Reservations are required to visit the Maroon Bells Recreational Area, whether by personal vehicle or by shuttle. When buses are not in operation, vehicle parking reservations are still required to access the Maroon Bells Scenic Area.
More information or Reservations

IMPORTANT UPDATE: U. S. Forest Service plan to implement a pay-to-play system for backpackers in the popular Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness this summer. Reservations and permit fees will be required for the Four Pass Loop, the Capital Lake area, and the Geneva Lake area. The Aspen-Sopris Ranger District unveiled a plan in July to require reservations and a permit fee of $12 per person per night. It would be wise to keep tabs on this development so you don’t get stuck unaware.

The Maroon Bells are stunningly beautiful, well worth experiencing. Vehicle access typically begins late May and the shuttle system from Aspen Highlands begins in early June, at which point vehicle traffic is prohibited between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The road is closed for cars in the winter months, but walking and cross country skiing can be excellent alternatives. Snowmobile tours from T Lazy Seven Ranch are also available. There are no vending machines or restaurants at the Bells so be sure to bring what you need. Many Aspen restaurants offer a box lunch with advance notice.

Getting to Aspen Highlands To go to the Bells between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. either drive to Aspen Highlands parking lot or catch the RFTA Castle/Maroon from Main Street, the bus stop is just one block east from the Tyrolean Lodge. The bus from town runs every 20 minutes starting at 8:02 a.m. The Tyrolean Lodge to Aspen Highlands is a short 7 minute drive by car. If you are taking the RFTA bus, allow 15-17 minutes.

Maroon Bells Bus Tour Bus shuttles depart from Aspen Highlands Ski Area. The reservations includes park entry, bus ride and, depending on the driver, some interesting narrative on the eight mile ride up to the Bells. The buses run about every 20-30 minutes and the last bus down is 5:00 p.m., so don’t miss it!

Driving Directions to the Bells Take 82 west about one mile to the roundabout, then take the second exit onto Maroon Creek Road. Follow Maroon Creek Road about 1 mile to Aspen Highlands Ski Area or continue on past the T-7-Lazy Ranch until you reach the parking lot, 8.7 miles up. The season begins June 8 and runs through September as weather permits. During the off season, cars are permitted as weather allows until the winter closure.

Bike the Bells Biking to the Bells is a rewarding alternative but there are a few considerations. The ride is 8.7 miles from Aspen Highlands and it is all up hill, gaining 800 feet in elevation. Make sure you are well hydrated and well acclimated to the high altitude. Between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm you’ll find the only traffic on the road is bus traffic. If your renting bikes/e-bikes, please make sure you have a conversation about bike etiquette and take appropriate safety precautions.

INSIDER TIP: Be prepared! Bring a raincoat, be still and watch for wildlife. Moose are known to frequent Maroon Lake and Maroon Creek while Red Fox are also seen sleeking around the area. For the keen observer, sometimes the snow white mountain goats can be spotted on the rocky slopes.

    Maroon Lake

    Sculpted by Ice-Age glaciers and later damned by landslides and rockfall debris from towering slopes, Maroon Lake rests at 9,580 feet in elevation and is one of the most scenic places in the Rockies. The lake is ideal for photography, picnics, fishing, or strolling around.

    Maroon Lake Trail

    Follow this short, easy trail from the bus stop or parking lot up to the lake and meadow. Look for a beaver lodge, other hiking trails heading into the aspen woods, perhaps a moose or even trout along the banks. Easy. Up to a mile out and back.

    Scenic Loop Trail

    The path starts at the upper end of the lake just past the bridge. This short trail ventures into the wilderness offering sights and sounds of rushing streams and cascading falls and a quiet beaver pond. Easy. 1.5 miles round trip.

    Maroon Creek Trail

    At the outlet of Maroon Lake, you can enjoy a hike winding downstream along Maroon Creek through rocky slopes and mountain meadows and aspen forests. Wildlife can often be seen along the trails and at the end of your hike, wave down the bus for a lift back to Aspen Highlands. Easy. 3.2 miles one way.

    Crater Lake Trail

    For the more adventurous, this trail leaves the Maroon Lake Trail at the Deadly Bells Kiosk. This steep and rocky trail enters the Wilderness, climbing an ancient rockslide that holds Crater Lake, and more recently avalanche debris. Moderate. 3.6 miles round trip.