End of bike ride at the Woody Creek Tavern

End of bike ride at the Woody Creek Tavern

Day Six — Downhill all the way!

We ‘ve been in Aspen staying at the wonderful Little Nell at the base of Aspen Mountain the last three days and we’ve hiked, fly fished, gotten massages and eaten very well.

What’s left?  Biking, of course.  Locals are huge mountain bikers so we’ve at least got to give it a shot.  We opt for the Rio Grande Trail—a rail to trail favorite of locals for running, hiking, walking  and of course biking.  It goes some 40 miles to Glenwood Springs.  We opt for a short nine-mile ride to Woody Creek Tavern which back in the day was where Hunter Thompson and his friends held forth.  We’ve rented bikes from Four Mountain Sports, though we could have borrowed some with no gears from the Little Nell. (Check out the fall package for $400 of added value, for free that includes 2 Orbea bike rentals for 1 day, Garmin GPS units preloaded with suggested rides, so no rider gets lost, 2 bike jerseys and water bottles.)

Woody Creek Tavern is  first opened in 1980 and is a quirky and  popular lunch spot for bikers looking for a good burger (veggie burgers too!) awesome nachos and margaritas. The perfect end to a nice easy morning ride.

Even better, we don’t have to ride our bikes back.  The Little Nell van comes and picks us up (there is a charge to come this far but in Aspen, they take us and pick us up anywhere we want to go like the Limelight Hotel where we’d gone for a beer tasting—yes a beer tasting—dinner with different beers from Aspen Brewing Company).

A little Little Nell History:   In 1881, D.D. Fowler created the mining claim of “The Little Nellie” on the eastern slope of Aspen Hill—jut up slope from where the hotel is today- over 70 feet into the mountain.  There were hundreds of claims on mines above town. No one really bows why they called it the Little Nell.

 He was gone by 1892… But here at the foot of Aspen Mountain  just 17 feet from the Silver Queen Gondola the hotel  opened in 1989.—just  92 guestrooms and suites that are luxurious without being pretentious. (I love that the non alcoholic drinks and snacks in the mini bar are included.) Rates in fall start at under $400 a night (stay two nights and get a third night free) but in winter they are much pricier. In fall, there’s a Customized Adventure Program including fly fishing in the hotel’s hand-crafted

Pets are welcome. The Little Nell’s Petiquette Program includes everything from a gourmet meal menu to food bowls, pet beds and pet-walking.

We liked The Little Nell’s Montagna Bar and Living Room offer an extensive selection of wine, spirits, beer and cocktails.  Adjoining The Little Nell, the slopeside Ajax Tavern and Chef Matt O’Neill dish up bistro fare, including the famous Ajax Double Cheeseburgers, Gruyere fondue and truffle fries. The patio is popular year round.

We also liked the hotel’s commitment to being green. The innovative Eco-Luxe program includes fresh Aspen water in a hand-made artisan water pitcher at turndown, complimentary reusable water bottles and the use of one of the hotel’s complimentary cruising bikes during spring, summer and fall. A $2 nightly donation, supplemented with an additional $3 nightly donation by the hotel, goes to Aspen Valley Land Trust (AVLT), an organization dedicated to preserving open lands for agriculture, wildlife, scenic enjoyment and recreation in the Roaring Fork Valley.

But what I liked most is hiking, biking and fishing and then relaxing in such comfy surroundings. No tents for me this trip!