Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado

Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail

Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


The Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail is an easy, short trail meandering along the creek.

Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Maroon Lake Scenic Trail: Getting there

From the roundabout west of Aspen, take Maroon Creek Road.

Check the sign just past the roundabout for road closure status. During busy times & the summer, cars are only permitted past the guard gate to the Maroon Lake parking lot before 9am or after 5pm. On these days, park at Aspen Highlands and take the Maroon Bells bus (runs approx. every 20 minutes). If driving, a $10 fee applies for a 5-day pass.

Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail: The hike

Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

From the parking lot, follow the trail to the lake.

Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The trail continues to the right of the lake. At the “Scenic Loop Trail or Crater Lake” marker, keep left.

Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Cross the bridge over Maroon Creek and continue on the trail.

Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The trail forms a loop through the meadow and trees.

Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The trail is approximately 1 mile roundtrip.

Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

 

Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado

Hiking Meadows Trail in Aspen

Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Meadows Trail is a short, pretty hike that begins in Aspen’s West End by Aspen Meadows Resort.

Aspen Meadows Resort, Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Meadows Resort, Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Meadows Trail: Getting there

Head west on Main Street, go through the “S” curve, then turn north (right) on 8th Street.  The trail begins at 8th and Meadows.

Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Meadows Trail: The hike

Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Meadows Trail is an easy, one mile roundtrip hike next to Castle Creek.

Beginning at 8th and Meadows, the trail runs next to 8th Street.

Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado (Buttermilk in distance)
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

At Aspen Meadows, turn left and head down the switchbacks behind the resort.

At the bottom of the switchbacks, Meadows Trail runs along Castle Creek, then intersects with Rio Grande Trail.

Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Additional Aspen, Colorado hikes

Aspen hiking overview
Rio Grande Trail
Richmond Ridge
Smuggler Mountain
Hunter Creek Trail
River Run Trail
Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop
Maroon Bells Crater Lake

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Hunter Creek Trail starts from Aspen and heads uphill (about 5 miles roundtrip).

Hunter Creek Trail: Getting there

From Main Street & Mill (corner of the Hotel Jerome), take Mill & cross the bridge by the old Art Museum.

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Turn left on Red Mountain Road & then right at Lone Pine Road.  The parking lot is on the corner and the trailhead is just up the street behind the parking lot.

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Hunter Creek Trail: The hike

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The Hunter Creek trail is a moderate climb up a rocky path next to the creek.

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Hunter Creek Trail starts from Aspen and heads uphill for about 2.5 miles (one way) with about a 1,000 vertical foot elevation gain.

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The hike is mostly shady and runs next to the creek, in the midst of aspens.

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Views from each of the bridges provide beautiful views of Aspen to the south.

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

At the last bridge before the road (about .75 mile), be sure to look north at the waterfalls.

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Additional Aspen, Colorado hikes

Aspen hiking overview
Meadows Trail
Rio Grande Trail
Richmond Ridge
Smuggler Mountain
River Run Trail
Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop
Maroon Bells Crater Lake

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado

American Mountaineering Museum in Golden Colorado

American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

A visit to the Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum is a fascinating journey that educates, inspires and immerses one in the beauty, history, adventure & cultures found in the world’s mountains.

Located in downtown Golden, CO, the museum showcases the contributions of legendary mountaineers & climbers and their roles in history, while educating in an interactive environment.

American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Bringing Everest stories into perspective

American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
Large-scale model of Mount Everest
American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

For anyone that has read an Everest expedition book or article, the push-pin marked routes on the large-scale model of Mt Everest bring the accounts to life.

View the historic West Ridge route climbed in 1963 by American Tom Hornbein & Willie Unsoeld or trace the first ascent climbed in 1953 by Edmund Hillary & Tenzing Norgay, while gaining a deeper understanding and respect for the bravery, adventure & skill these mountaineers have contributed to history.

American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Historical artifacts & mountaineering pioneers

The evolution & spirit of mountaineering is captured in the collection of historic items the museum displays.

American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
Oxygen cylinder from the 1922 expedition to Everest lead by George Mallory.
American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media
Peter Schoening's Ice Axe. Used to save the lives of five men during the 1953 American expedition that attempted K2. American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
Peter Schoening’s Ice Axe. Used to save the lives of five men during the 1953 American expedition that attempted K2.
American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Living in & protecting our mountains

The museum educates with interactive, colorful exhibits ranging from learning more about the effect of altitude on humans to the cultures that live in the world’s mountains.

American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media
American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

American Mountaineering Museum

Location: 710 10th Street Golden, CO 80401
Hours: Monday-Saturday, Closed Sunday
Phone: 303-996-2755
Website: mountaineeringmuseum.org

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Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado

Hiking Smuggler Mountain in Aspen

Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Smuggler Mountain is a popular hike with the trailhead located in east Aspen.

Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Smuggler Mountain: Getting there

Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

From Main Street & Mill (corner of the Hotel Jerome), take Mill to Gibson.  Turn right & at the Y intersection, keep left onto South Avenue.  Turn right onto Park Circle to Smuggler Mountain Road.  There is parking on the right & and a 2nd lot is just above.

Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Smuggler Mountain: The hike

Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Kim Hull, Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

The Smuggler Mountain trail is a fairly steep 1.5 mile climb that ends at the observation deck overlooking Aspen.

Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Smuggler Mine sits at the base of the mountain. The trail is actually a multi-purpose dirt road shared by hikers, bikers, runners & dogs and is quite heavily used, especially on the weekends.

Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media
Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

At the top is an observation deck with stunning views of Aspen.

Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media
Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Kim Hull & Kibo, Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Additional Aspen, Colorado hikes

Aspen hiking overview
Meadows Trail
Rio Grande Trail
Richmond Ridge
Hunter Creek Trail
River Run Trail
Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop
Maroon Bells Crater Lake

Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media
Skiing Snowmass, Aspen, Colorado

Aspen’s largest ski mountain: Snowmass

Skiing Snowmass, Aspen, Colorado
Skiing Snowmass, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The largest of Aspen Snowmass’ four mountains, Snowmass has 3,332 acres with 150 miles of trails ensuring there’s room enough to play.

And, with cruisers, glades, steeps, 3 terrain parks, a 22-foot superpipe and a beginner pipe, there’s something for everyone to do in all that snow.

Snowmass: Countless options

Skiing Snowmass, Aspen, Colorado
Skiing Snowmass, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The wide-range of skiing, dining and hotel options make Snowmass very popular with riders and skiers of all ages and abilities.

For the kids and beginners, Fanny Hill is a good place to start, working your way up to Max Park & Scooper off the Village Express lift.

The AspenSnowmass Ski School at Snowmass is a great way to get some top-notch instruction and learn the mountain – it’s well worth the investment.

Advancing up the mountain a bit higher are four areas, from right to left: Sam’s Knob, Big Burn, High Alpine and Elk Camp.

Sam’s Knob is closest to Snowmass Village and has a good mix of greens, blue and blacks.

If you’re looking for some amazing blue cruisers with stunning views, head up to Big Burn to find a playground of long, wide intermediate trails. Served by the Big Burn and Sheer Bliss lifts, Big Burn also has access to black and double black runs.

High Alpine lives up to its name – the runs at the top are all black, with quite a few bumps. Mid-mountain down are blues.

The Elk Camp side of the mountain is home to a variety of blue runs, all with spectacular views.

Skiing Snowmass, Aspen, Colorado
Skiing Snowmass, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Snowmass: Eats

Snowmass Base Village BarSnowmass is home to an abundance of dining options from simple to refined.

On mountain are Gwyn’s High Alpine, Lynn Britt Cabin, Sneaky’s Tavern, Sam’s Smokehouse, Up 4 Pizza, Two Creeks Cafe, Burlingame Cabin, Ullrhof and Elk Camp.

Only slightly off-mountain in the village are dozens more. A couple of our favorites: The Stew Pot, serving homemade soups, sandwiches and a pretty tasty chili dog, and Base Camp Bar & Grill, with a great patio, good food & happy hour specials.

Snowmass: The Facts

Snowmass starts at a base elevation of 8,104 ft.(2,473 m) and rises to a summit elevation of 12,510 ft. (3,813 m) and a vertical rise of 4,406 ft. (1,343 m).

Snowmass’ 3,332 acres (1,448 hectares) contain 94 trails, served by 19 primary lifts.

6% of Snowmass’ trails are green, 47% are blue, 17% are black & 30% are double black. The longest run is 5.3 miles (8.5 km) – yeah, that’s not a typo.

For a Snowmass trail map and more info, head over to the AspenSnowmass website.

 

Buttermilk, Aspen, Colorado

Skiing Aspen’s Buttermilk

Buttermilk, Aspen, Colorado
Buttermilk, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Buttermilk sits three miles outside of Aspen on Highway 82, providing visitors a view of the impressive 22-foot superpipe as they make their way into Aspen.

The smallest of the four Aspen mountains, Buttermilk is primarily known as the home of the ESPN Winter X-Games and, at the other end of the continuum, a beginner’s mountain.

X Games, Buttermilk, Aspen, Colorado
X Games, Buttermilk, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Skiing & snowboarding for beginners & families

Buttermilk, Aspen, Colorado
Buttermilk, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Buttermilk’s smooth rolling terrain makes it the Aspen option for new skiers and snowboarders to learn.

Well-groomed and not crowded, West Buttermilk’s gentle greens are the perfect place to build confidence or just enjoy a casual day on the slopes.

To head to West Buttermilk, simply take the Summit Lift to the top and head to the right (west).

West Buttermilk is served by the West Buttermilk lift.

Buttermilk’s ski and snowboard school

Buttermilk, Aspen, Colorado
Buttermilk, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The Ski & Snowboard Schools of AspenSnowmass teach on all four mountains, but generally beginner and children’s classes are held at either Buttermilk or Snowmass.

Aspen’s Ski & Snowboard School is exceptional, with skilled, professional instructors that strive to make the most of the experience regardless of age or ability.

And, while they’re in ski school…

If you are dropping off someone at ski school, jump on the Summit Express and head up to the Tiehack (east) side of the mountain.

Tiehack boasts blue and black runs that are generally groomed and are served by the Tiehack high-speed quad, new in 2011.

Racer’s Edge in the morning sun can hand over some nice fast cruising to start your day.

Catch some air at Buttermilk’s terrain parks

From beginner to expert, Buttermilk’s two terrain parks have over 100 features including rollers, jibs, boxes and hidden features in trees.

Buttermilk, Aspen, Colorado
Buttermilk, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Buttermilk: Eats

Buttermilk has two restaurants: Bumps at the base of the mountain and The CliffHouse at the top of the Summit Express lift.

Boasting views up the mountain of the half-pipe and terrain park, Bumps serves up burgers, pasta, soups and sandwiches in an energetic atmosphere.

The CilffHouse offers lunch with amazing views of surrounding mountains. Dining options include burgers, soups, sandwiches and the very popular Mongolian grill.

Buttermilk: The Facts

Buttermilk has a base elevation of 7,870 ft (2,399 m) and tops out at 9,900 ft (3,018 ft).

It’s 470 acres (190 hectares) contain 44 trails, served by 3 high-speed quads lifts (plus 4 ski school lifts & the Panda Peak lift).

35% of the trails are green, 39% are blue, 26% black & there are no double black.

The longest run is 3 miles.

For a Buttermilk trail map and more info, visit the AspenSnowmass website.

More Aspen

Aspen Mountain
Aspen Highlands
Snowmass
10 tips for the best Aspen ski vacation

 

Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado

Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum

Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Oooh.” “Ah.” “That’s cool!

A visit to the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum will result in those exclamations and more.

Located in Golden, Colorado, the Geology Museum is home to thousands of mineral, fossil, gemstone, meteorite and historic mining artifact exhibits on two floors.

The Geology Museum, which was started in 1874, is located in a beautiful building with natural light and plenty of room to view the amazing collections on display.

Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

From Azurite to Malachite to Ferberite to gold, the brilliant colors and rich textures are stunning.

Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Longwave and shortwave ultraviolet fluorescent minerals, Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum Highlights

Moon rocks from 2 Apollo missions, Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Moon rocks from 2 Apollo missions, Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media
Murals by Irwin Hoffman originally exhibited at 1939 World's Fair depicting the development of mining, Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Murals by Irwin Hoffman originally exhibited at 1939 World’s Fair depicting the development of mining, Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media
The Betty H Llewellyn Special Exhibit Room housing invited displays, Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
The Betty H Llewellyn Special Exhibit Room housing invited displays, Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media
A Light in the Darkness lighting display, Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
A Light in the Darkness lighting display, Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Learn more

The Colorado School of Mines Museum is located in Golden, Colorado and is open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday 1-4 p.m.

Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

The museum features specimens from many Colorado mining districts, an introductory video on area geology, radioactivity exhibits, fossils, gemstones, and meteorites.

Special thanks to Dr. Bruce Geller, Director & Curator of the Colorado School of Mines Museum

Location: 1310 Maple St Golden, CO 80401

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday 1-4 p.m.

Phone: 303-273-3815

Website: Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum

Admission: Free

Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado

Aspen Highlands: Laid-back big mountain skiing in Aspen

Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Generally referred to as the local’s mountain, Aspen Highlands is where we’ve been known to spend most of our winter days.

Aspen Highlands is the most laid-back of the four Aspen mountains and has a wide-variety of skiing, from bumps to trees to Highland Bowl.

Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

We tend to think of the mountain in the areas served by the lifts…

Exhibition lift is a high-speed quad from the base to mid-mountain. The runs served by Exhibition are mostly blues & greens, but there are also some good places to play in the trees.

Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The Thunderbowl lift is just to the left of Exhibition and heads up to the thigh-burners, Golden Horn and Thunderbowl.

Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Cloud Nine provides access to the center and west side of the mountain. Many days we will simply work our way from the west to the east, run by run.

Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The views of the Maroon Bells and the Roaring Fork Valley are amazing on this side of the mountain and the skiing is a spectacular mix of intermediate to advanced runs, with a variety of terrain including some nice fast groomers, trees and moguls.

Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Loge Peak lift provides access to a mix of blues, blacks and double blacks. On the front-side, blues such as Broadway, Hayden and Meadows head back down to the Loge lift. Off the east side are the steep Temerity & Steeplechase double black runs, with access back via the Deep Temerity lift, which also serves Highland Bowl.

Aspen Highlands: Hiking the Bowl

Highland Bowl is home to inbounds backcountry skiing, with 1,500+ vertical foot runs starting from 12,392 feet at the summit, with pitches close to 50 degrees.

The hike to the bowl is a 782 vertical ft hike at altitude that takes about 45 minutes from the top of the Loge Peak lift, with the reward of incredible 360 degree views.

Descent is via one of the 15 designated runs, which are named after ski wax colors, to the base of the Deep Temerity lift.

Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Aspen Highlands: Eats

Aspen Highlands has multiple drinking and dining options, each with great views, food & fun.

Lunch at Cloud 9, Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Lunch at Cloud 9, Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Just off the top of the Cloud Nine lift is Cloud Nine Bistro. Lunch on the deck on a sunny day at Cloud Nine is heavenly. The views of the Maroon Bells are spectacular and the food, while a little pricey, is superb. Cloud Nine Bistro is not to be missed.

At mid-mountain is the Merry Go Round. Following a facelift in 2011, the Merry Go Round is much brighter and warmer, delivers good food and now has a nice bar with views up the runs below the Cloud Nine lift. The Portobello burger is super (not really a burger) – and the Wednesday burger and beer special is a great deal.

At the foot of the mountain is Out of Bounds. Good food, great bartenders and, if you are there in the afternoon (as we are most days), grab a beer & and a seat on the patio and watch the ski team practice on Thunderbowl.

Also at the base of Highlands, are Highlands Pizza, with a full bar, really good pizza, sandwiches, salads & burgers & great happy hour specials, and Willow Creek Bistro at the Ritz Carlton Club, serving American fare in a slightly more upscale environment.

Aspen Highlands: The Facts

Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Aspen Highlands starts at a base elevation of 8040 ft (2,451 m) and tops out at the top of Highland Bowl at 12,392 ft (3,777 m).

It’s 1,028 acres (416 hectares) contain 118 trails, served by 5 lifts.

18% of the trails are green, 30% are blue, 16% black & 23% are double black.

The longest run is 3.5 miles.

For an Aspen Highlands trail map and more info, visit the AspenSnowmass website.

Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

More Aspen

Aspen Mountain
Buttermilk
Snowmass
10 tips for the best Aspen ski vacation

Colorado Railroad Museum

Colorado Railroad Museum

Colorado Railroad Museum
Colorado Railroad Museum
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Whether you are a train buff, photographer or just looking for something interesting to do for an afternoon, you will have a wonderful time at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, Colorado.

The Colorado Railroad museum, which is deservedly one of the top 10 Denver attractions, will have you amazed at the vast array of railroad history on hand.

Colorado Railroad Museum
Colorado Railroad Museum
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Colorado Railroad Museum: Preserving Colorado railroad history

As the railroad industry declined in the 1940’s, Bob Richardson began collecting pieces of railroad history – rolling stock, equipment, records and memorabilia.

By 1958, his collection had outgrown its home in Alamosa, CO and the museum was moved to Golden, where a replica railroad depot was built for the museum’s main building in 1959.

Colorado Railroad Museum
Colorado Railroad Museum
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Over the next five decades, the Colorado Railroad Museum grew to a collection of over 100 engines, cabooses and coaches on a 15 acre rail yard that includes the replica depot, a water tank, a G-scale garden railway, and working steam & diesel locomotives.

On the museum grounds is also the Robert H. Richardson Library, one of the largest railroad reference libraries in the U.S., with collections of rare photos, artifacts and documents and the Cornelius W. Hauk Restoration Roundhouse, a 5-bay roundhouse for railcar maintenance and restoration.

Colorado Railroad Museum
Colorado Railroad Museum
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Colorado Railroad Museum: Highlights

The Locomotives

Denver & Rio Grande Western No. 346, Colorado’s oldest operating steam locomotive
Denver & Rio Grande Western No. 346, Colorado’s oldest operating steam locomotive
Colorado Railroad Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

 

Colorado Railroad Museum: Denver Leadville & Gunnison No. 191, the oldest steam locomotive in Colorado
Denver Leadville & Gunnison No. 191, the oldest steam locomotive in Colorado
Colorado Railroad Museum
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Colorado Railroad Museum: Denver & Rio Grande Western No. 5771, which powered the ski train from Denver to Winter Park until 1996
Denver & Rio Grande Western No. 5771, which powered the ski train from Denver to Winter Park until 1996
Colorado Railroad Museum
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Colorado Railroad Museum: Manitou & Pikes Peak No. 1, designed to climb steep mountain slopes and glades
Manitou & Pikes Peak No. 1, designed to climb steep mountain slopes and glades
Colorado Railroad Museum
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Passenger Cars

Colorado Railroad Museum
Colorado Midland, Observation Car No. 111
Colorado Railroad Museum
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media
Colorado Railroad Museum: Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe, Observation Car Navajo
Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe, Observation Car Navajo
Colorado Railroad Museum
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

And much more…

Colorado Railroad Museum
Freight cars, Colorado Railroad Museum
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Colorado Railroad Museum
Cabooses, Colorado Railroad Museum
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
The Ski Train, Colorado Railroad Museum
The Ski Train, Colorado Railroad Museum
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Colorado Railroad Museum
Snow plows, Colorado Railroad Museum
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Colorado Railroad Museum: Special events & private parties

From a ride behind Thomas the Tank Engine™, to mailing a letter to Santa aboard the RPO railcar, the Colorado Railroad Museum has numerous themed and special events throughout the year including:

Ride the Rails Saturdays, Black History Month, Galloping Goose, RidesBunny Express, TrainTrick or Treat Train, Dinosaur Train, Santa Claus Special, and Day Out With Thomas.

The museum is also available for party rentals and private events.

Check the Colorado Railroad Museum website for specific dates, details and pricing information.

Colorado Railroad Museum: A preview

Location: 17155 West 44th Ave, Golden, CO 80403

Hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm daily, year round except Thanksgiving, Christmas Day & New Years Day

Phone: 303-279-4591, 800-365-6263

Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado

Hiking Maroon Bells Crater Lake Trail

Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

The Maroon Bells Crater Lake Trail is a moderate trail up to Crater Lake and the West Maroon Trail.

Maroon Bells Crater Lake Trail: Getting there

From the roundabout west of Aspen, take Maroon Creek Road. Check the sign just past the roundabout for road closure status. During busy times & the summer, cars are only permitted past the guard gate to the Maroon Lake parking lot before 9am or after 5pm.

On these days, park at Aspen Highlands and take the Maroon Bells bus (runs approx. every 20 minutes). If driving, a $10 fee applies for a 5 day pass.

Maroon Bells Crater Lake Trail: The hike

Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

From the parking lot, follow the trail to the lake. The trail continues to the right of the lake. At the “Scenic Loop Trail or Crater Lake” marker, keep right.

Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The first part of the hike is a steady climb up switchbacks through the trees.

Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

As the top of the switchbacks, you will pass through a rock field. Crater Lake is just beyond the rock field.

Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

The Crater Lake trail  is an approximate 3 mile roundtrip from Maroon Lake.

Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

If you are feeling up for some more hiking, go past the lake to the West Maroon Trail.

Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

West Maroon Trail is a 10.2 mile hike to Crested Butte over West Maroon Pass. Adding on an additional mile or so from Crater Lake before turning back is a beautiful additional hike in mostly solitude.

Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Additional Aspen, Colorado hikes

Aspen hiking overview
Meadows Trail
Rio Grande Trail
Richmond Ridge
Smuggler Mountain
Hunter Creek Trail
River Run Trail
Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop

Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media
Ajax, Aspen Mountain, Aspen, Colorado

Sitting high above the town of Aspen, Aspen Mountain

Ajax, Aspen Mountain, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Mountain, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Aspen Mountain is the mountain that people visiting Aspen for the first time have pictured in their minds before they come to Aspen.

Sitting high above the town of Aspen in its regal splendor, Aspen Mountain is a constant reminder that Aspen is first and foremost a ski town.

Not a mountain for beginners, Aspen Mountain has something to keep intermediate skiers and up very happy, from bumps to cruising down Ruthie’s Run to the steeps of Bell Mountain.

With a mix of casual to intense skiers, the glamorous wanting to be seen, people-watchers wanting to see the glamorous, and locals getting in a few turns on their lunch break, Aspen Mountain delivers variety, fun and some really great skiing.

Aspen Mountain, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Mountain, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Aspen Mountain: Eats

As one would expect, the dining options on Aspen Mountain are upscale and offer a variety of food & beverage options.

At the top of the gondola sits the historic Sundeck.  The Sundeck was originally built in 1948 and, in its current form, is a large, rustic structure with amazing views of the Elk Mountains and Highlands Bowl. Dining options include pizza, wok specialities, stews, soups, salads & sandwiches and the Sundeck has a full bar.

Ajax Tavern, Aspen, Colorado
Ajax Tavern, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Bonnie’s is located upper-mid mountain, just below Tourtelotte Park, and serves a wide-range of fare from soups to burgers to dumplings, but is most well-known for their white-bean chili, fabulous two-tiered outdoor deck, and scrumptious apple strudel.

Situated at the base of Aspen Mountain next to the gondola, Ajax Tavern is quintessential Aspen après, with lots of people in their finest watching other people in their finest.

But, not to be overlooked, Ajax Tavern serves up some really fine food & drink for lunch or dinner (year round by the way).

Ajax has a great burger, the truffle fries are amazing and there’s really no better way to spend an afternoon than with a bottle of wine and some pâté on the patio.

Aspen Mountain: The Facts

Aspen Mountain, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Mountain, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Aspen Mountain starts at a base elevation of 7,945 ft (2,422 m) and rises to a summit elevation of 11,212 ft (3,418 m).

It’s 675 acres (273 hectares) contain 76 trails, served by 8 lifts.

There are no greens on Aspen Mountain. 48% of the trails are blue, 26% black & 26% are double black. The longest run is 3 miles (4.83 km).

For an Aspen Mountain trail map and more info, head over to the AspenSnowmass website.

More Aspen

Aspen Highlands
Buttermilk
Snowmass
10 tips for the best Aspen ski vacation

Aspen Mountain, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Mountain, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media