Maroon Bells – Aspen

Back drop of the Maroon Bells behind wild daisies.

The Bells will always be ringing in my head

Maroon Lake and the Bells as seen in June.
Maroon Lake and the Bells as seen in June. Photo by Brycen McCright

Stats:

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 1.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: ~400 feet

The Maroon Bells are probably the most photographed mountains in Colorado. We had to ride the bus from Aspen, so this story isn’t much about hiking – but don’t worry – I’ll throw one in!

I’ve always wanted to see the Bells. My mom still has an essay I wrote in second grade that was assigned as a Colorado history paper.

Bryce and I at the Bells
Pictured here with me is the (always-mentioned) Brycen.

I remember promising myself I’ll see them one day, then that promise faded and I tucked it away over the years. It wasn’t until 2017 when Bryce and I started adventuring together. He took me to Aspen and he asked me if I’d ever seen the Bells.

That promise rang true once again, so we went.


I stepped off the bus and walked the sidewalk until I got a view. I froze in admiration. Even after seeing so many Instagram posts and so many calendar covers, I felt like I was seeing them for the first time.

The perfection of the identical peaks are no exaggeration, especially they reflect on a still Maroon Lake that sits beneath aspen trees as a podium. The three layers of nature’s work create a brilliant masterpiece.

Snow stays embedded in the Bells’ rocks throughout most of the year that make them appear elegant, yet rugged.


The Bells towering over Crater Lake with a brilliant blue sky overhead.
The Maroon Bells. Photo by Brycen McCright

Here’s the Hike: Maroon Lake Scenic Trail

My eyes were locked on the Bells while we walked along the lake and into an aspen grove. The most wonderful time of the year here is Autumn. I wanted to be closer to the Bells and the trail took us there. After the aspens, the trail became a little steeper and rockier. We saw a mountain marmot, chirping as he dodged passersby.

We are getting so close, I kept thinking, and Bryce even asked why I was practically running up this trail. I was so intrigued and felt the pull of the Bell’s enchantment. We finished the hike through the pine forest and another lake appeared.

Crater Lake sits closer to the Bells and is bigger than the first one. Bryce and I sat for awhile and snacked. I thank him for bonding that promise with myself.

Crater Lake
Crater Lake at Maroon Bells.

Know Before You Go:

  • Bring snacks and stay a while.
  • Restrooms are available at the shuttle stop.
  • Dogs must be on-leash.

Getting There:

Click the link: Aspen’s official website is beautifully built. Find directions to the bus station, prices and schedules; discover what to know if you drive yourself, are looking for other trails, camping, and more!

 

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