Above The New Aspen Marble Detour Route: Coming July 2019

Hello and welcome to a first glimpse of the new Aspen Marble Detour route.

Set to launch in July of 2019 this new innovative small group tour service will provide a much needed summertime transportation option for visitors to the Crystal River Valley.

ASPEN TO MARBLE RETURN

Anything BUT Direct

Just $99 per person

Ticket Includes One Aspen Pick Up and Multiple Rides up and down the Crystal River Valley

Valid for 7 days !!!

With pick ups and drop offs at points along the way, visitors to the upper Roaring Fork Valley, Aspen and Snowmass, will have the option of a single day tour – in which they see and experience the lot in one fell swoop. Or a choice to extend their visit over several days, staying a night or two here and there and then moving on to the next attraction. Either way by the end of their Detour, the Detourists will feel as though they know the valley from one end to the other, perhaps even vowing to return one fine day. And with three hours at lunchtime to partake of Marble’s many varied activities, or just go for a long leisurely walk in the woods, one way or another, with the flexibility built into the core of the Aspen Marble Detour, everyone will have the opportunity to enjoy whatever of the options that appeals the most.

In fact, the ease and simplicity with which it will soon be possible to stay and play in any part of the Crystal River Valley will provide a whole slew of options to the canny visitor and ‘staycationer’ alike. Camping and hiking, shopping and galleries and gift shops, fat tire mountain biking, jeep touring, fishing, exploring deep into the woods, or striding single track high upon the mountainside and or soaking in a natural hot springs pool; any and all outdoor activities would appear to be on offer at some point along the Aspen Marble Detour, along with a plethora of excellent dining and accommodation options.

Great food abounds up and down the The Crystal River Valley, along with experienced guide services, equipment rental, and outdoor activities such as Frisbee golf. Plus of course simply hiking the miles and miles of spectacular trails that are free, and open to all.

We will also explore the unique and curious history of the currently revived Colorado Yule Marble quarry. It is no exaggeration that the namesake town of Marble, Colorado, simply abounds in the white semi-precious stone, and much of this history will be revealed and explained during the tour.

But what of the name, why Detour and not just plain ordinary “tour”? Well, being a small group tour, and with all of the flexibility that implies, with just a handful of people on board, it will be group preference that spells the order of the day, and not the driver – who will deliver upon the census arrived at by the group. Panoramic views abound throughout the entire length of the day for instance, but we wont stop at them all – unless we all agree that it might be fun. After all, it only takes a couple of minutes to safely pull over to admire and take photos. But if no one is interested, then we will simply glide on and perhaps stop at an extra waterfall or historic relic, for there are plenty of them too, scattered pretty much all along the Aspen Marble Detour.

And so, here we go. There is much more that I could add here but to learn more of the Detour please scroll down and fly over the Aspen Marble Detour for yourself. But please feel free, in fact I positively encourage you, to click on any of the map pictures to enlarge as they pop up and catch your interest, for each one is loaded with information you could really use if you wish to know more about the Crystal River Valley and my new Aspen Marble Detour. It will pop up large as life, from where you will be able to read  the many labels and download whichever images you wish regarding the various options available on the tour: accommodation, trails and campsites, grocery stores, equipment and guide information, diners and restaurants etc.

I think that you are about to be pleasantly surprised, if not completely amazed, at just what this extraordinarily industrious and beautiful mountain valley is equipped to offer a savvy independent tourist, such as yourself!

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The first three maps are arranged to introduce the nature of the Colorado Rocky Mountain terrain; the various pick up and drop off locations in regard to one another; and to display the distinct triangular – or V shaped – route of the Aspen Marble Detour. After which we will fly the length of the Detour at low level in order to get a good look at both the landscape and the various communities that we will encounter along the way.

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Introducing: The Great Aspen Marble Elk Mountain Detour

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Aspen to Marble Return; Anything BUT Direct

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Tour Your Way Around The Roaring Fork and Crystal River Valleys in Fine Style

with the new Aspen Marble Detour, coming July 2019 

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According to my proposed schedule, pick ups will commence at 9:00 am from Aspen’s downtown hotels, arriving at the Wholefoods in Basalt by 9:50, the Avalanche Ranch at 10:40, Redstone at 11:00 and Marble at 12 noon.

The return journey is to begin at 3:00 pm, stopping in at Redstone at 3:30, Avalanche Ranch at 4:00, here at The KMJ at 5:30, and back at Aspen by 6:00.

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To begin with the service will run weekdays, but should demand dictate, it could well run to all seven days, at least during the high season. But with the flexibility built into the system, as mentioned above, passengers will be able to arrange their pick up and drop off to facilitate multi-day stays. The details still have to be worked out, but we feel confident that an on-line ticketing system will be up and running very soon, and there will be more information regarding this convenient form of payment in future posts.

And so, to the first stop of the day, Wholefoods Basalt, it also illustrates the first of the above mentioned group preferences, as there are two distinct ways of reaching our timely cafe and grocery interlude; three if you count simply staying on Highway 82 as an option. But this being the Detour we can always take a different route upon our return if it appears to be favorable to the group.

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The Detour departs Wholefoods Basalt by 10:05, skirts the town of Carbondale, and arrives at the Avalanche Ranch for a brief stop at 10:30, Redstone at 11:00 for a longer stay, and Marble at 12 noon for lunch, and three hours to partake of the town’s multitude of activities.

I myself will from time to time lead tours up to and as close to the quarry as weather conditions, and the massive quarry trucks’ right of way, allow for safe passage. I will also lead casual walking tours explaining the scale and long history of marble quarrying in the Crystal River’s famous tributary – the increasingly ‘world renowned’ Yule Creek Valley.

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Just 23 miles, as the eagle flies, separate Aspen from Marble, Colorado, but over fifty miles of road must be traveled to reach it by vehicle. And while the return journey may appear to simply retrace our tracks back down along the Crystal River and up the Roaring Fork, the path we choose to take upon the reverse direction will once more hinge upon the group’s preference: more views, more time with animals, a bit more shopping? All will then be made to accommodate any and all requests.

Departing at 3:00 pm from Marble, as with the morning tour, we will take our time wending our way this way or that, stopping for longer here, and briefly there, allows for Detourists to perhaps pick up that particular gift that had been on their mind since the moment they put it back on the shelf, or maybe even another look at that gorgeous piece of property, or to pick out a particular room with the stunning mountain views.

At last a car is not actually needed in order to explore and enjoy the magnificent Crystal River Valley; and explore it to the full you will, should you take up the offer to climb aboard the new Aspen Marble Detour at some point over the upcoming beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountain summer season.

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It’s 9:00 AM, and the swift hotel pick ups across the compact downtown Aspen hotel district allows for a prompt and speedy exit to the point that in mere minutes we are out of town and on our way. But right from the off we are even now presented with two starkly different routes. One follows the course of Highway 82, and the other nips into Old Snowmass territory with its stunning views and bumpy roads. Whichever route we take however it is a simple matter to return via the other way for afternoon panoramas, as opposed to the morning variety.

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Ahh, Wholefoods. It is now 10 AM, and right when you need it, here in one spot – all the lovely things you found yourself craving, all the things you suddenly realize that you need; even a packed lunch, should you so wish. Here of course you will be able to grab your coffee, tea, or cold drink, and perhaps a little bite to eat. Ten to fifteen minutes after our arrival later we’re off to the Avalanche Ranch – something of a whirlwind Wholefoods stop for sure, but in that time, if you organised it to be so, you can have most of your order all ready and waiting when you walk through the door.

Gently skirting the town of Carbondale we emerge upon Highway 133 and immediately we are plunged into the drama of the scene; with the massive Mount Sopris looming larger and larger into view as we approach the gaping jaws of the Crystal River Valley. And within minutes we are pulling into the extraordinary Avalanche Ranch with its cavalcade of farm animals, iconic farm equipment, cowboy culture, cool hot springs pools, private cabins, stocked fishing pond and all, it serves as the perfect point in which to savor the nature of the memorable day that lies ahead.

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Although we will be returning to Avalanche Ranch later in the day in order to allow time perhaps for half an hour or so of hot springs soaking, we are soon off to our rendezvous with the quite extraordinary village of Redstone. With its history, galleries and gift shops it makes for the perfect late morning extended visit. There is even, believe it or not, a ‘castle’, to visit. Originally named Cleveholm by John Cleveland Osgood his huge former hunting lodge mansion is now operated as a luxury hotel.

The castle offers tours to the public but they must be arranged in advance with the hotel.

The huge Redstone Inn, once a boarding house for Osgood’s coke oven workers, serves food all day and affords access to an extensive garden.

The coke ovens we shall visit at one point or another, possibly as we leave town back across the bridge, retracing the coke oven worker’s extra short commute. Or possibly as we sweep back down the valley later in the afternoon.

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If you click on the above map you will see what I mean about Redstone – not that you’d notice much from the Highway – but that’s what really makes it something special as you cross the bridge to discover a whole beautiful little Western town just waiting to be explored.

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Upon taking our leave of Redstone we are faced with the opportunity to slip the three miles up McClure Pass in order to take in the sweeping panoramic views afforded from the top, or we can continue to meander our way up the Crystal River Valley, timing our arrival in Marble to coincide with twelve noon. At which point three hours are available to partake in any of the many outdoor activities that are on offer.

I will occasionally lead hikes along the 7 mile return trip up to the quarry and back. Don’t worry, it may sound daunting, but the level grade of the old quarry tramway makes for excellent walking, with the elevation being gained at minimal effort. Going up may take some effort and stamina, but coming down is a quick march all the way.

Aside from a memorable lunch of Slow Groovin’s famous American classic fare, Detourists at this point are faced with a multitude of options: horseback riding, fat tire biking, jeep touring, fly fishing, trail hiking, woodland walking, bird/wildlife watching, or simply reading a book in wilderness.

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Departing the town of Marble at 3:00 PM we now embark upon our return journey to Aspen. Not only is this an ideal opportunity with which to revisit key points along the way, allowing for gift shop purchases and/or future accommodations arranged, but we also get to visit most of the various sights and attractions that we skipped past on the way out.

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Although at first glance the wonder that is the Crystal River Valley may appear so very far, far away and remote, the truth is that it could hardly be more accessible. By car the journey between Aspen and Denver generally takes 3 to 4 hours. However, both national bus and train services stop at Glenwood Springs where Highway 82 meets Interstate 70. From here swift, comfortable air conditioned buses whisk passengers to Aspen in around an hour – and during the summer season they run every 30 minutes or so throughout the day.

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Even if you have access to a car the questions are: Do you want to spend your vacation driving around paradise trying not to get utterly lost? And, are you really willing to pay the exorbitant parking fees invoked by Aspen’s overt anti-car policy? It is no secret at all that Aspen does not like cars – the current mayor has indeed made this cause central to his platform. Furthermore the people of Aspen have made it clear that they will vote for anyone who promises to make getting around in a car as difficult, awkward, slow, frustrating and expensive as it can possibly be. For long periods during the summer and winter seasons 3 mile long tailbacks are the prescribed order of the day, and in general driving around the city is no fun at all.

In the cities’ defense however I will admit that a) it would be horrible if the city was simply overran with cars, and b) they do everything possible to provide top notch, frequent and often totally free public transport of all sorts throughout the day and night. So what I am saying is: even if you arrive in a car, do yourself a favor, and for the brief time you find yourself in the valley, find some economical place to park it and stash the key in a safe place. You wont need it, you wont miss it, and you’ll have a helluva better time outside of the damn thing!

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It is better by far to ditch the car, once you’re here.

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Besides, driving a car in the wild, Wild West is all about long desert highways and lonely two-lane roads, not traffic jams, road rage, and parking tickets.

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That’s about it then, be sure to check out the slideshow below, and click the gallery below that to pick your way through the map tour in full screen mode.

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This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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Please click on any photo below to view on a large format carousel.

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Fly Over The New Aspen Marble Detour: Coming July 2019

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thanks for visiting martincooney.com

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Thoughts ideas questions suggestions concerns requests and opinions here please, if you will?

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