Maroon Bells Lake (Colorado)

calendarOct 25 2017
The Maroon Bells are two peaks in the Elk Mountains, Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak, separated by about a third of a mile. The mountains are on the border between Pitkin County and Gunnison County, Colorado, United States, about 12 miles southwest of Aspen. Maroon Lake (9,580') occupies a basin that was sculpted by Ice-Age glaciers and later dammed by landslide and rockfall debris from the steep slopes above the valley floor.

More than 300 million years of geologic activity, including sedimentation, uplift and erosion by wind, water and ice, are credited to the creation of Maroon Valley. According to the US Forest Service, the mountains received their distinctive maroon coloring from the weathering of hematite, an iron-bearing mineral, while Maroon Lake occupies a basin that was sculpted by Ice-Age glaciers.

Just beyond Maroon Creek, you’ll reach a roundabout. Enter it carefully and follow the sign for Maroon Creek road. If you see the church tower, you’ll know you’re going the right direction. From here, just keep following the road until you reach the pay station. After that, just follow the road until it ends at the parking lot.

Maroon Creek Trail
Trail starts from west side of the Maroon Lake parking area, before you reach Maroon Lake. You’ll see the bridge to the left of the parking area. Cross it and turn left to follow the trail down-valley along Maroon Creek.

Note: any of these hikes convert well to snowshoe or cross-country skiing excursions during the spring. During the winter, consider a tour by snowmobile.

Maroon Creek Trail (3 miles) passes through Stein’s Meadow and offers a good chance of seeing wildlife. When started at Maroon Lake, it is an 800-foot descent to the East Maroon Wilderness Portal, where hikers can pick up the bus back to Aspen or head to campsites northeast along Maroon Creek Road.


Maroon Bells Lake

calendarOct 25 2017