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We were told by the bus driver that Crater Lake was a lot more dried up this year, and that was completely obvious once we saw the lake. I’m sure it would have been a lot more attractive if the water were higher. But pretty views throughout the hike! Saw a ton of families, so should be doable for most kiddos. And if you have a dog, they’ll probably enjoy cooling off in the lake at the top.

I’m physically active so I thought the trail itself was mostly easy, but we flew in from GA ~18 hours before the hike and I definitely felt some negative affects of the altitude adjustment. If you’re not used to high altitudes, bring plenty of water and remember to take deep breaths.

The hike is great, lake is underwhelming. Views along the hike are awesome.

For those of us not used to the altitude (we are from GA) this was a pretty difficult hike on the way to Crater Lake. Mostly uphill and very rocky. Took about an hour hike to get to Crater Lake but the view was gorgeous! Plan on packing a lunch or snacks and taking in the view—and a short rest! Definitely want to get there early as it gets very crowded on the narrow, rocky trail as the day progresses. We got to Highlands at about 8:15 to take the bus up to Maroon Bells. Go early—very popular destination! Bring lots of water too.

hiking
5 days ago

We did two miles in and two back after finding ourselves with some extra time. Nice hike, not too challenging. In the sun a lot, so starting earlier is better. Views of the ridges above you are very impressive. Otherwise nice but not spectacular. Not crowded.

This trail is rather difficult, I got to the end in about and hour and a half and in total stayed for about 3 hours. It is very touching to see all the memorials for the firefighters that tragically lost their lives.

I recommend doing this hike very early in the morning. I started at about 4:30 am, this way you avoid all the heat during the day.

overall a great hike.

on Crater Lake Trail

hiking
6 days ago

I found the low level of the lake and the dirty water to be a little underwhelming. The view of the surrounding mountains is very nice, as is the aspen forest on the way in.

hiking
9 days ago

Go early to beat the crowds and dress in layers.

Difficult, steep. Great historical significance

hiking
13 days ago

Amazing views at Maroon Lake (starting point) and at Crater Lake! I found this to be more easy to moderate...the moderate being due to the higher elevation and all the rocks. The rocks are no joke. I rolled my ankle a few times in hiking shoes...wished I had full on boots. There are really only a couple patches without rocks, so be prepared for that. We started around 11:45 on a Wednesday in July and it was still super busy. Come early to enjoy the peace and quiet. Took us about 2hrs round trip, plus about 30 minutes of lounging at Crater Lake.

This is one of my favorite hikes. The trail is a bit busy on weekends but worth it!! Kid and dog friendly but watch your footing because it gets a bit rocky!

hiking
16 days ago

Beautiful and not crowded!!

Great hike and doable with young children. Bug spray is helpful walking through the woods. A lot of loose rocks along the path so tread carefully. If you’re planning to go on a weekend and want to avoid taking the bus, plan to arrive well before 8am. We reached around 7:50am and the lot was already full and closed.

hiking
17 days ago

Great trip! We got there at 5:45, parked, got our gear and hit Maroon lake about 6:15am. Stopped to take pictures then started our hike to Crater Lake. Very rocky, but so worth the trip. Got up to Crater Lake about 7:20am, sat around and watched a momma duck and her ducklings swim around the lake when some dips&*t had his dog unleashed. Dog went after the ducks, while owner laughed. A bunch of us started yelling at him and about 2-3 minutes later had the dog on a leash (sadly we ran into them about 2 miles up the trail past the lake and the dog was off leash again). Our hiking goal wasn’t to go much further, but we did venture up another mile and half.

We turned around and started back down. Got back to Crater Lake and took a break to see the bells in a later (11:00am) light. Started our trip back down and it was busier than Cherry Creek Mall at Christmas!! You can tell when the buses drop people off. About every 15 minutes there would be a new wave of tourists heading up to the lake with a camelback, no food, no protection, and their poodle (on leash) struggling to get up and over the rocks.

Got to our car and headed down the mountain. We hit 82 and started to head west and about a minute later got dumped on. Our thoughts were with all of those people hiking with nothing to protect them from the elements.

Would I do this again? Yes, during the week, after Labor Day, and at 5:30am.

Only completed a couple of miles of this trail completely unplanned as we were on our way through Colorado to get to Utah, but I would definitely make an effort to get back there one day so I can make it further on seeing this trail. Between the pine-rowed canyon cliffs, the sights and sounds of the streams, and the mix of sunshine and shade, I felt that this trail in summertime embodies about everything I have always loved about Colorado. Seemed very family friendly also.

awesome single track

hiking
21 days ago

Nice trail to get a look at the Bells and Pyramid from the bottom! Lots of biting flies-so remember your bug spray
Pleasant way to spend the morning.

hiking
22 days ago

Nice moderate hike. I didn’t know the road to West Portal was closed to public traffic from 8am-5pm. You pay to park at the Highlands. Buy a bus ticket $8 adults, $6 kids and take a bus up. We had a lovely singing bus driver who pointed out many nice features along the way. At the West portal bus drop off, water and restrooms available. The short walk to Maroon Lake had nice views. We started our hike to Crater Lake about 3:30. It took about an hour to get there. We hussled back to catch the last bus at 5:00 and missed it by 10 min. (Due to hiking with kids). My husband hitch a ride back down and drove back up to get us. After 5, pull up to the bus route to pick up where you were dropped off, or take the lower public parking down by the lake.
It was a long day since we hiked at the Grottos in the morning. Totally worth it!

hiking
23 days ago

CRATER LAKE/MAROON BELLS AREA. Late start arriving (230pm) put me on high alert to get back in time to catch last shuttle bus out! I pledged to turn around 330pm no matter what. Moving at a good pace with trekking poles for me in scree field where I could see lake from distance. I look at my quick photos I snapped and marvel at “this is not even enhanced!”

Would allow for more time! I was able to hoof it back, take time to put my feet in the icy waters of the lake/river and catch the 440pm bus.

An afternoon perfectly spent!

Hiked this trail on a whim. Fairly easy going, but same view of creek for most of the hike. Not incredibly busy, but still a lot of people on the trail. Not a bad way to spend the morning.

Beautiful hike!

Great view at end, but very rock, uneven trail for 90% of the hike..

hiking
1 month ago

Well worth the hike. Once you have made it to Crater Lake, look for waterfalls way up on side of Mountain.

Amazing. I road my bike and around every curve was another picture moment. It was so interesting to see the changes in the flow of the Colorado River. The Canyon walls were majestic, souring, stunning. I hope I get to ride it again.

awesome hike that every fire fighter should experience we followed the trail up and through all the markers then bailed off of helispot 1 into the East drainage and out it added distance and alot more challenge to the trail. also ran into a small black bear below the first set of memorials.

Very rocky with not a lot of scenery before the lake. But the lake is beautiful. I’ve done some moderate trials this trip so for my money, I’d just relax and enjoy the scenic loop instead and do a more worthwhile trail later. It was just not diverse enough for me. Too much scree.

hiking
1 month ago

Fantastic trail with gorgeous views. We did it wearing our 2 year old in a Deuter backpack, which was a must. The trail is really rocky in parts and would be difficult for young children. Definitely a heavily used trail, but well worth it!

Beautiful.

Beautiful view. Perfect amount of challenge and having to pay attention and beautiful and fun!

hiking
1 month ago

Another MUST SEE trail in Aspen!!!

hiking
1 month ago

Very nice hike.

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