The iconic Maroon Bells, often referred to as the most photographed peaks in North America, are an extraordinary destination not to be missed during a visit to Snowmass. The best way to see the Maroon Bells is via the bus tour from Aspen Highlands. Between June 9 and October 8, only RFTA buses can enter the gates between the hours of 8:00am and 5:00pm. Drivers provide information about the geology and wildlife to make it a fun trip. Tickets cost $8 and can be purchased at the Highlands Center.
When heading to the Maroon Bells, it is recommended to bring sunscreen, a warm layer and/or rain jacket, comfortable walking/hiking shoes, water, snacks and, of course, a camera. (These are the most photographed peaks in North America, after all.) While you’re there, you can enjoy the view from Maroon Lake or hike around the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area (click here for recommended trails). A picnic near the lake is a popular activity. There are public restrooms at the arrival area, but no other services.
Pro Tip #1: If your travel plans are flexible, the best time to explore the Maroon Bells is mid-week.
Pro tip #2: Sightseeing Package – Package your Maroon Bells bus ticket with gondola rides, lunch credits and other discounts. Click here to learn more.
Getting There By Bus:
From Snowmass, take a free Village Shuttle to the Intercept Lot/Hwy 82 and transfer to a free RFTA bus towards Aspen. There are bus stops throughout Snowmass, including the Snowmass Mall, Base Village and Town Park Station. You can transfer to the Castle Maroon bus at either the Maroon Creek stop (at the Aspen roundabout) or at Aspen’s Rubey Park Transit Center. Castle Maroon buses leave Rubey Park at :00, :20 and :40 throughout the day. For more information on RFTA bus service, contact the Roaring Fork Transit Authority at (970) 925-8484.
Note: Maroon Bells bus service runs June 9 – October 8, 2018.
Getting There By Car:
We recommend visiting the Bells by bus due to restrictions on vehicular access. Should you choose to drive, you would need to pass through the Welcome Station gate before 8:00am or after 5:00pm (cars that drive up before 8:00am can drive back down at any time). There is a $10 per vehicle fee to be paid at the Welcome Center gate, cash or check only. Please be aware, the road is subject to closure at any time to avoid crowding.
From Snowmass, take Brush Creek Road or Owl Creek Road toward Hwy 82, and turn right (east) on Hwy 82. At the Aspen roundabout, take Maroon Creek Road (first exit). Drive 1.5 miles to Highlands Center, where you can park and board the bus tour. Paid parking is available at Aspen Highlands, but does fill quickly.
Note: During peak foliage weekends in September (9/15-9/16, 9/22-9/23, 9/29-9/30), when parking is expected to be full at the Maroon Bells Scenic Area as well as at the Aspen Highlands parking lot, free overflow parking can be found at Buttermilk Ski Area, and free RFTA shuttles will transport passengers from Buttermilk to Highlands to catch the Maroon Bells bus tour. On October 9, Maroon Creek Road reopens to all-day vehicular traffic and closes on November 15, 2018.
Getting There By Bike:
Biking to the Maroon Bells is an iconic Colorado ride, both beautiful and challenging. Cyclists can ride Maroon Creek Road approximately 8 miles and 1,600 vertical feet up to the Maroon Bells, which takes approximately 1-1.5 hours up and 35-45 minutes down. Because Maroon Creek Road is closed to all vehicles besides buses between 8:00am and 5:00pm, the road is relatively clear for cyclists. For details on the Maroon Bells ride, visit BikeSnowmass.com.
Cyclists headed to the Maroon Bells from Snowmass can choose to ride to Highlands, or transport their bike to Highlands using the bus system (see “Getting there by bus” above). Village Shuttle and RFTA buses are equipped with bike racks, and RFTA buses charge a $2 fare for bikes.