What you need to know this summer
Bookmark this page to stay informed with the latest information to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.
If you are looking for important updates, learn more on our Be Prepared page, which covers the different emergency alert systems in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Public health information
For the latest information, including mask mandates, visit our Public Health Information page for links to area and state COVID-19 resources. NOTE: Basalt and the midvalley are a mix of jurisdictions so public health orders and guidelines may vary by county and local municipalities.
The majority of public health restrictions have been lifted. Unvaccinated individuals are highly encouraged to wear a mask.
Fire restrictions and alerts
Wildfire is a real risk in the mountain region, especially during a drought. The Roaring Fork Valley has experience two major fires in the last three years – the Lake Christine Fire in Basalt and the Grizzly Creek Fire near Glenwood. Our community is all too familiar with the risk of a rogue ember or spark. As a result, following area fire restrictions is very important.
Please be careful with anything that may cause a fire. During a drought, the slightest spark can start a wildfire. Most wildfires are human caused. Previous wildfires have been started by campfires that were not properly extinguished, cigarette butts, sparks from dragging chains on a vehicle, and fireworks. As Smokey Bear says – “Only you can prevent wildfires.”
(updated June 22, 2021)
The Sylvan Lake Fire is currently burning 16 miles south of Eagle, CO in Eagle County. Because of its location, smoke may be present in the Roaring Fork Valley. The majority of the impacted areas is located in the Eagle River Valley portion of Eagle County. Information is being updated regularly on the Inciweb site.
Maps and definitions appear below this section to further assist you. NOTE: Each jurisdiction may implement different fire restrictions at different times so be sure to pay attention to all possible restrictions in the area.
- Pitkin County – Stage 2 fire restrictions, effective Wednesday morning, June 23, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. In place until further notice.
- Eagle County – Stage 2 fire restrictions, effective Friday morning, June 25, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. In place until further notice.
- Garfield County – Stage 1 fire restrictions, effective Friday morning, June 18, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. In place until further notice. Due to exceptional drought conditions in the county, the Board of County Commissioners has prohibited the use of fireworks in unincorporated Garfield County until April 2022. NOTE: Many municipalities also have local fireworks restrictions, including Glenwood Springs.
- White River National Forest – Stage 2 fire restrictions, effective Friday morning, June 25, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and in place until further notice. The use of fireworks, flares, or other incendiary devices, including exploding targets, are always prohibited on Federal lands.
- Bureau of Land Management (BLM) – Stage 2 fire restrictions, effective Friday morning, June 25, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and in place until further notice. The use of fireworks, flares, or other incendiary devices, including exploding targets, are always prohibited on Federal lands.
- State of Colorado – no fire restrictions reported
- Pitkin County – Aspen, Snowmass, Basalt
- Eagle County – Basalt, El Jebel and the Eagle River Valley (Vail)
- Garfield County – Carbondale, Glenwood Springs
- Town of Basalt map with county lines (Eagle and Pitkin)
- White River National Forest – one of the most visited national forest in the nation, the WRNF encompasses 2.3 million acres, and accounts for much of the undeveloped land in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Frequently there are Red Flag warnings in effect in the Roaring Fork Valley, indicating no open burning is permitted.
- Fire Weather Watches (issued by the National Weather Service) also warn of risky fire conditions.
- Red Flag warnings typically last for a short period of time, and is tied to high temperatures, high winds and drought conditions.
- Due to the short-term nature of Red Flag warnings, this page will not include those update.
The following activities are prohibited under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions:
- Fireworks are not allowed under Stage I Fire Restrictions. Professional fireworks shows may be allowed through the permitting process.
- All burn permits are postponed/canceled until further notice.
- Campfires are only allowed within designated fire grates in Developed Areas (i.e. a permanent in-ground containment structure or store bought fire pit); temporary fire pans or rock campfire rings will not be acceptable.
- No fires of any type, including charcoal, in Undeveloped Areas.
- No smoking, except within a designated area, enclosed vehicle or building, a developed area or in an area free of combustibles.
- No use of fireworks or explosive materials, including “exploding” targets or bullets and tracer rounds.
- Exercise common sense and industry safety practice when welding or operation of an acetylene or other similar torch with open flame always cleared safe area of vegetation and combustibles.
The following activities are prohibited under Stage 2 Fire Restrictions:
- Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire, charcoal grill, coal, wood burning stove or sheepherders stove, including in developed camping and picnic grounds.
- EXCEPTION: Devices using pressurized liquid or gas (stoves, grills or lanterns) that include shut-off valves are permitted when used in an area at least three feet or more from flammable material such as grasses or pine needles.
- Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, trailer, building or tent.
- Using an explosive requiring fuse or blasting caps, fireworks, rockets, exploding targets and tracers or incendiary ammunition.
- Operating or using any internal combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order meeting either:
- Operating a chainsaw without an approved spark arrestor, and without a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher and a round-point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches. The extinguisher will be with the equipment operator. The shovel may be kept with fueling supplies but readily available for use.
- Welding, or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame (except with a current permit, contract or letter of authorization).
Complete Fire Ban
- All hot work requires a permit from the local fire authority.
Traffic & Road Conditions
Real time road updates and conditions are available 24/7 at COTrip.org or on Twitter at @ColoradoDOT. For more information, please contact the CDOT Customer Service Hotline at 970-243-2368 or https://www.codot.gov/topcontent/contact-cdot. The hotline is available Monday–Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. In the event of an emergency, please call 911.
I-70 in Glenwood Canyon | CDOT
In 2020 Grizzly Creek and Glenwood Canyon experienced a wildfire. As a result, the area is now susceptible to debris flow, mudslides or rockfall. Motorists traveling on I-70 should be prepared for reduced speeds or road closures in the Glenwood Canyon section of the highway (between exit 116 and 140). If there is rain in the forecast, motorists should anticipate a possible safety closure of I-70, rest areas and the Glenwood Canyon bike path in the canyon. These safety closures are to protect the traveling public from the potential for debris flow, mudslides or rockfall.
Construction impacts will be much lighter on I-70 in Glenwood Canyon compared to Summer 2020. To ensure safety, motorists should plan for occasional lane closures, obey reduced speeds and drive with caution. CDOT also urges travelers to stay focused on the road and avoid distracted driving. Please see here for information about the Glenwood Canyon rest areas and bike path.
Motorists planning to travel on I-70, visit rest areas or ride the bike path in Glenwood Canyons should pay close attention to weather forecasts. If there is rain in the forecast, be prepared for safety closures. CDOT recommends that travelers have a backup plan in the event that closures are necessary (see below for detour information). Visit COTrip.org for the latest road conditions and route options. CDOT also recommends that travelers bring an emergency kit with water, snacks, a flashlight and a blanket, as mountain conditions often change suddenly.
Go this way! Official I-70 detour during safety closures
If a safety closure of I-70 in Glenwood Canyon is anticipated to last longer than two hours, CDOT recommends a northern alternate route using Colorado Highway 9, US Highway 40 and Colorado Highway 13:
Motorists should anticipate delays on the alternate route due to additional detour traffic.
- EASTBOUND I-70: Motorists traveling eastbound from Utah or Grand Junction can reach the Denver Metro area by traveling the route above . Before detouring onto any alternate route, motorists should refer to w ww.c otrip.org for the latest road conditions. CDOT strongly discourages travelers from using highways south of I-70 for an alternate route, due to extensive construction closures. Motorists should not use Cottonwood Pass Road (in Eagle/Garfield counties), Hagerman Pass, or other county or forest service roads in Eagle and Garfield counties as a detour. These roads are not built for heavy traffic or commercial oversize vehicles (more below).
- WESTBOUND I-70: Motorists coming from the Denver metro area or Interstate 25 can travel the route above in reverse. Go westbound on I-70 to Silverthorne, then turn north onto CO 9. In Kremmling, travelers should turn onto westbound US Highway 40 towards Steamboat Springs. After reaching Craig, motorists can return south via CO 13 towards Rifle. Access to I-70 westbound is at Rifle.
Google Map the route
View ONLY on a desktop: https://goo.gl/maps/9sgwHRvcdMyupxbS6 | For some reason when you click the link on a mobile device, it may default to an incorrect route.
To set the directions on a mobile device, add in a second destination (Meeker), which should then correctly re-route you.
Independence Pass (Hwy 82) | CDOT
Independence Pass (Hwy 82 between Aspen to Twin Lakes) is OPEN for the season to passenger vehicles only*.
NOTE: Oversized and overweight vehicles are strictly prohibited from using the Pass at any time due to narrow and winding roads and steep inclines. *Absolutely NO vehicles over 35 feet in length may use the pass at any time – there is a $1,500 fine! This includes both commercial vehicles and passenger/recreational vehicles hauling trailers that, together, exceed 35 feet. Vehicles of this length cannot negotiate certain turns and areas where the road narrows – you will get stuck.
Independence Pass typically closes on or near November 7 and almost always re-opens on the Thursday before Memorial Day in May. The opening date is can be dependent on snowpack levels; the closure date may change due to winter storms and snow at high elevation. Please check the “Alerts and Restrictions” section of COTrip.org for status updates.
Cottonwood Pass | Eagle County
Cottonwood Pass (Hwy 113/10A between El Jebel/Basalt and Gypsum) is OPEN for the season. The road will stay open through the fall, as conditions allow. Drivers are urged to use caution when driving this road. Traffic and weather can have a significant impact on road conditions. Vehicles should not use Cottonwood Pass Road as an I-70 detour.
An announcement will be made when Cottonwood Pass closes in the fall. For more information, contact the Eagle County Road & Bridge Department: 970-328-3540 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Local Passes | 4×4 only roads
These roads are for 4×4 high clearance vehicles ONLY. If this does not describe your vehicle, do NOT drive it. IMPORTANT: Do not use these roads unless you have the proper equipment. These roads are in areas that lack cell service, so you will not be able to call for assistance.
Hagerman Pass Road (#105 between Basalt and Turquoise Lake/Leadville) is a 4X4 ONLY road, accessible to high clearance vehicles. Most vehicles cannot travel down this road.
Eagle-Thomasville Rd, Powerline – Crooked Creek and Brush Creek Rd (between Eagle and Meredith) is a 4X4 ONLY road, accessible to high clearance vehicles. Most vehicles cannot travel down this road.
Maroon Bells | Make a reservation
The Maroon Bells, the most photographed mountains in North America, are a series of distinctively bell-shaped, wine-colored peaks towering 14,000 ft. above the pristine, glacial Maroon Creek Valley. It offers some of the most spectacular natural views in the world.
For the second year in a row, reservations will be required to access the Maroon Bells Scenic Area either by vehicle or by RFTA bus (Roaring Fork Transportation Authority). Reservations for the season may be made by visiting aspenchamber.org. Parking reservations will be required for the entire season. The RFTA shuttle service will run from June 7 to October 17 or 24, 2021, depending on weather conditions, and the shuttle runs every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The price of a parking reservation is $10, and the price of the shuttle is $16 with proposed discounted fares ($10) for children under age 12 and seniors over age 65. Seats on the shuttle may be limited and masks may be required depending on any COVID-related guidelines put in place by the Colorado and Pitkin County Boards of Health. If limited no-show tickets are available the day of, prices will be higher, so people are encouraged to purchase reservations in advance. Group reservation options will also be available. Paid parking is available at Aspen Highlands, or riders can catch the free RFTA shuttle from Ruby Park in downtown Aspen to Aspen Highlands.
When the shuttle service is operating (June 7 to October 17 or 24), parking reservations will be available for half-day, whole-day, or overnight. There will be the ability for private vehicles to drop off passengers between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. without a parking reservation; however, visitors who are dropped off during this time will need a one-way ticket to ride the shuttle down to Aspen Highlands after 8 a.m. Commercial drop-offs are not allowed at any time.
For the first time, one-way downhill tickets costing $10 will be required from the Maroon Bells Scenic Area to Aspen Highlands. Tickets and reservations must be made in advance, as there is no cellular service at the Maroon Bells, and tickets may not be purchased at the Maroon Bells nor from the RFTA drivers.
The reservations system is being continued for summer 2021 due to ongoing COVID-19 precautions and the need to estimate and safely manage demand. As public health guidelines change, service will be adjusted accordingly. The reservation system will provide efficient visitor transportation while protecting the scenic area, as well as adhering to state/county board of health social distancing requirements.
Maroon Bells Information Line at (970) 945-3319. March 29, 2021 Press release [PDF]
The Aspen Chamber Resort Association (ACRA) assists with the management of the Maroon Bells reservation system.
Hanging Lake | Make a reservation
Hanging Lake is a Colorado treasure and a rare example of a travertine geological formation located in the heart of Glenwood Canyon on the White River National Forest. The 1.2 mile (1.9 km) trail is steep, rigorous and rocky but rewarding. This Natural National Landmark features awe-inspiring scenery and gentle waterfalls! The Hanging Lake trail is a backcountry hike. The trail is steep and rocky.
Hikers can choose between two options which include either self-drive and park in the Hanging Lake rest area or bike/hike through Glenwood Canyon to the trailhead. Both permits are the same cost and have the same hiking time slot inventory available. Reservations can be made on the Visit Glenwood page.
Visit Glenwood and the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association (GSCRA) assist with the promotion and management of Hanging Lake. For questions, visit the Hanging Lake page (see FAQs and download the brochure) or contact the Hanging Lake Call Center: email@example.com or 970-384-6309.
White River National Forest
Several areas of the White River National Forest (WRNF) require reservations or permits, including many campsites and select hiking areas. Alerts and Notices are posted regularly, including trail conditions (select “Aspen-Sopris Ranger District Conditions Report (Aspen, CO)” for Roaring Fork Valley updates).