Maroon Bells FAQ

Maroon Bells Frequently Asked Questions

For Maroon Bells reservation questions, call 970-930-6442 or email [email protected]

For Maroon Bells camping, backpacking & trail condition questions, contact the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District at 970-963-2266. The office is open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., excluding federal holidays.

Reservation & Transportation FAQ
What is the cost of a reservation?

The cost for each vehicle reservation is $10.

Round-trip RFTA shuttle fare is $16. 

One-way downhill shuttle tickets from the Maroon Bells Scenic Area to Aspen Highlands are $10.

Starting June 7, visitors will be required to use the RFTA shuttle service between the hours of 8 am - 5 pm. When buses are not in operation, vehicles may access the parking areas with a reservation.

Parking at the Aspen Highlands Ski Area costs $5 per hour with a maximum of $40. 

Do I need to print and display my reservation?

Overnight visitors will need to print and display their reservation on the dashboard of their vehicle. Daily and hourly visitors do not need to print their reservation.

Can I cancel or reschedule my reservation?

At least a 48-hour notice is required for cancellations and rescheduling. If you cancel inside of 48 hours or do not show up, you will not be refunded. If you would like to reschedule inside of 48 hours, you will need to rebook paying full price.

Utilize the link in your confirmation email to cancel or reschedule online. You can also reply to your confirmation email or call 970-930-6442. 

Do I need a reservation to bike up the road?

Reservations are not required to bike up the road. Be cautious of cars and busses while riding. 

All bikes are encouraged and expected to adhere to proper bicycling etiquette, including riding single file on the right side of the road (in the direction of traffic) and wearing helmets. Bikes are available to rent in downtown Aspen or at the Aspen Highlands Base Camp.

Is a reservation required for one-way RFTA shuttle trips up to the Maroon Bells?

Yes, reservations are required for one-way trips to or from the Maroon Bells.

Can I get dropped off or picked up by a friend from the scenic area?

Drop-offs for visitors who will be hiking one-way from Maroon Bells Scenic area and who will NOT return are allowed between 6 am and 8 am. A $10 fee is required at the Welcome Center Entrance Self Pay Station.

Can I get dropped off by a Taxi, Limo or Ride Share Service?

No. Taxi, limo, commercial ride-share services are not allowed to drop-off passengers in the Maroon Bells Scenic Area. 

What if I’m hiking over from Crested Butte?

One-way downhill tickets will be required from the Maroon Bells Scenic Area to Aspen Highlands. 

Can I take my dog on the shuttle bus?

Dogs are allowed on the RFTA shuttle bus. Due to the potential for surprise wildlife encounters in the densely vegetated area do not bring dogs on the Scenic Loop trail. Dogs must always be on a leash.

Are passes accepted?

Pass holders can select the "Pass Holders" option at check-out. Pass holders must have a valid pass ready to present when you enter the Maroon Bells scenic area and keep your pass displayed in your car. 

 

Accepted passes include: 

America the Beautiful- Annual

America the Beautiful- Senior

America the Beautiful- 4th Grade

America the Beautiful- Military

America the Beautiful- Access

Maroon Bells Annual Pass

Passes can be purchased at participating federal offices. For more information visit https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm

Call 970-930-6442 for more information.

Can I drive an oversized vehicle to the Maroon Bells?

Parking at Maroon Lake is not available for vehicles larger than 20’.

Who is able to drive their personal vehicle to Maroon Lake during shuttle operations?

The following are exempted from taking the RFTA shuttle to Maroon Lake during shuttle operations:

  • Persons driving a vehicle with a valid handicap placard or license plate    
  • Persons with infants under 2 years old in a child restraint seat as required per Colorado State law.
  • Persons driving a high occupancy vehicle with 11 or more passengers

Reservations to park at Maroon Lake are still required.

Do I need a reservation for a wedding?

Wedding reservations are separate and must be booked through recreation.gov. Wedding parties are issued 5 car passes. You're able to drop-off and then park in overflow or where there is space.

Start planning your Aspen wedding here.

Scenic Area FAQ
What services are available when I arrive? Food, lodging, restrooms, etc.

At the Maroon Bells Scenic Area there are restrooms (without running water). There is no food or lodging.

What should I bring with me?

Bring rain gear and warm clothing in case of sudden thunderstorms. Bring water bottles and snacks as well. 

Is there cell service?

There is no cell phone service in the Maroon Bells Scenic Area. In case of an emergency contact the nearest Forest Service personnel.

Can I fish in Maroon Lake?

Fishing is allowed in Maroon Lake with a valid Colorado Fishing License. Fishing Licenses can be purchased at City Market, Wal-Mart, and local fishing shops. Access Maroon Lake at the inlet. Only bank fishing is allowed, people are not allowed in Maroon Lake. For more information on fishing regulations contact the Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Can I swim in Maroon Lake?

Swimming, wading, boating, kayaking, and rafting are not permitted in Maroon Lake in order to preserve the outdoor experience for all guests and the scenic nature of the area.

Can I kayak/SUP on Maroon Lake?

Swimming, wading, boating, kayaking, and rafting are not permitted in Maroon Lake in order to preserve the outdoor experience for all guests and the scenic nature of the area.

Are dogs allowed on the trails?

Dogs are allowed on the RFTA shuttle bus and most trails. Due to the potential for surprise wildlife encounters in the densely vegetated area do not bring dogs on the Scenic Loop trail. Dogs must always be on a leash.

Camping & Backpacking FAQ

For Maroon Bells camping, backpacking & trail condition questions, contact the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District at 970-963-2266. The office is open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., excluding federal holidays.

Where can I camp near the Maroon Bells?

The nearest campgrounds to the Maroon Bells are Silver Bar, Silver Bell and Silver Queen. They can be reserved at recreation.gov.

Difficult Campground is approximately 5 miles east of Aspen. There are several more campgrounds across the District. Please visit here for more information.

Are bear resistant food canisters required?

Food storage in bear resistant canisters is required in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area. Canisters must be Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee Courtesy Inspection Program approved. You may purchase or rent bear resistant food containers at local sporting goods stores, online, or borrow a container from the Forest Service if one is available.

Do I need a permit for the Four Pass Loop?

Permits are not required for the Four Pass Loop. The Forest Service is currently in the process of planning a future overnight camping permit system in the area.

Are there designated camp sites on the Four Pass Loop?

Visitors are required to camp in designated sites at Crater Lake. Campfires are prohibited at all designated sites and above 10,800 to protect fragile riparian and alpine environments. Visitors must camp 100 feet away from water and 100 feet away from any trails while on the Four Pass Loop.

How many days does it take to complete the Four Pass Loop?

The Four Pass Loop goes over four 12,500+ foot mountain passes and is 28 miles long. Most backpackers allot 3-4 days to complete the loop.

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