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Often referred to as the most photographed peaks in North America, the Maroon Bells are an extraordinary destination not to be missed during a visit to Snowmass, Colorado. The most convenient and eco-friendly ways to see the Maroon Bells is via bus tour from Aspen Highlands or by bike. The road to the Maroon Bells opens on June 8, 2020. Starting June 28, only RFTA buses (as well as bikes and other human-powered activities) can enter the gates between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. The Maroon Bells bus tour provides information about the geology and wildlife in the area. 15 passengers are allowed on each bus and proper social distancing requirements must be observed. Tickets can be purchased by online reservation only. Tickets are not available for purchase onsite at Aspen Highlands.
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 and water fountains 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.
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 starting June 28, 2020.
The road to the Maroon Bells opens June 8, 2020. We recommend visiting the Bells by bus due to restrictions on vehicular access and as the most eco-friendly way to keep this area pristine for years to come. Should you choose to drive, you would need to pass through the Welcome Station gate before 8:00 am or after 5:00 pm (cars that drive up before 8:00 am can drive back down at any time). There is a $10 per vehicle fee at all times, which can be made by online reservation only. The fee cannot be paid at the Welcome Center in 2020. 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, 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.
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 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, 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.