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hiking
10 days ago

Excellent trail that is to be experienced in the fall. We were a couple weeks late to do this. However, the snow in the path made it a bit difficult to traverse. Took us 3 hours from car to car including the breaks and photography. Would highly recommend this trail during the fall season.

hiking
13 days ago

We went off season which was October 26th. At this time there is no having to use the shuttle to get up. You need to pay at the entry of the park which is $10 per car. We went about 930a and now issues finding parking. When we got done with the hike around 1p the parking lot was pretty full. We wanted to do an easy hike as my friend just flew in the day before from Minnesota. We were planning to do the easy trail called Maroon Bells scenic trail. This was closed so other only option from that trail was Crater Lake. This was a little more challenging then we were expecting. But it was a great. Lots of rocks and boulders to climb over. There was some areas with snow and ice but not too bad. But all worth as once we got the lake it was huge (though the water was low). Enough room to go by ourselves to have a snack without being next to anyone. Would come back to do this in another season to see all the aspens.

Great hike to top of Castle Rock with the stunning views. Recent horse and cattle hoof ruts on the lower part and snow/ice near the top. Be careful.

Did this trail when the scenic loop was closed. It was steep until the end and snowy and rocky in spots. But for those of us in our party who made it, it’s was great.
The lake was not very full, but the scenery was great and the local birds are friendly!
For the part of our party who couldn’t make it to the top there was an opening with a amazing Mountain View about .75 miles in. A great place to call good enough if u have to.

The BEST hike, I did it in July in 3 days and it was the hardest but most fulfilling thing I have ever done in my life.

Get a good water filter, tent, rain gear (a must), the usual. We had to have a beat canister when we went and it was SO heavy, and doesnt get much lighter throughout the trip due to "bring it in bring it out." Next time we will use those bear bag type deals, much lighter and you're still able to rent those.

Its amazing, I am not in the best shape but not in bad shape and it was hard but not discouraging by any means! Have fun!!!

Beautiful views wherever you go! Challenging backpacking!

on Crater Lake Trail

hiking
1 month ago

At points it feels like endless scrambling through small, loose rocks. We joked that it was like hiking on the moon! Still a fun trail with pretty views at the end (although the views would be better if there was water in the lake!).

Beautiful views! Went in early October and it was freezing. There was snow and ice on the trail which made it a little more difficult. In the end if you aren’t a master hiker, taking rest stops along the way to take in the sceneries will get you through it.

I’m new to backpacking with this being my second trip ever. My son is an experienced hiker and he is the reason I got into doing these types of trips. We like the ease of hiking loops from a logistical standpoint so when we found this one, it was a no brained that we had to give it a go.

This trail was very difficult for me. I am not in the best physical shape but I am mentally strong which I believe is a good part of being able to successfully complete a hike like this one. There is thin air, cold, rain, hail and tough elevation changes. This can all beat you down if you can’t handle the mental aspect.

We completed the hike in 4 days in early August. Other than the rain on a couple days and the hail coming up over the passes, the weather was ok. I’m not sure there would have been a better time to hike this.

Would I do it again? Not sure. It took my knees a couple of weeks to recover from the beating they took going down the passes. The views were breathtaking and as is usually the case, pictures just don’t do it justice.

Beautiful foliage! Definitely recommend the trail to crater Lake. I hiked with two dogs by myself and do not recommend hiking this narrow trail with two dogs. It was rainy, muddy, and slippery. At crater lake it was sleeting and cold. The lake was not dry as the post from last week said although it was cloudy and views of the mountains were not good..

hiking
1 month ago

Maroon Bells is absolutely breathtaking with the aspen tree fall foliage. This was definitely a moderate hike, it was steep most the way up and very rocky. I recommend good hiking shoes with grip due too many loose and slippery rocks. I had to stop and take a quick breather about 3-4 times on the way up, however, I’m from sea level and have only been in Colorado for 2 months. Took just over an hour out and maybe 30 minutes back. Overall a good hike minus the heavy traffic on a narrow trail along with multiple people blasting music on their cell speakers along the way. If it’s solitude you’re looking for you won’t find it here. Just gorgeous scenery.

It is stunning scenic trail with the foliage. The lake is empty now but the scene does not disappoint

August 2009. Amazing beautiful trail

hiking
1 month ago

Definitely recommend continuing the hike beyond Maroon Lake for additional sights. It is a rocky trail with some steeper inclines, and, I will admit, at one point I did get turned around on the trail. The trail is more heavily trafficked once the shuttles start dropping people off at 8:00AM. Even though Crater Lake was dry when I went, the autumn colors were fantastic!

camping
1 month ago

It is difficult getting up there and easy coming back. The Lake is dry currently.

Nice easy hike up to Crater Lake. The lake is dry but amazing colors of the Aspens all the way up.

hiking
1 month ago

I did this hike a week ago with my friend and our two dogs, a Lab and a Sheppard. We got started shortly after the sun came upon the Bells, mostly to start the hike before the trail got too crowded (it was a Monday) it was so beautiful with most of the aspens in full color. Our dogs did fine on the terrain and yes, some parts were very rocky but wasn’t an issue for any of us. We got to Crater Lake which we knew was dry, but it was a nice spot to sit for a bit and have some snacks before heading back. We encountered ALOT more people coming up the trail, especially as we were almost at the end. Good move on our part to start early. Would have given 5 stars if the lake wasn’t dry

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful! Definitely a heavily trafficked trail. While there was no water in the lake, we knew that ahead of time. The trees are GORGEOUS right now. Moderate is a very accurate description for this trail. We plan to do this trail again after it opens next year!

At 530am, I was stopped by the rangers and told that the overnight parking was full. They directed me to park at Aspen Highlands. On Saturday and Sunday, parking at Aspen Highlands Parking lot is: 0-3 hours $10, 3-8 hours $15, 8+hours $25.

Long line to buy bus tickets to trailhead. Would recommend buying them the night before to skip the ticket line. I did see some call the local taxi because they didn’t want to wait until 7am for the ticket office to open. I called the taxi service and was told they were completely booked until 7am. There is also another line for the buses.

The Aspens are a gorgeous mixture of green, yellow, and orange right now! Crater Lake is completely dry and you can walk around where it would be filled. As soon as the sun comes out, the temp rises. Dress in layers. It was 35 degrees at 5am and warmed up to 72 degrees by 10am.

I hiked with my husky. It’s rocky, but not harsh enough for little dog booties for a medium or large dog. After reading a few reviews mentioning the harsh terrain, I got booties for my dog. I took them off her after 0.5 mile. Not necessary unless you have a small dog. Most small dogs were carried.

Challenging trail over the passes, but the amazing scenery makes it well worth the effort!

Completed the loop in 3 days/2 nights Sep 4-6, hiking counter-clockwise. Camped at Snowmass Lake the 1st night (~9 miles) and just above the large waterfall in Fravert Basin the 2nd night (~7.5 miles). Total distance logged on my gps watch was 29.4 miles, so that left about 13 miles on the last day over Frigid Air & West Maroon Passes. A storm on day 2 forced us to hike over Trail Rider Pass in snow/sleet, which made the trail muddy and extremely slippery. A good set of hiking/trekking poles is highly recommended!

hiking
1 month ago

Colors were great.

hiking
1 month ago

I hate this hike. It’s all up hill, on lose rocks, FULL OF PEOPLE, you have to pay $8 just to get there, and the lake is more like a dried up small bog. Next!

1 month ago

Gorgeous day today. This trail is as amazing but it is extremely rocky. The leaves could not have been more splendid. Highly recommend this hike.

Wonderful hike mostly shaded by the aspens. This is a perfect time to capture the colors of fall! Rocky the last quarter. Crater Lake is dry, but the location offers a spectacular view of the Maroon Bells and the glorious, brilliant aspens.

Absolutely amazing! My 1st solo hike - 26 pound pack to start. Went counter clockwise August 24-26 to make option to hike out 3rd day easier. Reflection of Snowmass lake in morning sun is breathtaking, do not miss! Found refreshing swimming hole and small falls about mile above big waterfall on 2nd day. Ended up hiking 14 miles 3rd day and exiting...love my new altra trail runners, no blisters and with lighter pack, was very doable and enjoyable. View after view will keep ya going. Would love to hike this again!!! Trail is well marked, met friendly trail runners and many helpful hikers and a resourceful ranger each day. Combine these with Alltrails app for navigation and a Spot devise for emergency rescue and you are good to go, safer than being in a city!

hiking
1 month ago

Nice views of maroon bells. It is a steady up, and trail is rocky pretty much the whole way, but beautiful fall colors against the ‘maroon’ colored mountains. It does have a lot of people traffic

The trail is 3 miles from the parking lot to the top. The last .8 miles from the fork is really steep. Beautiful views when you get there.

Wow, literally breathtaking all the way around! The views were above all expectations. The trail says it’s 29 miles, however my gps tracked it at 31.2 miles. There is a major drought issue here in aspen so I kept about 3 liters of water at all times. Make sure to do the same if you find water take advantage! I didn’t see any bear however I did see tons of chipmunks, marmots, mule deer, mountain goat, and sheep. Such a brutal trail, however it was so worth it! No pain no gain! The entire loop took 4 days 3 nights and I did it counterclockwise. The first night I arrived late and only got about 2 miles in, then it was starting to get dark so you gotta set up camp just before sunset because the wind is a beast! Couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather. The highs were in the upper 80’s, lows around the upper 40’s low 50’s. I would absolutely do this hike again, maybe try doing it clockwise next time.

Beautiful views of the Maroon Bells.

2 months ago

It was a challenge but it was worth it. Wow it view tho!

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