- Physical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
- Technical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
A classic hike through the Maroon Bells Wilderness, the trek out to Crater Lake leaves the intense crowds of Maroon Lake and yields a more intimate view of the North Maroon Peak.
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Route Description for Crater Lake
From the parking area, or the shuttle drop off point, head down to Maroon Lake. The view across Maroon Lake with Maroon Peak in the background is stunning. It’s one of the most photographed shots in the Colorado Rockies, so enjoy this absolutely stunning vista before starting the work ahead of you.
Continue around the north side of the lake. The trail will begin to climb gently at the end of the lake. For another 1.6 km or so you will gain elevation through sparse trees before you arrive at a junction. Turn left here along the West Maroon Creek Trail. After a few hundred feet you will arrive at the east side of Crater Lake.
You will have a fantastic view of North Maroon Peak, with all its intense and craggy features. If you walk around the lake to the other side and look back, Pyramid Peak will be on your right and Sievers Mountain on your left. Sit and appreciate these vistas before making your way back on the trail you came in on.
Insider Hints for Crater Lake
- There are numerous campsites around Crater Lake. This makes for a fantastic and easy one-night backpack trip.
- A fee is required to enter this section of the park, or a National Parks Pass. Note that for most of the summer, Maroon Creek Rd is closed from around 8a.m.-5p.m. If that is the case, you will have to take the Shuttle from Aspen Highlands Ski Area. Contact the National Forest Service for more information on the shuttle.
Getting to the Crater Lake Trailhead
Head west from Aspen along Colorado 82 for 0.8 km. At the first traffic circle take the 2nd exit onto Maroon Creek Rd. Continue along Maroon Creek Rd for 15.1 km
Crater Lake Elevation Graph
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Crater Lake Reviews
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