Explore maroon bells - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

maroon bells Map

The hike up to the lake is beautiful, there is a variety of terrain and the change of surroundings which keeps it interesting. It goes from an all forested area to more open spaces with better views of the mountains. There are a few creeks to pass over so wear shoes you don't mind getting wet. The pebbles on the trail can be slippery in some places too so be careful when coming down.

1 day ago

Great “1st Backpacking” trail. Elevation profile is a little deceiving as you do most of the climb just before the lake. Around the lake you will find several “developed” camp spots with fire rings and logs to sit on. Absolutely gorgeous. Rained all morning so plan appropriately. Most people know it rains in Colorado in the afternoons but at this altitude and locale it can rain all day in late summer/fall.

Trail is an old Jeep road so it’s wide most of the way and easily passable with a pack. Lots of people frequent this trail but it’s a great hike with a gorgeous payoff to reward your hard work. Camping around the lake is recommended!

Great Views. Only complaint was that it was very rocky so it was challenging for the dogs at times.

2 days ago

Rocky but moderate hike. Summer 2018 Crater Lake is more like a pond but we burned the calories so we could eat more great food in Aspen.

A beautiful walk! Very easy trail which allowed us to truly enjoy all of the different types of vegetation in the area :)

Hunter Creek Trail is not a loop! The actual Hunter Creek Trail is out and back. In order to make a loop you turn off to multiple other trails and even include hiking on paved road. Silly to call this hike a loop. The actual Hunter Creek Trail is worth hiking..beautiful rushing stream..rocky, inclined hike.

7 days ago

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.

Just hiked this on a Saturday afternoon and came across a total of eight people... crazy! It's a long, dusty drive to get to to the trailhead off of 400 (I came through Eagle), but well worth it if you don't like hiking with a crowd. Not too tough of an effort, and (relatively) warm water in the lake.

Awesome trail through every aspect of a mountain! Aspen groves, forest, meadows, rock slides. Hiked from the Maroon Bells down beside the Maroon Creek, took less than 1.5 hours. Beautiful!

Fun with great views and solitude on a weekday afternoon. Cool mining cave on the way up, too!

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.

12 days ago

The perfect acclimation hike. The hike itself is at high elevation, but generally flat the whole way so you can become comfortable moving around at high elevation. We loved all he different historic sites from the boom town up there. You could step off the trail and wander through old wooden house frames and find metal cans, rings from barrels, bricks, etc. We also did the little side loop towards the end around mile 5. The way out was nice, but the way back was essentially non-existent. You could either walk out to the end of the rail line there and then turn back, or just be ready for a bit of bushwhacking.

on Crater Lake Trail

12 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.

This hike was pretty easy at first with a moderate to difficult climb towards the end. The trail is slightly overgrown but not too bad. pretty and peaceful once you get to the lake.

13 days ago

Beautiful hike!! Not too hard and goes through several types of terrain.

15 days ago

Go early to beat the crowds and dress in layers.

The first part of the hike was shaded but then after a while it got pretty hot. Also at the end we had some trouble finding the trail. Over all we thought the hike was fun for our family.

Lake is gorgeous and refreshing! Easy hike and worth circling the lake.

18 days ago

the trail was pretty easy the whole way. beautiful view from the top of the tunnel. went around 12 and saw maybe 10 people the whole time. definitely recommend giving this hike a go

19 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.

Beautiful lake but mediocre hike in

Wonderful half day hike, with moderate elevation gain. Trail is rocky and loose up to the lake. Would recommend going around the lake for great view!

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!

Outstanding payoff for a relatively short hike. Make sure you continue on the trail past the first, smaller lake.

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.

23 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.

23 days ago

Nice hike, very gradual uphill until two steep sections near lake. LOTS of people (July Saturday). Dry around lake. Seems like a bit over 6 miles to me.

A good moderate hike. We got to the trailhead around 6:30 am and there was one spot. However, plenty of parking on the street. Wish we had spent more time at the lake, but a storm rolled in and we got worried and left. Next time we will stay for lunch. Not too crowded for early in the morning, but plenty of campers at the lake.

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