Fall at Maroon Bells Colorado

Ever since seeing a photo of Maroon Bells a few years back, I’ve wanted to go see them in person.

Maroon Bells
Maroon Bells

We usually go the Boulder area when we visit Colorado, so I knew it would take special planning to visit a location that’s a good 5 hour drive from Boulder.

We initially planned to stay in Glenwood Springs, right off of I-70, but a bit of digging revealed plenty of reasonably priced lodging around Aspen.

We’d never even been there before, so that sounded like a plan. It would also put us 1/2 hour closer to Maroon Bells.

As noted in a previous blog post about my bike ride, we stayed right outside Aspen in the tiny community of Snowmass Village.

Getting to Aspen was bit exciting, as it snowed right before we crested the peak at Independence Pass. The rest of the day was nice after that. A bit before Aspen I pulled over to a roadside attraction, and that’s where I discovered the Devil’s Toilet Bowel, an odd but beautiful rock formation with a stream flowing through the middle.

Independence Pass
Independence Pass
Devils Toilet Bowl
Devils Toilet Bowl

And wouldn’t you know? There are morning traffic jams in Aspen! It took about 20 minutes to get from the room to Maroon Bells, and at least 5 minutes of that was spent waiting in traffic. I know, it’s not like a real city commute, but it was unexpected.

We went to the Bells a few different times, including two morning trips and a couple later in the day. We also drove over to visit the mill at Crystal Springs, but alas, it truly is a four-wheel only road the last 6 miles! We’ll just pay to take a jeep ride next time, but it was a bit of a disappointment to miss the mill this trip.

Maroon Bells
Maroon Bells
Maroon Bells
Maroon Bells

We enjoyed our stay in Snowmass Village and between Aspen and the village found plenty of good food!

We are, it turns out, a bit sensitive to higher elevations. Aspen is at 8000 feet while Boulder is barely 5500. No heart issues for either of us, but tiredness and a general slight feeling of being lightheaded prevailed.

We did, however, heed some advice I read on a web site about dealing with altitude sickness; we purchased cans of pure oxygen. Good for close to 100 inhalations each, a couple of bottles really helped us out.

But it really wasn’t bad. I hiked to the end of Maroon Lake, the lake at the base of Maroon Bells and had no difficulties breathing.

Maroon Bells
Maroon Bells

The last 3 photos were taken on the way out from Aspen, back over Independence Pass and passing along side Twin Lakes.

Overall, a great trip, with great company and wonderful weather.

More photos on Flickr!

Road to Independence Pass
Road to Independence Pass
Stream monitoring station
Stream monitoring station
Twin Lakes Colorado
Twin Lakes Colorado

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