When gold and silver were discovered in Aspen in 1879, the prospectors spotted a place in the Roaring Fork Valley that was rich and fertile and perfect for settlement. In the next few years, over twenty families moved to this spot. Finally, in 1888, the town was incorporated and named Carbondale by Pennsylvania’s town of the same name that was their original home.
The early settlers started ranches for cattle and sheep, and they even started growing potatoes. Potatoes remained a mainstay crop for over fifty years in Carbondale and were one of the most important aspects of their economy.
The Silver Panic of 1893 didn’t miss Carbondale, and the growth of the city slowed. However, the city started growing potatoes, and farming brought them stabilization and prosperity.
One of the longest annual events in Carbondale is the Potato Day, which was held in 1909 for the first time.
During the sixties, the growing of Aspen also meant the growing of Carbondale, and tourism became one of the main economic forces. Because Aspen was one of the major mining towns, Carbondale turned to tourism, and agriculture stopped being a primary focus of the town. Between 1983 and 1987, the population remained almost constant, but the town started developing. The main focus became retail, wholesale, and service establishment. Furthermore, they discovered significant coal resources, and mining became one of the other ways to boost the economy.
A decade later, the decline of oil and mining left a mark since the last mine was closed permanently in 1991. Aspen also became one of the top skiing destinations, and naturally, property value went even higher, and Carbondale became a bedroom community to neighbor Aspen.
Geography and Climate
Carbondale is a small town with an area of two square miles located near Aspen in the Roaring Fork Valley. The Crystal River goes through the city and to the mouth of the Roaring Fork River. One of the most impressive things about the city is the view. You can see on the horizon an entire Mount Sopris which is located south of the town.
The town is at an altitude of over six thousand feet, and it is estimated that there are 295 sunny days. Furthermore, winters are cold but mild, and summers are comfortable.
Places of Interest Near Carbondale
Since Carbondale is located in the Roaring Fork Valley, the nature is incredible and perfect for outdoor activities. If you are a nature-lover, you shouldn’t miss Penny Hot Springs. It is located a bit over 13 miles from the city, and it is a perfect destination for camping and hiking.
There is also the Carbondale Public Art museum if you are looking for a place of culture and even a theater where you can enjoy incredible performances. Music is also an important part of Carbondale life, and there are several music festivals and regular performances across the town.
The community also promotes recreation, artists and art, incredible dining, and many cultural events.
What to Do in Carbondale
Due to the location of the city, outdoor activities are extremely popular. Among the activities you can enjoy in and near the city are biking, hiking, gold-medal fly-fishing, kayaking, and world-class skateboarding.
Of course, if you are visiting during the winter, you can enjoy activities like snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and there is an incredible cross-country skiing at nearby Spring Gulch. And there is also a famous snowboard and skiing path in nearby Aspen which is only 30 miles away from the city.
Hiking and Trekking in Carbondale
Both hiking and trekking are extremely popular in Carbondale. There are so many paths and directions you can try. One of the first and most exciting ones is the Mushroom Rock Trail. The path is one of the main attractions of the nearby Red Hill. If you opt for this road, you’ll have an incredible view of both the city of Carbondale and Mount Sopris.
Another interesting path is Thompson Creek Trail that is located near the creek which bears the same name. The whole area is quiet and peaceful, so you’ll be able to fully enjoy nature. Naturally, there are others like Avalanche Creek Trail and Mount Sopris Trail that will allow you to fully embrace the landscape and the spirit of Carbondale.