The Maroon Bells

Written by on June 4, 2017 in CO Outdoor Adventures - Comments Off on The Maroon Bells

The Maroon Bells — located in the Elk Mountains of the White River National Forest in Colorado — are the most photographed peaks in all of North America.  Comprised of a set of peaks topping 14,000 feet, these gorgeous mountains strike a remarkable silhouette against the Colorado sky. The White River National Forest is 2.3 million acres of pristine forest, mountains and more, including several of Colorado’s premier ski areas.
Maroon Bells, Maroon Bells
The mountains have their origins during the Triassic period. Sediments washed down from a formation called the Ancestral Rocky Mountains accumulated in the Maroon Basin. Around 65 million years ago a massive uplift caused the area to rise, facture, slide and generally get jumbled up. Wind, weather, glaciers and snow have shaped the peaks and valleys into their present perfect symmetry.

Perhaps the most beautiful location to view the mountains is from the glacial valley and Maroon Lake. The lake is surrounded by fields of wildflowers and mirrors the Maroon Bells in its waters. Maroon Lake is also an angler’s paradise. Maroon Valley has 100 miles of trails making this area so desirable that access is restricted during the summer months. Hiking trails include Crater Lake (easy to moderate), West Maroon Trail (challenging), North Maroon Summit and South Maroon Summit (technical climbing equipment required). Note that hikers must carry permits when on the trails.

While Maroon Creek Road, off Highway 82, in Aspen, grants access to Maroon Bells Scenic Area, motorized vehicles are restricted from the road from early June to mid-September/em>. Bicyclists and other non-motorized vehicles may enter freely. From either Aspen or Snowmass, the easiest way to get to the Maroon Bells is by bus. From Aspen take the Castle/Maroon bus from Rubey Park to Highlands. If you are coming from Snowmass or Downvalley just go directly to Highlands and park for free. At Highlands you will need to buy tickets at Four-Mountain Sports for the bus tour to Maroon Bells. The bus will pick you up right outside Four-Mountain Sports and drive you to the Maroon Bells.

Silver Bar Campground, located on Maroon Creek, while not in the recreation area itself, is convenient to the area. The closest towns to the wilderness area  are Aspen or Snowmass, where all the amenities are available.

White River National Forest Service900 Grand Ave.
Glenwood Springs CO 81601
Phone (970) 945-2521

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