2001 Hooks Spur Rd
Basalt, CO 81621
Rock Bottom Ranch serves as ACES’ mid-valley hub for environmental education, wildlands preservation, and sustainable agriculture. The 113-acre wildlife preserve and educational 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.
At ACES at Rock Bottom Ranch we are guided by nature, balancing the wild and the agricultural, enriching lives and land. The Ranch is western Colorado’s “school” for teaching people of all ages how to grow healthy, local, sustainable food. This means farming using principles of ecology and natural biological cycles to satisfy human food needs while enhancing and protecting water, land, and climate resources. The Ranch is also home to our mid-valley ACES Ed programming, which features in-school environmental science education at Aspen Elementary School, Basalt Elementary School, Crystal River Elementary School in Carbondale, and Kathryn Senor Elementary School in New Castle as well as field programs for over 50 regional schools.
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 wild lands provide habitat to wildlife including bear, coyote, bobcat, weasel, and beaver.
Please come and visit us at to learn about our sustainable agriculture practices and purchase delicious local food. Visitors will enjoy exploring the gardens and animal paddocks on guided farm tours, seasonal programming for kids and adults, a trail system and outdoor classrooms, a cook book library, and sunny picnic spots including Cole Island.
During summer, we welcome you to come visit the ranch during our open hours. There are self-guided tours available to help you explore the ranch on your own time. If you are looking for a guided experience, check out our hands-on community experiences like Egg Collection Fridays and Vegetable Tastings. If you would like to experience our food and farming first hand, join us for an evening on the ranch at one of our Farm to Table or Burlap Dinner events. In the summer, we also sell our products at the Aspen Saturday Market, Carbondale Farmers’ Market, and Skip’s Market in Basalt.
We created this special agriculture-focused website for both experienced and novice farmers from all over the world to take a peak into our regenerative production practices. The site’s purpose is to provide farmers with resources to learn more about different practices including how-to videos, written content, and beautiful photos. Have a look! acesagriculture.org
When you donate to our sustainable agriculture programs, you are combating the #1 source of carbon emissions in Colorado. Your support allows us to prioritize ecosystem health, energy efficiency, carbon sequestration, land stewardship, animal welfare, and social heritage. Rock Bottom Ranch also serves as a living classroom for over 10,500 contacts each year.