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

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
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
Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen

Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen

Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The Rio Grande trail is a pretty stroll in the heart of Aspen.

Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Rio Grande trail: Getting there

The Rio Grande trail starts behind the Aspen Post Office near Mill & Puppy Smith.

Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Rio Grande trail: The hike

Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The hike starts at the Jenny Adair Wetlands & Sawmill Park, a serene area dedicated to an early Aspen pioneer.

Heading along the Rio Grande trail, the hike winds along to the sound of the Roaring Fork River.

Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The 1st two miles (one way) are paved & shared with cyclists, dogs, strollers and runners.

At Cemetery Lane, the trail is dirt and runs all the way to Basalt.

Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Rio Grande trail: Cutoff to the Music Tent

Grindlay Bridge, Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Grindlay Bridge, Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

An alternative is to cutoff the Rio Grande Trail at about 1.5 miles at the Grindlay Bridge.

Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The trail runs up behind the Benedict Music Tent in the West End.

Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Additional Aspen, Colorado hikes

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

Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Richmond Ridge, Aspen, Colorado

Hiking Richmond Ridge near Aspen

Richmond Ridge, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Richmond Ridge in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Richmond Ridge is a five mile (one way) trail off the back of Aspen Mountain.

Richmond Ridge, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Richmond Ridge in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Richmond Ridge: Getting there

Hiking Richmond Ridge in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Richmond Ridge in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Take the gondola up Aspen mountain to the Sundeck (or hike up Aspen Mountain).

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

Richmond Ridge: The hike

Richmond Ridge, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Richmond Ridge in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

At the Sundeck, head behind the gondola, past the picnic tables to the start of the Richmond Ridge trail.

Richmond Ridge, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Richmond Ridge in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The Richmond Ridge trail is actually a dirt road, sometimes shared with off-road vehicles.  The trail is mostly flat with some rolling hills and is fairly easy with a few moderate uphill climbs.

Richmond Ridge, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Richmond Ridge in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Richmond Ridge, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Richmond Ridge in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

With the entire trail above 11,000 feet, the views are amazing.

Richmond Ridge, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Richmond Ridge in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Richmond Ridge, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Richmond Ridge in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
An easy hike for visitors to Aspen, Richmond Ridge
An easy hike for visitors to Aspen, Richmond Ridge
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Additional Aspen, Colorado hikes

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

Richmond Ridge, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Richmond Ridge in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media