Rock Bottom Ranch serves as ACES' mid-valley hub for environmental education, wildlands preservation, and sustainable agriculture. At ACES' Rock Bottom Ranch site we are guided by nature, balancing the wild and the agricultural, enriching lives and land. The 113-acre wildlife preserve and demonstration ranch sits between the Roaring Fork River and the Crown of Mount Sopris and is conveniently located midway between Basalt and Carbondale on the Rio Grande Trail. Its acreage includes wetlands, spring-fed ponds, a braid of the Roaring Fork River, cottonwood bottomlands, a view of piñon-juniper woodlands on adjacent BLM land, teaching farmyards, pasturelands, and gardens.
Originally settled and worked by the Glassier family in the early 1900’s, Aspen Center for Environmental Studies purchased the ranch from Charlie Cole in 1999 with an agreement to protect the property’s important riparian habitat, to broaden ACES’ educational outreach programs throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, and to explore the complex interaction between agriculture and natural ecosystems along the Roaring Fork River. A conservation easement on the property ensures that it will always offer winter range and unobstructed river access for resident herds of elk and mule deer. Heron, hawk and owl nesting grounds exist at the Ranch, and its wildlands provide habitat to wildlife including bear, coyote, bobcat, weasel, and beaver.
Visitors are encouraged to stop by the ranch during open hours (9AM - 5PM Monday - Friday in the winter, Monday - Saturday in the summer). Amenities include guided tours of the farmyard, seasonal programming for kids and adults, a scenic nature trail, a naturalist and sustainable agriculture library, beautiful Cole Island, and myriad of picnic spots. During the summer months our Farm to Table dinners feature local foods from the ranch and nearby producers.
Rock Bottom Ranch products, like eggs, pork and chicken, can be purchased at the ranch when available.
Rock Bottom Ranch is also the hub for ACES Ed programming in the mid-valley, which features in-school science education and field programs for all Basalt and Crystal River Elementary School students.
Rock Bottom Ranch can be rented for private events, weddings, retreats, meetings and birthday parties.