On the Road: The Bells bus
Unfettered vehicular access to Maroon Lake and the Maroon Bells is about to end.Bus service to the scenic spot begins Saturday, June 16, and will continue daily through Labor Day weekend. After that, buses continue to run on weekends (Fridays through Sundays) through September.The bus to the Bells will depart Aspen Highlands on Maroon Creek Road every 20 minutes, beginning at 9:05 a.m. and continuing until 2:05 p.m. Then, they’ll leave on the hour and half-hour until 4:30 p.m. Buses will return riders to Highlands.Daytime access to the Bells is limited to bus travel – no vehicles from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The prohibition keeps vehicles from overwhelming the limited parking at the lake. Vehicles carrying infants or toddlers in a car seat, however, may drive on up.The Bells bus fare is $6 per adult, and $3 for kids (younger than 16) and seniors. Bells-bound visitors may drive to Highlands and park there for free, or catch a free bus to Highlands from Aspen’s downtown bus station, Rubey Park. Call the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority at 925-8484 for more information.When the buses aren’t running, visitors are welcome to drive to the lake, but the fee is $10 from 7 a.m. through 7 p.m. daily, when the Forest Service entrance station on Maroon Creek Road is operating. The fee is good for five days of travel to the lake. Entry is free when the station is closed.A $25 locals pass, good for the season, is also available at the entrance station.There is no entry fee for those traveling to Maroon Lake under their own power – bicyclists, inline skaters, pedestrians, etc.
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The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority will scale back bus service for a second time this month on Monday. A proposal to temporarily cease operations was rejected by the board of directors on Friday.