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Crater Lake (the Maroon Bells)

This beautiful hike is famous for its destination, the Maroon Bells, but the journey is certainly distractingly scenic as well.

3.45 Miles
692' Ascent
692' Descent
10,141' High
9,573' Low
Elevation View

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About Crater Lake (the Maroon Bells)

This is quite possibly one of the most iconic hikes in the nation and certainly in the Aspen Snowmass area, this is a can’t miss hike. Upon your arrival at the Maroon Bells Visitors Center* you’ll be greeted by incredible views of North and South Maroon (collectively, the Maroon Bells). Experiencing The Bells is certainly doable from the visitors center area without much effort as it’s easy to hang out at Maroon Lake for hours on end just taking in your surroundings. For those looking to get the full experience, there is a very well-marked, well-traveled beginner to intermediate trail that takes you from the visitors center area up to the actual base of the Maroon Bells at Crater Lake.

As you start to walk along Maroon Lake you’ll quickly be greeted with signage directing you towards Crater Lake (the base of the Bells). This trail through the aspen groves is a pretty consistent, yet gentle, uphill grade with plenty of width for a group to conversationally hike together. As you near Crater Lake, the trail splits at the main junction for the popular backpacking route, the Four Pass Loop. You’ll veer right and in a few short steps be greeted by Crater Lake and the imposing Maroon Bells.

Bonus: If you’re feeling extra energetic or adventurous, you can continue past Crater Lake following the trail towards West Maroon Pass (approximately 8 miles past Crater Lake).

Insider Scoop: Pack a lunch to enjoy as you take in the views at Crater Lake.

If you’re unsure how to get to the Maroon Bells Visitors Center, use our resource for getting from Snowmass Village to the Maroon Bells 


*Restrooms and a water fountain are available



Cars are not permitted up towards the Maroon Bells midday throughout the summer months. Plan on taking the bus* from Aspen Highlands if planning on a midday hike. Otherwise, early risers can head all the way to the end of Maroon Creek Road to find parking before the park opens. Learn more about getting from Snowmass to the Maroon Bells here.

*Ticket required

Map Location of Parking Lot

More about Crater Lake (the Maroon Bells)

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