After a day in the car we were ready for another day of mountain adventures. We woke early, packed up camp and headed back towards Aspen and the Maroon Bells. The Maroon Bells were on M’s must see list – I’d never heard of them before – but the area was definitely worth the trip!
Access to the Maroon Bells is restricted – they offer a few parking spaces but you must be in the park before 8:00 am. With M’s dedication to early mornings we managed to grab one of the last few passes to park inside the area. An early morning start meant that we also got some quiet time at Maroon Lake.
We started our exploration of the area with a short hike on the Maroon Lakes Scenic Trail. I wouldn’t say it was the most scenic, but we did spot a bear (eek!). I do not like seeing bears when I’m out, and Maroon Bells area seemed to be full of them so I was on high alert all day.
After our easy warm up hike we decided to tackle the hike into Crater Lake. We’d planned to spend all day in the park so we had lots of time to explore and it seemed like a pretty area to head to.
It’s just under two miles from Maroon Lake to Crater Lake so after a short snack break at the lake we decided to keep hiking. The trail from Crater Lake heads out towards West Maroon Pass so we set off in that direction.
The trail to the pass is beautiful, and we found ourselves making the whole 6 mile journey. We’d hesitated at climbing the last bit to the pass but it was worth it for the views.
We learned from other hikers along the trail that most people were walking it as a shuttle trip between Crested Butte and Maroon Bells but after admiring the views we turned back the way we’d come.
What started as just a casual adventure turned into a 13 mile day so we were pretty tired when we got back to the car. We’d also been somewhat lax in our sunscreen application so by then time we’d settled into our Airbnb we were both sporting some interesting tan lines (I still have mine over a month later). There was a delicious dinner in Aspen, and then some time spent applying cold cloths to M’s calves before we wrapped up another day. Sunburns aside, I’m really happy that M insisted we visit Maroon Bells – the pass is truly spectacular and our adventure turned out to be one of my favourite days of the trip.