Top of the Rockies

Maroon Bells reflected in Maroon Lake.
Maroon Bells


  • Fall ColorsAlong the entire route
  • FlowersIndependence Pass – Maroon Bells
  • WaterfallsThe Grottos area along Independence Pass
  • Scenic vistasThe Maroon Bells reflected in Maroon Lake – Ptarmigan Pass

US 24

Gorgeous scenery!

Golden aspens near Red Cliff, Colorado.

I-70W Exit 171. Continues to SH-82 south of Leadville.

  • From I-70/C470 to Exit 171
  • 93 miles 1 hr 40 mins
  • GPS
  • Ramp/US24
  • 39.6096 -106.0507

In General:CampgroundFishing Available

  • Length: 50 miles
  • Driving Time: min. 1 hour

This paved route winds its way to an elevation of 10,424 ft, crossing Tennesee Pass with altitudes rarely falling below 9,000 ft. The rugged scenery includes mountain vistas, abundant summer wildflowers and impressive fall colors.

Read more

Ptarmigan Pass

Terrific vistas in all directions.

Vista loking north from the summit of Ptarmigan Pass, Colorado.

How to get there:

From I-70W Exit 171/US 24, drive south on US 24 15.2 miles and turn left (E) onto Resolution Mountain Rd.

  • From I-70/C470 to Res Mtn Rd
  • 108 miles 2 hrs
  • GPS
  • US24/Res Mtn Rd
  • 39.4547 -106.3330

In General:4wd vehicle with low range required

  • Length: 6.5 miles
  • Driving Time: min. 30 mins

In good conditions, this spur road from the byway to the top of Ptarmaigan Pass should be passable to most passenger vehicles. North of the pass, it will soon deteriorate and become a true 4wd route requiring low range.

Photo Ops:VistaswildflowersFall Colors

The pass sits below the summit of Resolution Mountain and offers terrific vistas in all directions. Fall foliage can be impressive.

Independence Pass

Notable fall color.

Hikers on Independence Pass.

How to get there:

I-70W Exit 171. Continue south on US-24 50 miles to SH-82.

  • From I-70/C470 to SH 82
  • 143 miles 2 hr 40 mins
  • GPS
  • Parking Area
  • 39.0759 -106.2816

In General:CampgroundFishing AvailableHiking Seasonal Closure

  • Length: 43 miles
  • Driving Time: min. 1 hour 15 mins

This route winds its way to an elevation of 12,095 ft, crossing Independence Pass and ending in Aspen. The road is narrow and steep with tight switchbacks on either side.

Read more

Maroon Bells

Spectacular scenery.

Maroon Bells reflected in Maroon Lake.
Maroon Bells

How to get there:

Park for free at Aspen Highlands Village Parking Lot. Purchase tickets and catch the bus tour at Four-Mountain Sports

  • From Aspen to Parking Lot
  • 2.8 miles 5 mins
  • GPS
  • Parking Lot Ent
  • 39.1830 -106.8555

In General:Campground

Limited accessibility by car. Bus tours run throughout the day for the summer season. Fees apply.

Photo Ops:VistaswildflowersFall ColorsHiking

The Maroon Bells, reflected in Maroon Lake, is perhaps Colorado’s most often photographed mountain scene. Fall foliage can be special. Abundant summer wildflowers.