If you watched my author interview earlier this week with Aspen author, Jill Sheeley, you probably heard us talking about the Maroon Bells. She mentioned that these are probably some of the most visited and photographed mountains in the state of Colorado. The Maroon Bells are 14ers and according to the information from the shores of Maroon Lake, they can be deadly to attempt to summit.
Our visit to the Bells was after a long day. It started before sunrise on the south rim of the Black Canyon, progressed to a hike on the north rim, continued at lunch at Big B’s before we made it to Aspen. We were tired but I’m glad that we didn’t miss visiting the Bells. The area was still a bit smoky, like it had been all week due to the fires out west. If you missed the smoke conversation please see this post.
Most people visiting the Bells, want to just view them like we did. They are so popular that you do have to make a reservations, at least for the Maroon Bells Scenic Area. There are a variety of time slots to visit the Scenic Area, we selected the 5pm to 12am time slot which actually allowed us to drive to the area. There is a 12am to 8am time slot that allows driving also. For all the other time slots, visitors park and are bussed to the Scenic Area. Reservations can be made here during the summer months. For our evening time slot it cost $10 per vehicle. The shuttle has a similar fee. Starting November 1st, each year no reservations are needed but there is a fee at the gate. If you are visiting this late in the year, check the forest service website to ensure that the road is open.
The Bells are in the White River National Forest. The area just looks magical. I’m a huge fan of fantasy and the aspen trees in the sunset and the tall green grasses rippling in the breeze and the field full of wild flowers looked like it was made for summer fey to dance upon. We did not have the area all to ourselves but having time slots keeps the the crowds to a reasonable amount. The main walking area is around Maroon Lake and there are trails past the lake. We did not get to hike them because they were closed for restoration.
This area is absolutely gorgeous. There is a reason that it attracts the number of visitors that it does but it makes me sad when I see those visitors not respect the area. People were climbing over ropes to areas that were out of bounds so that they could re-grow. There was a fair bit of trash and Keltin and I picked up what we could but we can only make a difference for a moment. No matter where you are or what you are visiting leave everywhere better than you found it. Let those who come after you enjoy the natural beauty that you did.
The Maroon Bells were wonderful to visit. Next time, I’d like to stay out a bit later and try to capture the stars above these peaks. Have you ever visited the Maroon Bells, if so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments. Remember to leave no trace and safe travels!
Thank you KW Photography for allowing me to use your wonderful photos!
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