Some Aspen-area campgrounds ready to roll, more to open for Memorial Day |

Some Aspen-area campgrounds ready to roll, more to open for Memorial Day

Forest Service: Plan ahead, have options, reserve if possible

Lake Havasu, Arizona, resident Lisa Goetz enjoys a book beside a small enclosed fire at Difficult Campground outside of Aspen on Monday, May 23, 2022. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Several campgrounds are already open in the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District, even if campers weren’t prepared to enjoy the great outdoors in a blizzard last weekend.

Additional campgrounds on Independence Pass will open for Memorial Day Weekend while the three “silver” campgrounds on Maroon Creek Road also debut for the season Saturday.

The Forest Service is advising people to make reservations when they can to assure they are happy campers.

“We expect another busy summer on the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District and across the White River National Forest,” said David Boyd, public information officer for the White River supervisor’s office. “Like past years, people will need to plan ahead and have a couple of options in mind in case the campground or trailhead they are hoping to use is full.”

The campgrounds that are currently open include Difficult, the 47-site campground popular because it is located close to Aspen and also at the gateway to Independence Pass. The fee for a site is $30.

The always-popular Chapman Campground nearly 30 miles east of Basalt in the Fryingpan Valley also opened on May 13, according to the Forest Service. Chapman has 78 spaces and a fee of $27.

Dearhamer Campground on the east end of Ruedi Reservoir opened May 13 along with the Little Mattie, Little Maud and Mollie B campgrounds closer to the public boat launch at Ruedi. Dearhamer and Little Mattie sites run $26 per night this season while Little Maud and Mollie B run $29.

The 39 sites at the Redstone Campground opened May 13, with the fee at $34 at the Mechau Loop and $36 for the Allgeier and Osgood loops.

Bogan Flats, close to Marble, opened on May 13 with a fee of $29.

Sites at all those campgrounds can be reserved at, which charges a processing fee.

With the opening of Highway 82 over Independence Pass expected later this week, the Forest Service is prepared to open Lincoln Gulch, Lost Man and Weller campgrounds in the near future. Exact dates weren’t immediately available and may depend on snow cover. All of those campgrounds are first-come, first-served and reservations are not available. The fee for all is $25.

Silver Bell, Silver Bar and Silver Queen on Maroon Creek Road will open Friday, according to the Forest Service. Reservations are taken. The fee is $15 plus a $5 “amenity fee” for visiting the Maroon Bells Scenic Area.

Three area campgrounds will open at a time to be determined. They are Portal at Grizzly Reservoir, Avalanche in the Crystal River Valley and Elk Wallow in the north fork of the Fryingpan. All are first-come, first-served. The fee is $17 at Elk Wallow and a donation request at Avalanche and Portal. Elk Wallow and Portal don’t have water available.

Silver Queen ready to spin

The Silver Queen Gondola at Aspen Mountain will be open Saturday through Monday to kick off the summer season.

The gondola hours for Memorial Day Weekend are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The last ride down is 4:30 p.m. The gondola will continue to operate on weekends only until June 17, when daily operations begin.

The daily operations launch June 21 at Snowmass, with the Elk Camp Gondola and Elk Camp chairlift running daily.