Crater Lake Trail

MODERATE 209 reviews

Crater Lake Trail is a 3.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Aspen, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
3.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
754 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

camping

fly fishing

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

horseback riding

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

Directions from Aspen: From mid-June through September the Maroon Creek road is closed from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., you will need to take a shuttle. You can catch the shuttle from Rubey Park on Durant Street in Aspen. There is a fee for the Maroon Creek Shuttle.If you get an early start, drive 1/2 mile west of Aspen on Highway 82 and turn left at the roundabout onto Maroon Creek Road. Keep right and continue 9-1/2 miles to the Maroon Lake parking area.

hiking
1 day ago

Awesome hike ! Beautiful views ! Very rocky so watch your footing. Pretty crowded even on a weekday but well worth it

hiking
1 day ago

Great hike. Easy incline and lots to see. Not too crowded on a Tuesday but parking was still hard. Go early if you can. Saw two mousse yesterday!!

hiking
2 days ago

3 days ago

Crowded

3 days ago

5 days ago

5 days ago

This trail offers a challenge but many amazing views along the way! If to the maroon bells parking area before 8am you can self park otherwise must take a shuttle from the Aspen Highlands and the last shuttle out leaves at 5pm! We are average steady pace hikers and made it to Crater Lake in about one hour.

hiking
5 days ago

Nice easy trail for the scenic loop, but TONS of people (thus the four stars). If you're feeling a little more adventurous the Crater Lake view seems pretty comparable to the Maroon Lake View, just less people. Some rougher terrain for the last quarter mile, but definitely kid and pet friendly. Can do either leg of the trip in about an hour and fifteen minutes if you're not in particularly great shape. Somewhat shaded to Crater, but if you have kids they're going to need a pretty good coating of sunscreen around the lakes.

Check for time of year, and day, because you may need to take the shuttle from Aspen Highlands. We had an infant so we could park at the trailhead; although on busy days parking is tight and first come first serve.

They have great bathrooms at trailhead, likely due to group traffic. Benches for day use and campsites for overnight. $10 for parking, and my understanding $10 for shuttle ride despite free parking at Aspen Highlands; however, that may just be this time of year. Didn't see any water fountains at trailhead so bring plenty.

TL;DR: if you're not an avid hiker and want to feel like you are, this hike is for you. Great views from a solid mountain tarn (or two). Just bring water and make sure you're eligible to park at the trailhead. Otherwise take the shuttle from Aspen Highlands for the same price.

Be safe, and please practice Leave No Trace!

https://www.gosnowmass.com/get-snowmass-village-maroon-bells/

hiking
6 days ago

Maroon Bells is the most beautiful place I have ever been privileged to see. My husband and I are 61 and 59 and did the hike the other day. It was great. We purchased sandwiches at The Butcher Block Deli in Aspen right by the Ruby Park Bus Stop. We also had our camelback's full of water. Great hike between Maroon and Crater Lake. It took us a little less than two hours to get to Crater Lake. Minimal traffic along the way. We ate our lunch at Crater Lake. Walked around for a while and headed back. The trip back offered amazing views of Maroon Lake. We got off the trail shortly before it ended where the sign was directing us to the scenic route. This was a great idea as it took us to a bridge at the far end if the Lake. We enjoyed watching the fly fisherman. The trail is pretty rocky so I suggest hiking shoes with good support.

hiking
6 days ago

Absolutely beautiful trail! Very busy but worth it when you get to the lake. We continued up the pass a bit more to get scenic overlooks of Crater Lake.

6 days ago

7 days ago

8 days ago

hiking
8 days ago

hiking
8 days ago

Great hike!

hiking
9 days ago

hiking
9 days ago

10 days ago

Great close up of Maroon Bells at Crater Lake. Definitely recommend trail. Wear ankle supportive hiking boots, trail is very rocky and my ankles killed me in tennis shoes.

hiking
10 days ago

We woke up before sunrise so we could get to the lake around 8am in mid-June, and we weren't disappointed. The lake was a perfect mirror, and we had it all to ourselves for about 45 minutes. Easy hike with an incredible payoff at the end.