Aspen-area briefs: Bells reservation system about ready; clearing project near Redstone |

Aspen-area briefs: Bells reservation system about ready; clearing project near Redstone

Maroon Bells reservation system starts April 11

The RFTA shuttle at the Maroon Bells will begin May 27 this year and continue into late-October, via the reservation system. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

The reservation system for access to the Maroon Bells Scenic Area will crank up for the season on April 11 at

Reservations are needed for bus rides to Maroon Lake and for private vehicle parking in the upper parking lots.

“The reservations system we have used for the past two years has been very successful in reducing overcrowding and improving visitor experience at this iconic Colorado location,” said Shelly Grail, recreation manager for the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District, in a statement.

Parking reservations will be required for the entire season, starting when the road opens May 15. Parking reservations are available for a half day, full day or overnight. The price of a parking pass is $10.

Shuttle service operated by the Roaring Fork Transportation system will begin May 27 and continue into late October, with the exact ending dependent on weather conditions. The shuttle will run every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from the base of Aspen Highlands.

The shuttle fare is $16 for adults and $10 for children ages 12 and younger and for seniors 65 and older. It is unknown at this time if masks will be required on the transit service due to COVID precautions.

Private vehicles will be allowed to unload hikers and backpackers at Maroon Lake between 6 and 8 a.m. without a parking reservation. Commercial drop-offs — including taxis, hotel shuttles and ride services are prohibited.

Hikers who plan to return to Maroon Lake after their backcountry adventure must reserve a one-way shuttle trip to return to Aspen Highlands in advance. Return tickets and reservations are not available at the Maroon Bells Scenic Area and there is no cellphone service to connect to the reservations system there.

“The advance downhill ticket reservations are critical because they allow us to anticipate how much space will be needed each day for one-way downhill passengers who have been dropped off in the morning or who have hiked over from Crested Butte or other locations,” RFTA CEO Dan Blankenship said in a statement.

For more information on visiting the Maroon Bells Scenic area, please call the Maroon Bells Information Line at 970-945-3319 or visit

Wildfire prevention project near Redstone

Forest Service work on a 130-acre wildfire fuel reduction project north of Redstone is set to start this morning, the USFS said in a news release Friday.

Heavy machinery called masticators will create a patchwork of openings in thick oak brush and shrubs across 132 acres of National Forest System lands, and “the resulting mosaic will reduce the risk of wildfire by breaking up the continuous vegetation canopy,” according to the Forest Service release.

The project will continue through mid-May and may resume in August after the avian nesting season if necessary.