using the low level assistance on the way there which is mostly downhill and had plenty of battery to get back with high assistance on the way back. We journeyed all the way to Basalt. We stopped at Woodys Tavern (a local staple) and The Lobster Shack in Basalt, and had an awesome maine lobster roll! I highly recommend this trail! Spectacular water and mountain views!

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Veronica Corninstone
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 16, 2020

Great Bike Ride, I had a friend drop me off at the the trailhead in Aspen (Aspen post office) and rode it all the way till the end in Glenwood springs where we were staying. Out of Aspen it is awesome, u are descending a good majority of this bike ride---it is so fun. When u get to Carbondale, you go through a neat little art area and then u run into Mount Sopris which is behind u--watching you for a while while you bike your trip. This trail is easy to navigate, easy to ride and the views along the way are awesome. I had such a good time. A lot of the trail has no shade, so bring plenty of water and sunscreen.

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Rosa Guerrero
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 26, 2020
Road biking

Great ride, I was a little nervous on the gravel part when almost in Aspen, I have 25’s on my road bike. I had an amazing ride. The views are worth the hard work on the bike. Looking forward to being able to do the round trip from glenwood springs to Aspen and back. I took the bus back this time, it was free!!

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Fernando Guarderas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 18, 2020
Hiking

The upper side is gorgeous.

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Dan Goody
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 16, 2020
Road biking

This is such an Awesome Bike Trail. Myself and Wife do it every year. We ride from Glenwood springs to Aspen. Its around 84 miles and really wish it was Longer. This Trail is a absolute Blast !! We would highly recommend it to Anyone !!

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Bonnie H
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 5, 2019
Road biking

Lovely trail alongside the river and perfect for exploring the valley. Rented a bike and rode Carbondale to Snowmass Creek section primarily. Fantastically peaceful except for an obnoxious environmental hazard—golf course—right off the path outside of Basalt.

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Jeremy Tamsen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 19, 2018

LOST MY CAMERA HERE - at the Emma Schoolhouse near Basalt - nikon D750 with a blue promoter tripod and Nikon 20mm 1.8G lens. Please contact me jtamsen@gmail.com if you found it.... I will give a reward for its return! It is my tool to make artwork - please help me find it!

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Cortlandt Halsey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 25, 2018
Road biking

Really beautiful and not very crowded on a Sunday afternoon. I started in Glenwood and went to Aspen; the incline is steady but very doable for a fairly novice biker! I took the bus back which was lovely (though a bit pricy). I will do it again but bring more snacks next time. TIP: The bus stops allowing bikes at 7:30pm

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Cheryl Burgos
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 23, 2017

very well marked and maintained. great views.

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Tim Bowman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 10, 2017

Simply beautiful!!!

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Ricky Holland
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 9, 2017

Amazing bike ride out and back!

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summer weisel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 17, 2017
Road biking

I have a terra trike, It is equipped with an electric motor, level 2. I have MS and walking and riding has become very difficult for me. My power assist trike has become a major God send for me as I now am able to do things that otherwise were impossible to me. I am looking forward to riding my terra trike from Carbondale to Aspen one day. However I was informed that E Bikes were not allowed on the Rio Grand trail up to Aspen. Is this true? I need to know. artheart1978@gmail.com

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Michelle Dickson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 24, 2016
Road biking

Rode the trail from Glenwood Springs to Aspen and back. Right now there is a detour due to mountain lion activity that starts past Carbondale and puts you back on the trail in Basalt. Detour takes you out on the roads, but is well marked. When you come into Aspen the last few miles are gravel. There is always a strong headwind when coming back from Aspen to Glenwood.

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Dan Robrecht
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 9, 2016
Road biking

Lovely trail, and really not too much traffic on a Fri mid day. Very mild grades. Everyone from my 4 year old on his little one speed to my wife on her racing bike enjoyed it. Some shade, but not a lot. We went from Glenwood springs to Carbondale.

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Javier Aranda
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 31, 2016
Mountain biking

We did 22mi of Rio Grande Trail. The day was beautiful. It rained on us towards the end of our ride but it was good as wee needed the cool-down.

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Lori Pittman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 30, 2016
Running

This trail is great for running and biking! Train on this trail during the week. It's long and well maintained.

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Amanda V
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 5, 2014

We walked about 6 or more miles on this trail. Beautiful trail.

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Matthew Ridgeway
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 6, 2013
Cross-country skiing

I like to call this trail my front yard because I'm so close to it but if your going to use this trail start in Glenwood and work your way up then its down hill on your way back. This trail is well maintained all year round so for Cross country skiing its worth the exercise, even if you just out for the scenery and a walk.

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Michele Saranovich
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 21, 2012
First to Review

Excellent biking trail. It starts in Aspen near the Art Museum. We rode out about 7 miles to the Woody Creek Tavern. The length of the trail is marked off in miles and half miles. We started at mile 41. I think it's a lot longer than 20 miles. It goes from Glenwood Spring to Aspen and was done by Rails to Trails along an old railroad right of way. It is 42 miles long. Along the way, there are plaques with astronomical information about various planets which was fun. The track is paved and dirt in places and well maintained. For more adventurous types, along the side are also good mountain biking trails. We saw a park ranger riding his bike next to the Rio Grande Trail. The highlight of our trip, was having a small Black Bear literally come up from the river and run across in front of us into the bushes going up the mountain. We had stopped for water and he was only 20 feet in front of us. Well traveled by bikers and hikers. It's pretty level with not much loss or gain of elevation which for Aspen is sort of unique.

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Jeff Thornton
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Hiking
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Jordan Fraser
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Hiking
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Morgan Mills
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Hiking
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Ryan Baxter
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Hiking
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Julia Alba
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Hiking
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Molly wirtz
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Road biking
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Deya Zavala
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Hiking
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Daniel Young
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Hiking
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