On a recent summer weekend, Chris and I decided to stop off in Aspen on our way to Glenwood Springs to hike the Hanging Lake trail. Aspen is roughly four hours away from Denver, and neither one of us had been before, but it’s only about an hour from Glenwood Springs, so we figured it would make for a perfect weekend jaunt.
At first we weren’t sure what to check out since we would have limited time, but after a little research, we assessed that seeing the Maroon Bells was an absolute must do. According to some sources, these mountain ranges are the most photographed mountains in all of North American — and now we know why.
During the summer the trail into the Maroon Bells site is closed to individual cars from 8 to 5 p.m. (unless you have a child under 2, or a few other contingencies), but you can catch a bus for $6 per person from Aspen Highlands, and they have free parking for Maroon Bell visitors as well. The parking lot does fill up quickly though, so you kind of need to test your luck. We did get lucky, though, because we arrived around 2 and were able to find a spot right away.
It was meant to be.
Here’s a bit of the (spectacular) views …
This lake on the way into Aspen was too pretty not to pull off to the side of the road and photograph.
The Aspen Highlands, where we parked and caught the bus into Maroon Bells.
Gorgeous mountain views.
The Maroon Bells are two peaks in the Elk Mountains — Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak — separated by about a third of a mile. You can hike them (they’re considered ’14ers’ — aka the name that Coloradans have given to certain mountains in the state that are above 14,000 feet), but the terrain is very difficult, so you should definitely do your research and train beforehand.
There is another little hike, about 3 miles, running away from the mountains, that Chris and I will definitely be back to do at some point in the near future.
We loved these wildflowers!