About the Carbondale Area


Elevation & Climate

At 6,181 feet, resting at the magnificent foot of 12,953-foot Mount Sopris, Carbondale enjoys an average of 295 days of sunshine in a wide-open valley free of mountain shadows. Residents enjoy low humidity and cold but mild winters. Summers are warm enough for barefoot strolls, flower gardens and even tomato growing. But bring a raincoat or poncho; afternoon showers and thunderstorms are frequent in the summer. They last about an hour before the sun and rainbows come out.

Insider's Favorites


Carbondale has enjoyed a cultural renaissance while still retaining its original ranching and western flavor. Since the 1970's, promotion of the arts, recreation and community events in this community of about 6,000 has shaped the community, giving it a outdoorsy, artistic and foodie vibe.

Originally a farming and potato-growing town, Carbondale is filled with apple, plum, apricot and pear trees. Drawing on its own local gardens, as well as vintages and produce from Colorado's nearby wine country, Carbondale rates as a culinary hotspot. You’ll find a cornucopia of restaurants. Choices range from traditional American food to Mexican and Salvadoran entrees, Italian dishes, Indian food and Thai fare. A former blacksmith’s hearth offers the best breakfast for miles around. There’s also an authentic Irish pub, several sandwich shops, delis and some of the best pizza parlors around.

Carbondale is home to many artisans, including glass artists, painters, sculptors and jewelry and furniture makers. This is the town where the Aspen-Santa Fe Ballet and the Aspen Writer's Foundation really live. 

The Carbondale Clay Center promotes excellence in the ceramic arts. The Thunder River Theatre, a year-round non-profit repertory company, produces live theatre as good as y

ou'd expect to find in a city like San Francisco or Denver.

Many architects whose practices focus on Aspen and Snowmass Village residences choose to live in Carbondale. The site of multiple solar installation companies and the Solar Energy International training academy, Carbondale has been officially recognized as a solar-friendly town.

Carbondale's solar-powered, local public radio station, KDNK provides a local sound track, and it is a focal point for local issues and events.

Carbondale Cultural Links

Educational Resources

Events & Attractions

Carbondale lies 170 miles west of Denver, 12 miles from Glenwood Springs, and just 30 miles from Aspen, which means that it's just half an hour from the four ski areas that make up Aspen/Snowmass, and half an hour from Sunlight Mountain. A great area for Nordic skiing is located minutes from town, and in winter, miles of bike paths become available for cross-country skiiers.

Carbondale's summer Mountain Fair showcases numerous resident talents including musicians, dancers, and visual artists. The Performing Arts Center (PAC3) hosts popular bands and performers year around.

Repeatedly ranked among the "Best Towns" by Outside Magazine and chosen for the “Top 12 Towns" in the "50 Next Great Places to Live and Play” by National Geographic and Adventure Magazine, Carbondale is a recreational paradise. It has been recognized as a Bike Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists in recognition of more than 50 miles of dedicated bike paths, and it hosts professional bike races in the summer.

The town has an active local rodeo in the summer, as well as river rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, camping and climbing galore.

Visit the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce's website to learn why the town is called the Basecamp to Adventure, and be sure to read the Chamber's "Top Ten Must-Dos" for Carbondale.  

Carbondale Area Schools

These are among the best-rated schools in Carbondale:

  • Mount Sopris Montessori School (Private, Preschool)
  • Ross Montessori School (Charter, K-8)
  • Blue Lake Preschool (Private, Preschool)
  • Roaring Fork School District Pre-School (Private, Preschool)
  • Carbondale Community Charter School (Charter, K-8)
  • Carbondale Middle School (Public, K-8)
  • Waldorf School on the Roaring Fork (Private, PK-8)
  • Roaring Fork High School (Public, 9-12)
  • Bridges High School (Public, 9-12)
  • Colorado Rocky Mountain School (Private, 9-12)

To see more detail about Carbondale area schools and daycare facilities, visit this Carbondale page at GreatSchools.org. Carbondale also hosts a wealth of institutions devoted to environmental, cultural and scientific education for adults, many of them listed in the links above.