Crater Lake (Maroon Bells)

Crater Lake (Maroon Bells Park in Aspen, CO)

  • Attempted August 2014
  • Apprx 4.2 miles round trip (from the Maroon Bells Lake, where the shuttle will drop you off)
  • Apprx 2 hr hike
  • Difficult-easy trip (not a walk in the park, but young kids or older adults could handle this hike)
  • +600′ net elevation gain to Crater Lake (10,076′)
  • Equipment:
    • sunblock (remember elevation makes a difference, closer to the sun)
    • tech shell (you will want a shell to protect you from the rain, wind won’t be an issue since you stay below tree line for most of the hike)

Once you get off the shuttle, the Maroon Bells Lake is just a minute away.  Very pretty.  Made me really want to try to summit South Maroon Bells (14er) sometime in the near future!

Maroon Bells Lake.  You can take a nice walk around the lake.  Gorgeous views.
Maroon Bells Lake. You can take a nice walk around the lake. Gorgeous views.

Stay to the right side of the lake to reach the trail that’ll take you to Crater Lake.

This is taken towards the end of Maroon Bells Lake.
This is taken towards the end of Maroon Bells Lake.

As you walk along the right side of the lake, you will find the trail branches off to Crater Lake, and most people will take the lower trail to stay walking around the Maroon Bells Lake.

Some spires as you walk along the Maroon Bells Lake heading to the Crater Lake trail.
Some spires as you walk along the Maroon Bells Lake heading to the Crater Lake trail.

The trail is no cake walk, but can be conquered by almost anyone with patience.

If I recall correctly, this is one of the first parts of the Crater Lake Trail, which discourages a lot of people.  Hard to believe you only gain 600' of elevation on this hike (I am certainly skeptical)!
If I recall correctly, this is one of the first parts of the Crater Lake Trail, which discourages a lot of people. Hard to believe you only gain 600′ of elevation on this hike (I am certainly skeptical)!

The trail is mostly in the trees, but once in awhile there will be a clearing giving way to some spectacular views.

We had some low clouds this day that just covered the mountain peaks, so pretty.  They did, however, bring some heavy rains with them.  My soft shell jacket couldn't quite hold up to the demands of the rain.
We had some low clouds this day that just covered the mountain peaks, so pretty. They did, however, bring some heavy rains with them. My soft shell jacket couldn’t quite hold up to the demands of the rain.

The end of the lake kind of just appears, you wouldn’t expect it!  Just a quarter mile back from the lake is the fork that one would take if they are backpacking around maroon bells.  You’ll want to stay left at this fork and it’ll be rather obvious.

My brother seen towards the top.  We debated even taking pictures because of how heavily it was raining.  Given we both love photography, we decided it was worth it!
My brother seen towards the top. We debated even taking pictures because of how heavily it was raining. Given we both love photography, we decided it was worth it!

Even on a rainy day this was a beautiful hike.  I plan to return to either tackle the class 3 Maroon Bells Peak (Standard South Ridge approach) hike or to take on backpacking around the base of the Maroon Bells.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s