Iconic Maroon Bells Area, Aspen, CO Will Open a Month Late as Crews Clear Avalanche Debris

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maroon bells, aspen, colorado
Stock image of a dusting of autumn snow on the 14,000’ Maroon Bells in Colorado.

The iconic Maroon Bells area, Aspen, Colorado, will not open as scheduled May 15 due to the avalanche debris blocking the access road, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The Aspen-Sopris Ranger District is tentatively setting the opening for June 15 after consulting this week with Pitkin County public works officials reports the Aspen Times.

“We hope to have the road open by June 15,” said Shelly Grail, recreation manager for the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District who oversees operations at Maroon Lake. “Everything is tentative.”

In what has been a historic avalanche year in Colorado, Maroon Creek Road has been covered by numerous slides in the 7 miles between T-Lazy-7 Ranch and Maroon Lake. A massive slide covers the road with several feet of deep snow and trees, just a short distance past upper Stein Meadow after the road bends toward Maroon and North Maroon Peaks. A slide-off Highlands Ridge in the Five Fingers area and into Conundrum Valley was rated a 4.5 on the D-scale for destructive potential by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. D1 is the least destructive and D5 is most destructive.

The heavy snowfall and active avalanche season also will affect hiking and backpacking over at least the first half of the summer. Due to its natural beauty, the area is popular for weddings, but unfortunately, 13 couples will have to make new plans as the extended closure will affect their big day.

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One thought on “Iconic Maroon Bells Area, Aspen, CO Will Open a Month Late as Crews Clear Avalanche Debris

  1. My daughter is one of the unfortunate brides who’s big day is June 11.
    Who gets married in a Tuesday unless it’s for something as special as the Bells?
    Family has tickets bought from all over and so disappointed. Too late to change.
    I understand Mother Nature, but I’m not a fan of hers right now.
    Wish you could have it open a bit sooner. I’m not giving up hope until June 10.
    SO close.
    In search of an alternative…but nothing compares.
    She grew up camping there from a baby until they closed the upper area to camping.
    So sad.

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