Relax at Maroon Lake

Added by Whitney James

Beat the crowds and soak in some of the most well-known mountains in the world. If you're looking to keep your body moving, there's an option to do the 3.6 mile roundtrip, 500+ foot elevation gain hike to Crater Lake.

The Maroon Bells are known around the world for being some of the most iconic, beautiful mountains in all of the United States. Even if you haven't heard of them, there's a chance you've seen them. And if you've seen them in person, it's likely you were there with 800+ of your closest friends.

If you'd like to enjoy the Bells in solitude, without any agenda to complete some great through-hike from Crested Butte to Aspen, or soloing a Bell in winter (not recommended), there are a few general guidelines for success.

  • Go early season when the snow has just melted, but it's still really crisp out.
  • Go late in the evening, when the kids are hungry and tourists have gone back to town.
  • Go in the dead of winter, when the road is completely closed and you have to ski, snowshoe, or fatbike yourself 14 miles round-trip.

If you drove to the parking lot by Maroon Lake, hit the beginner friendly 1.8 mile trail (3.6 roundtrip), and keep going to Crater Lake. The trail branches off from the Maroon Lake Trail once you reach the Deadly Bells Kiosk. Continue on this trail, climbing the rockslide that houses Crater Like at 10,076 feet. While you're hiking up to the lake, be prepared for cooler weather and potential thunderstorms.

If you can't kick the need to backpack, continue over Maroon Pass to Frigid Air Pass and Schofield Park, just above Crested Butte where the tourists are guaranteed to thin out. The options for hiking and recreating are literally endless here, but if you want to just sit back with the view and a book or a fishing rod, now you know when to go.

Read More

Tags

Chillin
Fishing
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Lake
River
Scenic
Wildflowers

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

🥈 Contributor

over 3 years ago

relaxing.

in the winter the trail is "groomed" by the ranch where the road ends. if cross country skiing, try to get going early as hikers and snow machines will wear down the snow all day long, but its an amazing ski both ways! so much fun!

🥉Contributor

about 4 years ago

Stunning!

This is a must see if you're in this part of Colorado. Between 8am-5pm you need to take the shuttle to Maroon Lake. If you go before 8am or after 5pm you can drive directly to the lake. Go early to attempt to beat the crowds and definitely do the hike to Crater Lake!! Bring your camera.

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

over 4 years ago

Sunrise!

By far the best time to view these majestical mountains is at sunrise! The glow on the Bells is spectacular, and then watch the entire valley slowly fill with light. Plus, there are far fewer tourists at this time ;)

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

almost 5 years ago

From mid-June to October 4th, the Maroon Bells can only be accessed by public bus between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm. So if you want to drive your own car and park, then go early in the morning or later in the evening. Be advised there is a $10 entrance fee per car. Either way, the area near the parking lot is gorgeous and the scenery can't be beat. Take a stroll around the numerous social trails near the lot!

Make sure you're accustomed to the altitude! The high passes and major elevation gain can induce altitude sickness quite quickly - so make sure you bring lots of water and take it easy if you're coming from a low elevation!

Stay Nearby

Maroon Creek Road

East Maroon Portal Picnic Site

Overview East Maroon Portal Picnic Site is situated next to Maroon Creek, offering spectacular views of towering red stone cliffs, lush wetlands and evergreen forests. The area is an excellent gath...

Aspen, Colorado

Single Family Home, Plenty Of Room

• TurnKey photo-verifies this home is professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19. •This spacious 4BR/4.5BA single-family house is the Snowmass Village rental ...

From $449/night

Aspen, Colorado

100' To Slopes! Roomy Snowmass Home With Hot Tub

• TurnKey photo-verifies this home is professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19. •Skiers and snowboarders will love this multi-level 4BR/4BA + den Snowmass h...

From $338/night

Snowmass Village, Colorado

Aspenwood Gem With Pool, Hot Tubs & Sauna

• TurnKey photo-verifies this home is professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19. •This ground-level 3BR/3BA Aspenwood condo sits adjacent to all the action a...

From $254/night

Nearby Adventures

  • Car Camp at Maroon Lake

    Maybe you've seen the photos a million times before - it's for good reason. Maroon Bells is just stunning. Watching the first rays of sunlight scratch the very top of Maroon Bells and slowly crawl their way down the massive slabs of granite is sim...

    0.3 miles 0 ft gain

  • Run the 4-Pass Loop in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness

    *The 4-Pass Loop likely won't be doable until July due to the heavy snowpack this year and wet slide danger on the steep pass approaches.Taking on the 4-pass Loop is no easy feat but completely worth the training and effort. The run starts at Mar...

    27.1 miles 8000 ft gain

  • Hike to Crater Lake

    The crater lake trail begins at Maroon Lake and quickly breaks off from the scenic trail at .3 miles. Be sure to follow the signs to crater lake, which will be heading higher into the valley. The trail passes through a beautiful Aspen grove most o...

    3.6 miles 500 ft gain

  • Backpack to Snowmass Lake

    For the adventurous backpacker looking to get backcountry in central Colorado, the stunning beauty of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness cannot be beat. While the Maroon Bells just outside of Aspen might be the most photographed mountains on Nor...

    16.6 miles 2500 ft gain

  • Inspire Your Fall Aspen Trip!

    Autumn days in Aspen are filled with sunshine and nights with crisp cool air. Watch the mountains and valleys turn gold with the changing Aspen trees. Take in the scenery while enjoying scenic drives, hiking through forests, road biking, and exploring our IMBA Gold Level Ride Center recognized mountain bike trails. 




    Learn More