Free gondola rides up Aspen Mountain this weekend |

Free gondola rides up Aspen Mountain this weekend

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Andre Salvail/The Aspen Times

Vehicle access to the famed Maroon Bells may be restricted because of the federal government shutdown, but Aspen Skiing Co. has come up with another weekend option for viewing the brilliant fall colors in the area.

The Silver Queen Gondola on Aspen Mountain will be free to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday on the final weekend of summer gondola operations.

“The Bells may be closed, but the bucket’s open,” said Rich Burkley, Skico vice president of mountain operations.

“We know people come to Colorado from all over the world this time of year to see the stunning scenery, and with the road closure and the difficulty of access for many people, this gives our guests a chance to view forests blanketed in gold and crimson from the summit of Aspen Mountain,” Burkley continued. “We are hopeful for a quick resolution, as we know many in our community and around the country are negatively affected by the shutdown.”

The Silver Queen Gondola provides a scenic 14-minute ride over an explosion of fall colors to the top of Aspen Mountain. The Sundeck restaurant, at the top of Aspen Mountain, also will be open Saturday and Sunday for food and drinks. Live music will be offered at the restaurant Sunday through the services of the Goodman Band.

Though the gate on the road leading to the Maroon Bells is locked for now, pedestrians and cyclists can still access the popular tourism site.