Any trip to Aspen must include a visit to see the Maroon Bells, the most photographed peaks in North America. Explore the pristine valley where trails meander through aspen groves and mirror lakes reflect the two 14,000-foot, wine-colored peaks.
Car traffic to the Maroon Bells is always limited during peak summer months, and reservations are now required to both comply with COVID-19 restrictions and preserve the area's pristine natural beauty. Read on for important information about how to access Maroon Bells Scenic Area, and read our Guide to Visiting the Maroon Bells to start planning your excursion.
SUMMER 2021 OPERATING DATES & HOURS
- Maroon Creek Road opens in mid-May (date TBD). Car traffic is permitted for a $10 fee, and parking reservations are required. They can be made for half-day, whole-day, or overnight increments.
- RFTA bus service runs from June 7 - Oct. 17, 2021. Car traffic is restricted between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Visitors may access the Maroon Bells via RFTA bus, which picks up and drops off at Aspen Highlands ski area. Reservations are required.
- Passenger drop-off and pick-up in private vehicles is available between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. without a reservation required. Commercial drop-offs and pick-ups are not allowed.
HOW TO ACCESS THE MAROON BELLS
Reservations are now required for both car parking and shuttle service. Reservations open for the entire summer 2021 season at 10 a.m. MST on April 12, 2021 on AspenChamber.org.
Didn't get a shuttle reservation? There may be last-minute tickets available for walk-up guests at the Aspen Highlands ticket office. RFTA releases no-show tickets just before shuttle departures. Last summer, many of our guests were able to visit the Maroon Bells by purchasing walk-up tickets. For more ideas, see our post about How to Access the Maroon Bells Without a Reservation.
Getting to the Maroon Bells by Bus
Roaring Fork Transit Authority (RFTA) provides bus service to the Maroon Bells Scenic Area between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. during peak summer months. Reservations are required and can be made here.
Shuttles run every 15 minutes and pick up and drop off at Aspen Highlands ski area.
Shuttle tickets are $16 for adults ($20 for walk-ups) and $10 for children 12 & under and seniors over 65 ($14 for walk-ups).
To get to Aspen Highlands, visitors can either take the free Castle/Maroon Creek bus from Rubey Park Bus Depot in downtown Aspen or drive and park at Aspen Highlands (paid parking only).
Getting to the Maroon Bells by Car
Car traffic is permitted before bus service begins in June and after it ends in October while Maroon Creek Road is open. It is also permitted before 8 a.m. and after 5 p.m. during the summer season. There is a $10 access-and-entry fee, and reservations must be made online.
During bus-service hours, there are some exceptions to the vehicle restrictions. For a list of those vehicles and visitors who are permitted to access the Maroon Bells Scenic Area during bus-service hours, visit AspenChamber.org.
Getting to the Maroon Bells by Bike
With car traffic restricted on Maroon Creek Road, the journey to the Maroon Bells can be an excellent activity in itself. Rent a road bike or e-bike from one of our trusted outfitters, and enjoy the eight-mile ascent from Aspen Highlands.
Getting to the Maroon Bells without a Reservation
If reservations are sold out during your travel dates, there are two additional ways to access Maroon Bells Scenic Area during normal daytime hours: by bike and by outfitter.
- Rent a bike or an e-bike and ride up Maroon Creek Road. 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!
- Sign up for a downhill bike tour with Blazing Adventures. 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.
QUESTIONS? WE ARE HERE TO HELP.
Our Concierge Team can help you plan your Maroon Bells excursion and answer all your transportation questions. Contact us at (970) 429-2449 or email concierge (at) friasproperties (dot) com.