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.

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hiking
2 days ago

Nutsack Stinky

Amazing trail. Bit rocky, but great!!!!!

on Crater Lake Trail

hiking
7 days 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!).

It’s beautiful but a tourist zoo. Not saying I wasn’t one visiting the bells (from CO) but go before 8 or after 5 so you don’t have to take the bus or pay $8 a person if you already have a npks pass. Have to take the bus even if you have a dog. That was fun.

The bells we’re worth it but also tourists were playing football in front of the lake. Just keep in mind the time you go.

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.

Went leaf peeping with my fiancée and 2 year old son, we did the 3.5 mile hike down from the lake. Perfect day to see the top of the Bells from where the shuttle drops you off. We were maybe a week too late for the best leaf colors but the aspens were still a stunning golden color. First part of the hike had a lot of rock slides so it took our kiddo forever to navigate but we were in no rush and enjoyed the different scenery along the way. (He finally had enough scrambling and let us pack him in the Kelty, we made great time from there...) Muddy from moisture that morning and horse droppings along the way but no complaints here. You can choose to turn around to hike back up or just meet up with the road at the end of the 3.5 miles and the shuttle will stop for you and take you back to the parking lot. We will be doing the more difficult hikes next year when our son can handle it better. Five stars no doubt.

Me and my two dogs hiked this today. We started at 8 AM and it took 2 1/2 hours to get up there. The hike was so beautiful I kept stopping to take pictures. This might have been the prettiest hike I’ve ever been on! I highly recommend this hike

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
16 days ago

My two coworkers and I did this hike last Sunday (9/30), and it may have been one of the prettiest treks we have ever done!

It took us about 4 and 1/2 hours to complete this hike (including 30 minutes of leisure time at the Mill while having lunch/swimming) after driving up from Denver to Marble.

As everyone has stated in their previous reviews, the amount of Jeep/ATV traffic was a bit frustrating at times, but we didn't let that deter us from enjoying our perfect day!

The road up to the trailhead is unpaved, but if you have a vehicle with decently high clearance, you can eliminate about 0.6 miles of hiking (roundtrip) by parking in the area at the top of the hill.

This was a very moderate hike that runs along the Crystal River for the vast majority of the trek. The fall colors were in full bloom as well, which made this one of the most beautiful hikes to take in Colorado’s magnificent foliage.

Once you get the Mill, there is a $10 per person fee to go under the rope and view it from the water (which we did), but you can also view it from the roped off section on the road. I would highly suggest this option, as we had lunch on a rock next to the waterfall and I even jumped in to cool off!

All in all, this is one of the more rewarding hikes I have ever done in terms of scenery. The only reason I gave this trek 4 stars instead of 5 was the amount of traffic on the road. Would definitely return sometime during the week when the trail is a bit less congested. A must do for anyone in the area!

hiking
19 days ago

I agree with other hikers. While I’m so happy I did this 10 mile hike, the atv’s, SUV’s and dirt bikes were super frustrating. Lots of dust and traffic, not foot traffic. I’d suggest going from the other side, via Crested Butte. That’ll be my plan for next fall. Crystal was so cute and I’m happy we got to see it. My black lab was in paradise the whole way! Lots of swimming opportunities

A BEAUTIFUL hike. The trees and views are beyond stunning along the entire path and it’s an amazing lake. Pretty populated in the early afternoons but the lake is big enough to have some alone time at the top.

It was a strenuous hike due to its length and the steep incline at the end, but great for anyone looking for that “We made it!!!” feeling. I recommend taking the time to hike around the lake to see the flowers, plants and wildlife.

Great for those wanting a wholesome Colorado nature experience.

hiking
20 days 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.

We loved this trail!! We are not used to doing trails like this because we are from Oklahoma, but loved the length and it was a great workout!

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

hiking
20 days ago

Beautiful hike. Starting at the mailboxes is approximatly 10 miles roundtrip. Only four stars because of all the atv and 4x4 traffic. The dust and constantly moving out of the way gets very annoying. Amazing views and a beautiful mill. The little town of crystal is beautiful as well.

21 days ago

Beautiful scenery. Arrived early to secure a parking spot and a spot by the lake for the sunrise photo. Honestly the photography was much better after the sun was up for a couple hours. Easy hike some running water although the levels are lower due to the dry conditions. The gold and orange aspen trees are a beautiful contrast to the green pines and the grey of the mountains.

Absolutely stunning due to all the aspen trees. So incredible! Trail is well paved, not too rocky. Certain parts are a bit rocky and the switch backs get steep at the end. All worth it! Enjoy!

August 2009. Amazing beautiful trail

hiking
24 days ago

Very beautiful views and the end was great, but the constant car traffic added at least an hour to our hike. Each ATV or motorbike or Jeep that passed kicked up a bunch of dirt and dust too. Be prepared to pull over on narrow roads to make room for the vehicle traffic or go on a weekday where there is less traffic.

hiking
25 days 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!

This is a very popular photography interest point. I had researched ahead of time, and new to arrive very early. I arrived at the park at a bit after 6:30AM on a Tuesday morning, and I'm pretty sure I was able to secure one of the last available parking spots. After 8:00AM, it is required that you take a shuttle. The walk to the lake is very easy, mostly paved, and was very crowded at sunrise with photographers, who left shortly thereafter. I went in autumn, so the colors were amazing against the backdrop of the mountains, though it was a dry year, so the lake was a bit dehydrated. I'll give this trail a higher rating only because of the views, but I highly recommend continuing the hike to Crater Lake after.

hiking
25 days ago

Somewhat difficult if not in shape or lowlander. Views were gorgeous south pines and aspens. 2 areas of scree to maneuver but just take your time and don't rush. Remember to start down before sun starts to set for light on the way down.

camping
26 days 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
26 days 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

I've walked this trail a dozen times. No way is it a moderate trail. Very easy. Very beautiful, especially in fall when the aspens are turning color.

I am a professional photographer and decided I would go and see what all the hoopla is about with regard to this iconic location. The trailhead and parking is incredibly busy I was surprised at how many photographers were on site trying to photograph the sunrise at Maroon Bells. I've seen so many other awesome sites in this country, honestly, I wasn't impressed with this Trailhead or the scenery other than the beautiful Aspen's on the drive out. If you plan to photograph sunrise at Maroon Bells particularly in the fall, I would recommend that you are at the trailhead no later than 4:30 a.m. We arrived at 5 a.m. and we're on the verge of not being able to find a parking spot. I will say I don't think I'd go again. It just wasn't as spectacular as everybody talks about it being. while we were driving and it was Pitch Black. However the exit provided stunning scenery. I will say that that was worth the effort more so than the photography of the lake.

Did this hike on 9/22/18. The mill is beautiful, especially with the foliage this time of year. The trail is actually a 4x4 road, with loose gravel that can be a little tough on the feet if not wearing proper hiking footwear. After the initial access road the hike isn’t too challenging with a mixture of inclines and declines.
The only reason for not giving 5 stars is the amount of vehicle traffic and in particular amateur 4x4 drivers. Non stop jeeps/4x4s, atvs, and dirt bikes and the majority were very inexperienced, making it really dangerous at times for hikers. I was told it’s WAY better to go during the week with much less vehicle traffic

off road driving
28 days ago

Beautiful in the fall. Follow the directions to the town of Crystal. We were in a 4runner and made the mistake of following someone else's directions. It took us on the extreme off road part. After several hours and extremely rough terrain (with kids in the car), we made it to the mill. At this time of year, paying $10 to go down to the water isn't worth it. You aren't allowed to fish and it's too cold to swim. The drive down was much easier. The gentle rocking put our kids to sleep. We will definitely do the drive again.

hiking
28 days 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!

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