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Hiking Maroon Bells Crater Lake Trail

Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

The Maroon Bells Crater Lake Trail is a moderate trail up to Crater Lake and the West Maroon Trail.

Maroon Bells Crater Lake Trail: Getting there

From the roundabout west of Aspen, take Maroon Creek Road. Check the sign just past the roundabout for road closure status. During busy times & the summer, cars are only permitted past the guard gate to the Maroon Lake parking lot before 9 am or after 5 pm. On these days, park at Aspen Highlands and take the Maroon Bells bus (runs approx. every 20 minutes). If driving, a $10 fee applies for a 5-day pass.

Maroon Bells Crater Lake Trail: The hike

Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

From the parking lot, follow the trail to the lake. The trail continues to the right of the lake. At the “Scenic Loop Trail or Crater Lake” marker, keep right.

Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The first part of the hike is a steady climb up switchbacks through the trees.

Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

At the top of the switchbacks, you will pass through a rock field. Crater Lake is just beyond the rock field.

Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

The Crater Lake trail is an approximate 3-mile roundtrip from Maroon Lake.

Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

If you are feeling up for some more hiking, go past the lake to the West Maroon Trail.

Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

West Maroon Trail is a 10.2-mile hike to Crested Butte over West Maroon Pass. Adding on an additional mile or so from Crater Lake before turning back is a beautiful additional hike in mostly solitude.

Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

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