Road to the Maroon Bells to open May 21
Maroon Creek Road leading up to Maroon Lake and the Maroon Bells will reopen for the summer May 21, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The opening will coincide with the Colorado Department of Transportation’s schedule to open the gates to Colorado Highway 82 over Independence Pass, east of Aspen. Both the pass gate and the gate to the Bells will be unlocked at 2 p.m., weather permitting.
Bicyclists and pedestrians can go beyond both gates now.
Vehicular access to the Bells on May 21 is free. Starting May 22, the entrance station along Maroon Creek Road will be staffed during peak hours. Those driving vehicles past the gate will be asked to pay a $5 recreation use fee – half the usual $10 price because limited services will be available at the lake early in the season.
Once the water is turned on, trash collection begins and visitor services at the lake are up to full summer standards – sometime in early June – the $10 fee will take effect. Ten bucks buys a 5-day Maroon Bells pass.
Although the water won’t be turned on yet, the restrooms at Maroon Lake will be clean and open when the gate opens May 21, according to the Aspen Ranger District. The facilities offer composting toilets.
A locals season pass to the Bells this season will cost $25.
The three campgrounds along Maroon Creek Road – Silver Bar, Silver Bell and Silver Queen – will open for the season May 22. The nightly fee will again be $15.
Starting June 20, motorized vehicle access to the lake is restricted daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and visitors will be directed to take a Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus to the Bells from Aspen Highlands, located on Maroon Creek Road. Parking at Highlands is free, but there is a fee to ride the bus – $6 for adults and $4 for children and seniors. New this season is a Wednesday special – $3 to ride the bus to the Bells for everyone, according to RFTA, but the discounted tickets must be purchased and used on Wednesdays. They’ll be available at the Rubey Park bus station in downtown Aspen and at Highlands.
The $10 fee for motorized vehicle access will be charged at the entrance station from 7 to 9 a.m. and from 5 to 7 p.m. once bus service begins June 20. The $25 season pass is good during these hours.
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