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EAST MAROON PORTAL PICNIC SITE, CO

part ofWhite River National Forest, US Forest Service
Photo: EAST MAROON PORTAL PICNIC SITE
Status: Closed through Sun May 25 2014   Season Dates
 

Overview

East Maroon Portal Picnic Site sits next to Maroon Creek, offering spectacular views of aspen and evergreen forests. The area is an excellent gathering spot for families, group gatherings and parties.

Reputed to be the most photographed mountains in Colorado, the spectacular Maroon Bells dominate this setting. The picnic area is available for use by the general public, but can be reserved for private events. This is the only site available in the Maroon Bells Scenic Area for wedding receptions.

Natural Features:

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.

Recreation:

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.

Facilities:

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.

Nearby Attractions:

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.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Accessible Site
  • Accessible Vault Toilets
  • Amphitheater
  • Biking
  • Drinking Water
  • Fishing
  • Group Fire Ring
  • Hiking
  • Hitching Racks
  • Horseback Rides
  • Horseback Riding
  • Horseback Riding Trails
  • Host
  • Lake Access
  • Parking Area
  • Picnic Area
  • Shuttle Bus Service
  • Trailhead
  • Trash Collection
  • Vault Toilets
  • Visitor Center
Within 10 Miles
  • Hospital
Know Before You Go
  • No drinking water available at this site
  • Welcome station is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Check in at Welcome Station to confirm reservation for site
  • Independence Pass (Highway 82) is normally open from Memorial Day through mid-October, weather dependent; call the 877-315-7623 for road updates
  • This area provides access to the Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness area
  • Camping overnight in wilderness areas requires registration
  • Limited vehicle access to this site; shuttle bus service available
  • Click here for more information about White River National Forest
  • Don't Move Firewood: Prevent the spread of tree-killing organisms by obtaining firewood at or near your destination and burning it on-site. For more information visit don'tmovefirewood.org.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
39.10306, -106.93444
39°6'11"N, 106°56'4"W

From Independence Pass, take Highway 82 west from downtown Aspen for a mile to the roundabout. Take Maroon Creek Road 4.7 miles to the Maroon Bells Welcome Station; East Maroon Portal is 2 miles past the Welcome Station on the left.

From Glenwood Springs, take Highway 82 for 40 miles to the roundabout. Take Maroon Creek Road 4.7 miles to the Maroon Bells Welcome Station; East Maroon Portal is 2 miles past the Welcome Station on the left.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

EAST MAROON PORTAL PICNIC SITE
MAROON CREEK ROAD
ASPEN CO 81611

Phone Number:

Information: (970)925-3445
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