Woody Creek is a small town situated in west-central Colorado. Originally a mining town, it features a serene setting, breathtaking sights, and year-round outdoor activities.
Where Is Woody Creek Located?
Woody Creek is located in Colorado's Pitkin County. Situated in the beautiful Roaring Fork Valley, it features a distinctly off-the-beaten-path feel despite being only about 8 miles northwest of Aspen.
With a population of just 263 and an area covering only 392 acres, Woody Creek features a remote rural setting. It lies along the Roaring Fork River and the Rio Grande Trail amid a sweeping valley, providing stunning views of lush fields and the surrounding mountains.
This census-designated place and unincorporated town features a small Woody Creek Post Office with its own ZIP code of Woody Creek, CO 81656.
The History of Woody Creek
Woody Creek was originally settled in the late 1800s during the Colorado Silver Boom. The town still features an original homesteader's log cabin from that era at the Flying Dog Ranch.
As mining activity slowed following the silver crash, Woody Creek became more of an agricultural community. Some farms focused on cattle while others grew crops like oats, potatoes, and alfalfa.
After WWII, nearby Aspen began to transform into a recreational and resort destination. Over time, those looking for a quieter and more remote getaway discovered Woody Creek. Today, it is home to a modest trailer park, sprawling ranches, and luxurious estates — some of which are valued at over $20 million.
Over the years, Woody Creek has attracted attention from some of its most famous residents. The most notable is Hunter S. Thompson, who spent much of his life in Woody Creek after he and his family moved there in 1967. He established Owl Farm, which he referred to as his "fortified compound." He died there in 2005, and his funeral was held at the compound later that year.
Other famous individuals who have called Woody Creek home include:
- Don Henley of the Eagles
- John Oates of Hall and Oates
- Actor Don Johnson
- Broadcaster Ed Bradley
- Jimmy Ibbotson of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
- Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi
Woody Creek Attractions
Although Woody Creek is a quiet town, it still has a number of activities to keep residents and visitors entertained. Here are a few of the most popular attractions in Woody Creek.
Woody Creek Tavern
Open since 1980 and housed in a 1940s log cabin on Upper River Rd, this tavern serves as the social hub of the town, especially since the closing of the Woody Creek Community Center.
It features a casual, cozy atmosphere complete with memorabilia and photos covering the walls and a menu of classic comfort foods, such as burgers, BBQ ribs, fried chicken, and steak. Woody Creek Tavern also boasts an impressive selection of beer, wines, and cocktails, including their legendary margaritas.
There are a number of exciting outdoor adventures to enjoy in the Woody Creek area. Some of the most popular sports and activities here include:
- Downhill skiing and snowboarding
- Cross-country skiing
- Mountain biking
- Whitewater rafting
- Fly fishing
If you're willing to venture outside of Woody Creek, you won't have to go far to find even more attractions. The following are some of the top options within a short drive:
- Woody Creek Distillers: Stop by this distillery in nearby Basalt to pick up some of their finely crafted potato vodka, rye whiskey, gin, and bourbon.
- Snowmass Village: This area is home to one of the premier skiing destinations in the state and is known for its family-friendly atmosphere.
- Glenwood Springs: Visit the beautiful hot springs here for some rest and relaxation or enjoy a rush of adrenaline while white water rafting.
- Carbondale: Check out the Carbondale Wild West Rodeo held weekly from June through August.
- Lenado: Drive through nearby Lenado to see one of the state's many ghost towns.
Tips for Visiting Woody Creek
Planning to visit Woody Creek to experience its stunning natural beauty in person? Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Woody Creek doesn't have a motel, hotel, or resort in town. You may be able to find private rentals from homeowners in the area depending on when you plan to visit.
However, there are ample options for places to stay in nearby Aspen and Snowmass Village, both of which are only about a 15-minute drive from Woody Creek. Accommodations here range from modest hotels to high-end resorts.
There are also a number of camping spots available in the nearby White River National Forest. Options include traditional campgrounds, dispersed camping, RV campsites, and cabin rentals.
How to Get to Woody Creek
Woody Creek is conveniently located about 10 minutes from the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport. Those flying into Denver International Airport can reach Woody Creek by car in about 3.5 to 4 hours.
If you're staying in Aspen, the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) provides free bus transportation to and from Woody Creek in the summer and winter seasons.