Living in Pitkin County

Pitkin County is located in an area known as the Roaring Fork Valley, which is a special place to live and work. Every season offers its own outdoor amenity such as:
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Climbing
  • Fishing
  • Golfing
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Whitewater rafting
Living Expenses
As with any place, the Roaring Fork Valley has its drawbacks, too. Probably the most important thing to understand is the relatively high cost of living. Non-housing expenses tend to run 20%-30% higher in Aspen than in metropolitan areas. Housing is scarce and expensive.

The Aspen / Pitkin County Housing Office administers a program for local residents and manages an inventory of over 1,400 rent controlled units. However, the need for housing is actually greater than the number of units available. More information is available at the Housing Authority website.

Our valley is comprised of a variety of other communities in which one can live besides Aspen. The further away from Aspen, the more affordable housing becomes. We strongly recommend that the rental and real estate markets be investigated before coming to the valley. The classifieds of the following local newspaper websites have information on what is available to rent and buy in the valley:

Choosing New Locations
This information is provided not to discourage you from considering employment with Pitkin County; however, it has been our experience that employees who understand the reality of life here are happier than those who arrive unprepared.

Choosing to make any location your home involves some compromise. Most of us wouldn't trade our lives here for anything but that is a choice you must make for yourself.

Commuting Times
Although the cost of living outside of Aspen is less expensive, housing costs are considerably higher than most standards. It is important to remember that when living outside of Aspen, commuting time and the associated expenses become factors to consider as well.

The commute time from Carbondale to Aspen is approximately 45-55 minutes with good road conditions during "rush hour". The same commute can take 60-90 minutes during the winter months. We do have excellent bus transportation that runs valley wide and the County provides bus passes to employees.