the wandering chick
...the Maroon Bells
a breath-taking view in every direction

I have thought all along that my summer in Colorado has been close to Heaven. But when I saw the Maroon Bells, I KNEW I had reached the pearly gates! ! The setting is like no other. The phrase "around every corner is a picture postcard" is definitely true here.

There are some wonderful hikes, long and short, easy and strenuous...whatever you like. And if the view of the peaks reflected in Mirror Lake isn't enough to awe you, a hike up to Crater Lake to the very foot of the Bells should do the trick.

Plan on spending a couple days, longer if you want to do more hiking. Aspen is the closest town for food and lodging, as, other than tent camping, there are no accommodations in the park, nor are there eateries of any kind.

Maroon Bells reflected in Maroon Lake
close up of the Bells
the Bells between Aspen trunks
the Sievers Mtn
the Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake
The centerpiece of the Maroon Valley is the natural setting of the Bells and Maroon Lake.
the Bells with aspen trees
The Bells are North Maroon Peak on the right and South Maroon Peak on the left. They are both 'Fourteeners.' Though from this angle the north appears higher, actually the South Maroon Bell, at 14,156 is 142 feet higher than North Maroon Bell. They are about 1/3 of a mile apart. To the left of the two peaks is Pyramid Peak, also a Fourteener.
As you're looking at the Bells, to your right is Sievers Mountain with a lucious green slope of trees leading up to the foot of the mountain.
the Bells and Maroon Lake
the Bells reflected
Maroon Lake
Sievers Mtn
Sievers Mtn
closeup of the Bells
beaver dam in Maroon Lake
the Bells reflected in Maroon Lake
Of course, the Maroon Bells Valley is not without wildlife. Moose, marmots and beavers are frequently seen. The beaver dam is at the south end of Maroon Lake. Typically, it's surrounded by water, but there was not enough snowmelt this past winter to fill the lakes in the area.
the Sievers Mtn
the Bells
bridge leading to the Maroon Lake Trail
Maroon Creek fall
Maroon Creek waterfall
Two very managable trails, the Maroon Lake Trail and the Falls Loop Trail, can be taken here at the far end (south end) of Maroon Lake. They take you through stands of Aspen trees and the Maroon Creek's gentle waterfall.
Maroon Creek fall
aspen trees grace much of the Maroon Valley
stand of aspen trees
Stands of aspen trees are everywhere throughout the Maroon Valley. I can only imagine what it must look like in the fall. Stay tuned. I may have to return.
a stand of aspen trees
a stand of aspen trees
a stand of aspen trees
a stand of aspen trees
trees surround the foot the Bells
the colors surrounding the Bells
the view north of the Bells
Maroon Creek fall
I suspect that this mountain range might be ignored or not even noticed, but I found it very dramatic and gorgeous. As you're facing the Bells, this range is directly behind you. As you leave the Maroon Valley on Maroon Creek Road, they dominate the whole scene in front of you. They even offer a nice reflection in Maroon Lake.
no name mtns
mtns north of Maroon Valley
no name mtns with rainbow
no name mtns
no name mtns with rainbow
A rainbow appeared over these mountains after a hard afternoon rain shower.
Stein's Meadow
Stein's Meadow has a small S-shaped pond which is said to be a good place for spotting moose. I checked it out several times and didn't see any there. It's located on the Maroon Creek Road's east side.
a Maroon Valley trail after a rain
a stand of aspen trees
the Maroon Bells
no name mtns
looking north over Maroon Lake
yellow-belled marmot
With your back to the Bells, you're looking over Maroon Lake and across Maroon Valley to the mountains for which I have no name.
a cow moose
During the days I was in the park there were up to three moose that had been seen at various times. I just happened, each time, to be in the wrong place at the wrong time...except for the morning of the second day when this cow was having breakfast.
Yellow-bellied marmots can be seen throughout the park.
Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake
on the Crater Lake Trail
the Crater Lake Trail
The Crater Lake Trail (3.6 miles there and back) is a steady uphill and rocky climb for most of the route, but the view once you get there makes it all worth it. The next several shots were taken either on the trail or at Crater Lake (which this year was, unfortunately, very low).
the Crater Lake Trail
the Crater Lake Trail
the Crater Lake Trail
the Crater Lake Trail
Crater Lake
the Crater Lake Trail
Crater Lake
Crater Lake is at the foot of the Bells (which are to the right in this picture).
Crater Lake meadow
on the Crater Lake trail
The Sievers Mtn with aspen trees
This and the next two photos will have been my last parting shots of the Maroon Bells Recreation Area, taken as I'm coming down from the Crater Lake Trail. It was so very hard to leave. There is still a lot I've not seen on this summer trip in Colorado, but I feel I will be hard pressed to find anything that compares to the beauty I've seen here.
Maroon Lake looking north

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Maroon Lake from the Crater Lake Trail