Hike to Crater Lake

Maroon-Snowmass Trailhead

Distance

3.6 Miles

Elevation Gain

500 Feet

Activities

Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill

Beginner

Season

Summer, Autumn

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

Eric Schuette

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

Nearby Lodging

From $125/night

The Cache

Frisco, Colorado

From $184/night

The Mill Club

Frisco, Colorado

From $145/night

Tucker Mountain Lodge

Frisco, Colorado

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

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.

Kelley Dodge

about 2 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.

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

Distance

3.6 Miles

Elevation Gain

500 Feet

Activities

Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill

Beginner

Season

Summer, Autumn

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

Eric Schuette

Nearby Adventures

Adventure

Car Camp at Maroon Lake

Adventure

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

Adventure

Backpack to Snowmass Lake

Adventure

Relax at Maroon Lake

More Nearby Adventures

Tours

More Tours

Related Stories

destinations

20 Stunning Hikes in the Swiss Alps

Mountains don't get much better than this.

destinations

A Magical Yosemite Valley Winter Storm

A Yosemite Winter Wonderland

gear

La Sportiva Women's Skwama Climbing Shoe Review

Super sticky, super responsive, and just as badass as the men’s version of the shoe.

travel

A Few Days in Rossland, BC - A Must-Stop on the Powder Highway

If this town of less than 4,000 friendly folks doesn’t charm your socks off, the terrain at RED M...

More Stories