Attractions Near Carbondale, CO

by Nicole Brown

Carbondale is located in the central Rocky Mountains near Mount Sopris and 170 miles west of Denver. Carbondale is a town with its roots in mining, the railroad and potato farming but the town's main feature is its vicinity to nature and the outdoors. Even if you don't want to experience Carbondale outdoors, the town has plenty of other attractions to suit every visitor.

The Great Outdoors

Carbondale is a nature and adventure-lover's paradise. Twenty miles from Carbondale is Snowmass, a ski resort with runs for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. If you want to heat up in the winter visit one of the area's hot springs. Penny Hot Springs is a natural spring located on the Crystal River, while Avalanche Ranch Hot Springs features man-made pools fed by geothermal-heated water; both hot springs are 13 miles outside of Carbondale. For adventure seekers, Carbondale is the base camp for a climb up Mount Sopris. When the snow has melted, Carbondale has even more outdoor adventure to offer. Bike or hike on hundreds of miles of trails in and around Carbondale; kayak or whitewater raft the Crystal and Roaring Fork rivers; fish for trout in the same rivers and horseback ride through the mountain valleys. If you want to stay in town, golf at one Carbondale's golf courses or visit the rodeo every Thursday throughout the summer months.

Art and Music

Art is an integral part of Carbondale from art studios and art galleries to art that can be seen on the streets of the city. Visitors who want to learn a new art medium can visit Carbondale Clay Center (carbondaleclay.org), a nonprofit clay studio that offers ceramics classes for adults and children. The center also holds gallery events and hosts artist residencies. For visitors who just want to view art in its purest form, all they have to do is walk the streets of Carbondale. Art aRound Town (publicartcarbondale.org) is a series of 40 sculptures placed on the streets and in public buildings around Carbondale. Sculptures include stone, metal and reused material pieces.

A Prehistoric Past

Snowmass Village, located 27 miles from Carbondale, is a place to explore the area's prehistoric past. In 2010, while working on the construction of Ziegler Reservoir, a bulldozer operator discovered juvenile mammoth bones. With the help of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, diggers soon found a slew of prehistoric fossils and a preserved Ice Age ecosystem. Since the excavation began in 2010, the Snowmass Ice Age Discovery Center has been built to exhibit scientists' finds and educate the public about the discovery.

Eat Your Way Through Carbondale

If wining and dining is your fancy, Carbondale has plenty of restaurants to suit every palate. The Village Smithy (villagesmithy.com) has been serving Carbondale since 1975 with breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Specialties at the Village Smithy include Mexican-inspired breakfast dishes like migas and fire roasted huevos rancheros, cheese blintzes and every variety of omelet. Restaurant Six89 (six89.com/home.php) features contemporary comfort food with ingredients sourced locally. Guests can order the Local Prix Fixe, a three-course fixed menu for one set price, or order from the bar menu, which features more affordable items. Every Wednesday Six89 features the 100 Mile BBQ's with a menu that changes weekly and is based on market availability. Skip's Pourhouse (skipspourhouse.com) features Mexican and American cuisine in a Western-style setting in downtown Carbondale. Skip's features dishes including pork green chili, fajitas and calves livers.

About the Author

Nicole Brown has been a freelance writer since 2007. She works as an administrative professional in the legal field and does freelance writing part-time. She has an associate degree in business administration from American Intercontinental University and a bachelor's degree in public administration from the University of Phoenix.