Road to the Bells now open |

Road to the Bells now open

ASPEN ” Now is the time to head up to Maroon Lake and the Bells.

The road to the scenic spot opened to vehicles Friday and, while the U.S. Forest Service entrance booth is now operating ” that means it’s $10 for vehicles heading up between the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ” there won’t be restrictions on driving up to the lake for the next three weeks. (The $10 fee, by the way, is good for entry for five days.)

The road will be open without restrictions on vehicles until June 15. Starting June 16 through Labor Day, and on weekends throughout September, visitors won’t be permitted to drive up to the lake (with limited exceptions), between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily. During those hours, visitors must catch a bus at Aspen Highlands for a ride up to the lake. The bus fee is $6 per adult and $3 for kids (under 16) and seniors.

A locals pass is available for $25 that covers the vehicle entrance fee throughout the summer for those driving up during hours the entrance station is operating, but buses are not ” from 7 to 9 a.m. and from 5 to 7 p.m.

As always, it’s free to head up to the lake under one’s own power ” walk, bike or rollerblade, for example.

Also opening Friday are the Silver Bell, Silver Bar and Silver Queen campgrounds on Maroon Creek Road; they remain open until early October, weather permitting. The fee is $15 per night at those camp spots.

The Lincoln, Weller and Lost Man campgrounds on Independence Pass, east of Aspen, also open Friday; they’ll operate through Sept. 3. The fee at all three is $15. Portal Campground at Grizzly Reservoir will be open throughout the summer; donations will be requested at the gate.

Other area campgrounds, including Difficult Campground just outside of Aspen and various campgrounds in the Fryingpan Valley above Basalt, opened last weekend.

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