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Aspen, Colorado

Hike to Crater Lake

3.6 Miles Total - 500 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally 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.

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Tags

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

Reviews

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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.

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!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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