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The original item was published from 12/20/2019 3:47:47 PM to 3/21/2020 12:00:00 AM.

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Pitkin County Press Releases

Posted on: December 20, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Fall Leaf Peepers Push Capacity of Maroon Bells Bus Shuttle and Parking


Almost 120,000 visitors rode the Roaring Fork Transit Authority’s Maroon Bells Shuttle last summer and fall. While this is a slight decrease from the 2018 season, visitation last fall set a new record for visitors per day.

Shuttle service was delayed one week in June because of substantial avalanche debris on Maroon Creek Road and weather, trail, and road conditions are believed to have contributed to the slight decline in visitation at the Maroon Bells during the summer. Visitation increased this past September and October to an average of over 1,150 visitors per day.

“It’s no secret that the popularity of visiting the Maroon Bells has soared in recent years. We continue to see full parking lots at Maroon Lake before and after the RFTA shuttle operates during the fall months and full buses leaving Highlands once the service is underway each day,” said RFTA CEO, Dan Blankenship.


Maroon Bells Shuttle at the Maroon Lake parking area. 

Officials with RFTA, the Forest Service, City of Aspen, Pitkin County, Aspen Skiing Company, Aspen Chamber Resort Association, and the Town of Snowmass Village are working together to find solutions that could help ease the pressure at Maroon Bells.

At increasingly earlier times in the morning, more and more visitors are turned around on Maroon Creek Road and directed to park at Aspen Highlands once the parking has filled at Maroon Lake.

“Our working group of transportation, resort, government, and Forest Service officials is in agreement that this is not an ideal scenario for anyone wanting to have an enjoyable visit to the Bells and there is some urgency to relieving some of the pressure before the next summer/fall season up there,” Blankenship said.

In February 2020, meetings with elected officials will be held to discuss transportation challenges associated with the popularity of the Bells and potential solutions to address them.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Dan Blankenship - RFTA CEO - 970-384-4981 

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