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Maroon Bells will tentatively open May 24, thanks to significant progress clearing avalanche debris

Posted: 7:01 AM, May 15, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-15 14:52:20Z
Man's body found in the snow in the Maroon Bells Wilderness

ASPEN, Colo. — The road to the Maroon Bells Scenic Area is scheduled to open earlier than planned.

Avalanche debris blocked Maroon Creek Road and delayed the opening date to the scenic area, but the Pitkin County Road and Bridge Department has made significant progress clearing the road.

Based on the past two weeks, the department reported that the new tentative opening date is May 24. Originally, that date had been delayed to June 15.

Scott Mattice, manager of the Road and Bridge Department, said they have spent the past few weeks working to clear the road as quickly as possible. Even with all available staff and equipment, he said he doesn’t think they’ll meet last year’s opening date of mid-May.

Crews started clearing Maroon Creek Road on May 1, but found compact snow, ice, debris, sheared-off trees and boulders. The work required long hours and heavy equipment.

Maroon Bells is a popular destination for June weddings, as well as other activities. But those with weddings in June should expect winter conditions — including significant snow — at and around Maroon Lake, according to the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District.

The new opening date will not impact amphitheater wedding reservations.

“We have been keeping reservation holders as up-to-date as possible with the unfolding situation on Maroon Creek and at the Maroon Bells Scenic Area,” said Shelly Grail, recreation manager for the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District. “

Maroon Creek Road should be open in time for Memorial Day, but the Forest Service will not provide any services at the scenic area until the beginning of June.

Cleanup will continue for the next few weeks.

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authorities shuttles will begin operation on June 15. For more information on the shuttle, click here.

For more information on Maroon Bells, call the information line at 970-945-3319, or the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District at 970-963-2266.