Activities and Amenities
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Located in White River National Forest, the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is one of the five original Colorado wilderness areas designated by the 1964 Wilderness Act. Scenery includes aspen groves, meadows of wildflowers and dark forests of spruce and fir that rise up from the valleys to alpine landscapes. Here, bighorn sheep, pika, and ptarmigan find habitat above timberline.
Towering over glacial valleys at over 14,000 feet in elevation, the Maroon Bells are the most recognizable peaks in the Elk Mountain range. Unlike other mountains in the Rockies composed of granite and limestone, the Maroon Bells are made up of metamorphic sedimentary mudstone that give the peaks their maroon color and unstable nature for climbing.
Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the 2.3 million acre White River National Forest is one of the top recreation Forests in the nation.
For hikers and backpackers, the Maroon-Snowmass Trail epitomizes the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Starting from the Snowmass Creek Trailhead, the trail winds through aspen groves, crosses streams and switchbacks through forests. Climbing to alpine terrain, backpackers will find high mountain lakes and a smattering of wildflowers in early summer. Designated camping sites are located at Crater Lake or Maroon Lake about 6 miles from the trailhead. Visitors should check regulations for camping in Colorado wilderness areas.
This picnic area is available for use by the general public, but can be reserved for private events for a fee. This is the only site available in the Maroon Bells Scenic Area for wedding receptions.
The picnic area has 3 large picnic tables and can accommodate up to 75 people.
Vehicle traffic is restricted on Maroon Creek Road from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. past the Maroon Bells Welcome Station. Individuals who reserve this picnic site are issued five vehicle passes which allow travel in a motorized vehicle past this point.
Options for access to the site include parking at Aspen Highlands Ski Area and shuttling guests in cars possessing vehicle permits or riding the Maroon Bells Shuttle Bus. Operating hours for the shuttle bus are 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. for a fee of $6 per adult and $3 per child or senior.
Details of the recreation event or wedding must be disclosed and approved prior to day of the event. This includes items to be brought onto the site. Bird seed, confetti, electric music and PA systems are prohibited at the site.
Visitors are required to remove or dispose of decorations after events. Dumpsters are located in nearby campgrounds. Accessible vault toilets are available at this site.
The nearby town of Aspen is a popular destination for visitors to the area. From downhill skiing and world-class fly fishing, to dining and resorts, there are a multitude of outdoor and indoor opportunities in this mountain town.
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