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Highway 82 Bypass #2: Snowmass Summer Route to the Midvalley

Todd Hartley's picture

Let’s say you’re staying at a condo in Snowmass Village. You’ve been to just about every restaurant on the mall or at the base area, and you’re tired of trekking into Aspen and paying an arm and a leg to eat dinner there. Or maybe you just want to shop at a decent-sized grocery store for a change. In this case, the solution is clear: you need to make a trip to the mid-valley, home to dozens of great, inexpensive restaurants and the voluminous El Jebel City Market.

In the winter, this means a trip down Brush Creek Road and Highway 82, but in the summer, there is a very cool scenic alternative that won’t take a whole lot more time.

Start at the intersection of Brush Creek Road and Wood Road, between the Base Village and Snowmass Center. Go west on Brush Creek Road up the hill past a couple of condo developments. Stay right on Divide Road, which, as its name suggests, will climb up and over a low gap below the Sam’s Knob portion of Snowmass Ski Area.

Follow Divide Road down the hill past the Krabloonik dog kennels, where it turns to dirt and begins crossing the ski runs below the Campground lift. After a couple of switchbacks, the road will reach the valley floor. At this point, take a right onto Snowmass Creek Road and follow it as it crosses a creek and turns back to a paved road.

Stay on Snowmass Creek Road for about four miles or so until it reaches an intersection with Capitol Creek Road in the heart of Old Snowmass. Go left on Capitol Creek Road for about a quarter-mile, and then take a right on East Sopris Creek Road, which turns to dirt and goes over another low divide.

Stay on East Sopris Creek past where it becomes paved again until you reach a stop sign. Take a right here onto Sopris Creek Road and follow it a short distance back out toward Highway 82. If you want to go to Basalt, take a right onto the highway and go to the next stoplight, where a left turn will bring you into town. For El Jebel and Carbondale, however, skip the highway and instead stay left on Emma Road.

Emma Road goes straight across the horse pastures for about a mile before taking a 90 degree turn and becoming Hooks Lane. Stay on Hooks Lane as it crosses the river and reaches a T intersection. Go left here on Willits Lane to reach El Jebel, Willits and the aforementioned City Market.

To continue on to Carbondale, as you approach Willits and the City Market shopping plaza, take a left on a road called Hopi and drive through the quaint Sopris Village neighborhood. Go right on either Zuni, Ute, Kiowa, Navajo or Arapahoe to reach Cheyenne. Take a left on Cheyenne, and it will deliver you to Valley Road by the main El Jebel stoplight. Cross Highway 82 here to reach El Jebel proper. Otherwise, go left.

Follow Valley Road for a couple of miles until it turns back toward the highway. Go left on Frontage Road for another couple of miles to reach Catherine Store Road. Take a left here and follow Catherine Store Road as it crosses the Roaring Fork River and makes a 90 degree turn to the right. Stay on Catherine Store Road for about three miles and go up a small rise to where it reaches downtown Carbondale and turns into Main Street, home to fantastic dining options such as SIX89, Russet’s, Phat Thai, Ella, White House Pizza, La Casita and Peppino’s. There’s even another City Market if you missed the one in El Jebel.