Hearts race and palms sweat as thrill seekers peer over the edge. The anxiety before the 20-foot plunge into Devils Punchbowl is washed away when cliff jumpers hit the ice cold emerald water below.
The natural swimming hole carved out by the Roaring Fork River is accessed from a pullout west of The Grottos Day Use Area near mile marker 51 off of Highway 82 east of Aspen. The nearly vertical cliffs that make up the "punchbowl" are an ideal feature for adrenaline junkies to get their free-fall fix.
From the parking area, head down toward the river and cross on the large boulders. Walk up the hill to one of a few spots, scout out a landing, and make the leap. Watch out for a large submerged boulder that can easily be seen through the clear water. Exiting the cold water is easiest on the highway side of the punchbowl.
For those who prefer to stay on dry land, there are several spots across from the Devils Punchbowl to watch cliff jumpers. Exercise extreme caution if choosing to jump.
Swimming holes and cliff jumping can be extremely dangerous and unpredictable outdoor activities that pose significant risks regarding personal safety. Changing water levels, unseen rocks, and river bottoms that have shifted with currents and seasonal weather can turn a well-known jumping area into a serious hazard. Prior to engaging in these activities, extensively scout the current conditions, and understand the risks involved with serious injury and the logistical challenges of evacuation from the water so you can make safe decisions.