Hike to Crater Lake

3.6 miles 500 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Eric Schuette

Crater Lake is a beautiful and easy destination with much smaller crowds than the nearby Maroon Lake. In the fall, the trail goes through a beautiful Aspen grove that ends at the Lake, which is at the bottom of the famous and awe-inspiring Maroon Bells.

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 of the way with wonderful views of 14ers, the Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak that dominate the skyline.

Just before you reach the lake you will descend a little bit from the crest of the trail at mile 1.7. Once you start dropping you will be very close to the lake, which will be on the left at 1.8 miles. The shore is open and can be explored, but please be careful as some of the shoreline is wet meadow that can be damaged easily. This is a great spot for a snack if this is you final destination or if you have higher aspirations.

Read More

Tags

Camping
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

about 3 years ago

Still Busy

Such a great way to avoid the masses at Maroon Lake - there's still going to be people, but significantly less than the Scenic Loop or Maroon Lake. Make sure to look back towards Maroon Lake, though, as those were some of my favorite views the whole hike.

🥈 Contributor

almost 4 years ago

Beautiful but Crowded

I started this trail immediately after sunrise at Maroon Bells and it was very crowded. Maybe sunrise at Crater Lake would have been a better alternative! Regardless, it's a beautiful, short hike.

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

almost 5 years ago

This is an easy hike, but there are some parts that are rocky, make sure you're wearing the appropriate shoes!

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

almost 5 years ago

Skip the crowds at Maroon lake and hike here for a fall sunrise.

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

  • 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

  • Relax at Maroon 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 yo...

  • 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