Maroon Bells Scenic Loop

A short and very easy MUST-DO hike if you are limited on time – the Maroon Bells Scenic Loop! We can’t recommend this iconic hike enough!

Maroon Bells Scenic Loop
Aspen, Colorado

Short on time while visiting the Maroon Lake area, then start with this hike. There is a large open area to view the iconic Maroon Bells mountain reflecting on a clear mountain lake.

It was very crowded when we arrived but once we began the trail the crowds vanished. Many people just enjoyed the view and didn’t go any further. Beautiful scenery everywhere and the colors were amazing!

The trail is mostly flat and very easy to navigate. You will love the views of the Maroon Bells reflecting on the lake.

Some highlights:
– iconic Maroon Bells view
– small bridge over scenic stream
– every shade of red, yellow and green
– easy and fun hike

Facts To Remember


Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1.9 miles round trip / approx 2 hours
Elevation Gain: 160 feet
Starting Elevation: 9,590 feet
When To Hike: Summer, Fall
Permits: No
Pets Allowed: Yes on leash
Starting Location: Maroon Lake area
Time of Year: October, 2019

Parking and Getting There

Due to Maroon Bells being very heavily visited there are some access restrictions during the busy summer and fall months.

We were told if we wanted to drive to the Maroon Bells parking lot we would have to arrive before 7am and even then all parking spots could be filled. Told to start up the mountain around 6am. Ouch!

Another option and what we choose was to park at Aspen Highlands and take a bus to the top. Parking prices were $10 per car for 0-3 hours, $15 per car for 3-8 hours and $25 for anything beyond 8 hours.

For people that don’t live in Aspen, the bus ride is very informative. The bus driver explained why cars are restricted due to the ecological damage, who owns the massive houses along the way, pointed out past avalanches and other facts.

Note: If you plan on visiting the Bells read about current parking restrictions.

Hiking Maroon Bells Scenic Loop

We arrived during the peak season and there were lots of people. Many just enjoyed the view of the Bells. There are several hiking trails from Maroon Lake so the trails didn’t feel as overly crowded as we expected.

The Trailhead

Time to get started…

The Hike Begins

Scenic Bridge

Hike Through Aspens

The color of the Aspens were absolutely perfect!

Open Fields

Our Selfies

Final Section of Trail

Our Thoughts

It’s understandable to know why this is such a popular and highly trafficked hike. The very little elevation gain, short hike and stunning scenery makes this a must-do hike. Get your selfie stick ready and enjoy yourself.

During our stay in Aspen, we camped at Weller Campground in White River National Forest. It was a great little campground surrounded by Aspens. Here’s a few night shots of our campsite.

Next time we’d like to do some backcountry camping and hike the longer trails. Have you done any? What would you recommend?

Suggestions and Tips

If you want to park at the top closest to Maroon Lake then leave by 6am
If the idea of a fun and informational bus ride interested you then park at either Aspen Highland or Downtown Aspen
We were told the bus will drop you off anywhere along the route to the top and pick you up as well – this is useful if you paid for all day parking
and finally…don’t leave behind trash and maybe pick up any you see, be respectful of any wildlife you may encounter including humans, and always be prepared

Are you Considering This Hike?

Since parking is limited and bus is on a schedule, don’t forget jackets, camera, etc
Check the weather for rain or bad weather and dress accordingly.

Hike Recommendations

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