Any Aspen summer vacation must include a visit to the Maroon Bells, Colorado's most photographed peaks. The wine-colored, craggy mountains tower over a mirror lake surrounded by vast groves of aspen trees. The scene is simply stunning.
During normal summers, car traffic is limited to protect the treasured ecosystem, and visitors can access the Maroon Bells Scenic Area by bus during peak hours (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.) or by car early in the morning and in the evening (before 7:30 a.m. and after 5 p.m.).
This summer, with COVID-19 social distancing requirements in place plus the U.S. Forest Service's need to safely manage demand, reservations are required to access the Maroon Bells Scenic Area. Visitors must reserve both bus seats and parking spots, depending on the time of day of their visit.
Reservations opened for the entire summer season on April 12, 2021. Don't worry! If you did not secure your reservation and they are sold out, there are other ways to access the Maroon Bells.
HOW TO VISIT THE MAROON BELLS WITHOUT A RESERVATION
- CHECK THE RESERVATION SITE FREQUENTLY
While reservations may be sold out now, capacity restrictions are changing often. If local officials increase capacity for the Maroon Creek bus, more tickets may become available. Check the reservation site frequently!
- JUST SHOW UP!
Last summer, when the reservation system was first implemented, there was a 20% no-show rate for bus tickets. If a ticket holder does not arrive for their assigned departure time, additional tickets will be available to purchase at the RFTA office at Aspen Highlands ($20 instead of $16). Our concierge advised many guests to try their luck at the on-site ticket window, and most were able to find a seat on the Maroon Bells bus.
- RENT AN E-BIKE
Providing the most fun you'll have on two wheels, e-bikes are motorized bicycles that offer "pedal-assist" to riders. An electronic motor kicks in relative to the effort and force the rider exerts, providing a boost uphill!
Maroon Creek Road is easy to access from town, and it's the perfect route for e-biking. Cruise through the forest service gate and up the gentle grade, glancing at the dramatic views on your way to the main attraction.
Ask the Frias Properties concierge for recommendations on where to rent your e-bikes!
- SIGN UP FOR A DOWNHILL BIKE TOUR
Blazing Adventures offers downhill bike tours that start at the Maroon Bells scenic area and descend Maroon Creek Road back to town. This outfitter carries a special permit that allows them to take vans and bike trailers to the coveted area.
You'll have time to scope out Maroon Lake, snap a few pictures, and saddle up. The ride down is incredibly picturesque and includes a stop at the East Maroon Portal, another great photo opp.
Please note that commercial drop-offs will not be permitted this summer. That means you won't be able to take a taxi up to the Maroon Bells. Private vehicle drop-offs are permitted between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., but visitors will have to secure a one-way ticket down to Aspen Highlands if they return after 8 a.m.
Join us in Aspen!
Book your Aspen vacation rental with Frias Properties and receive many more tips like these that take your getaway from good to great. Start by searching our online selection, and contact our Aspen-based reservations team for rates and availability.