Bells bus, gondola: weekends only
August 30, 2007
ASPEN Labor Day weekend marks the end of daily, public transportation to a couple of Aspen’s scenic attractions – the Maroon Bells and the top of Aspen Mountain.Buses will operate to the Bells through Monday, Sept. 3, and the Silver Queen Gondola will offer rides up and down the mountain through Monday before both services switch to weekends-only operation through the remainder of September.For bicyclists and inline skaters making their way to the Bells and back, that means beginning Tuesday, they’ll be a boost in auto traffic on Maroon Creek Road beyond the Forest Service entrance station. Motorists will be able to drive to the Maroon Lake and the Bells on Monday through Thursday, though the entrance station will continue to collect a $10 fee from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.On Friday through Sunday, trips to the popular spot for viewing autumn’s splendor will still require riding the bus between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. From 7 to 9 a.m., and after the last bus up until 6 p.m., those who drive must pay $10 at the gate.Catch the bus at Aspen Highlands. It’s $6 per adult and $3 for kids (under 16) and seniors. Parking is free at Highlands, or grab a free bus ride to Highlands at Rubey Park in downtown Aspen.After Monday, the gondola will continue to run on weekends throughout September, whisking riders to the 11,212-foot summit in about 14 minutes. A ride up costs $24 on weekends for adults; $18 for teens, ages 13-17, and seniors; and $12.50 for kids, ages 4-12. Children age 3 and younger ride free.Of course, hiking up the mountain is taxing, but free, and rides down on the gondola are always free to those who reach the summit under their own power.Premier ski pass holders may ride the gondola for free during the summer/fall, and adults who purchased other passes (one-day, two-day) may purchase a daily gondola ticket for $12.50.