Maroon Bells: Photographing the Iconic Colorado View

Most photographers will recognize the iconic Maroon Bells in Colorado. The giant snow capped mountains with the reflection in Maroon Lake is a view that has to be experienced. I was amazed when I visited how epic the view was in person.

Short walking trail to Maroon Lake view

Here’s everything I learned from my trip to Maroon Bells in Colorado.


Tips When Visiting Maroon Bells

  • Check conditions before visiting Maroon Bells, during the winter the road is closed.
  • Ensure you have a reservation before visiting.
  • You likely won’t have cell reception at Maroon Bells so if you plan on hiking the trail I’d recommend downloading a map.
  • It’s only a short walk to the iconic view of Maroon Bells but you can also do a 3.5 mile hike to Crater Lake.
  • There are bathrooms and trash cans at the parking lot.
Maroon Bells on Google Maps

How to Get to Maroon Bells

Arguably the hardest part about photographing Maroon Bells is traveling there. You’ll find Maroon Bells about 30 minutes outside of Aspen making it a must visit spot if you’re near Aspen. The trek from Denver is a bit longer, Maroon Bells is about a 4 hour drive from Denver.

As of 2022 you’ll also need a reservation to visit which you can get on their website. Maroon Bells reservations range in times slots. If you have an American the Beautiful park pass you will also get free entry with your reservation.

Once you’re past the welcome station it’s about a 15 minute drive up to the main parking lot. After parking the walk is extremely short and you’ll instantly see the iconic view of Maroon Bells. During busier times when the parking lot is full the park will use shuttle buses. You’ll want to see the Maroon Bells site for the latest information regarding shuttles and entry.

Maroon Bells parking lot

Once you’re at the main parking lot at the top of the park it’s about a 0.1-mile walk to Maroon Lake where you’ll see stunning views.

Trail next to Maroon Lake

On my visit I basically stayed in this area to get photos of the Maroon Bells reflection. There are plenty of hiking trails for all hiking skill levels that I’ve noted at the bottom of the article.


Maroon Bells Photography Tips

If you’re shooting Maroon Bells on your cell phone you can’t go wrong. The reflection in Maroon Lake looks stunning when taking photos on your phone.

If you’re planning on bringing camera gear I had great success with a 16-35mm wide angle lens for the main views of Maroon Bells. I also enjoyed having my Canon RF 100-500mm for wildlife and detailed shots of the area. I’d also recommend bringing a 10-stop ND filter to ensure the lake is still in photos. No matter what you bring I think you’ll be able to get stunning shots of the area, it’s grand nature takes over most frames.


Maroon Bells Pictures

Here are more photos from my trip to Maroon Bells during sunset. There were many branches in the water so it took some finessing to fine the best angle. Ironically the best angle I found was the one closest to the parking lot right when you reach Maroon Lake.


Maroon Bells Hikes

If you’re planning on hiking at Maroon Bells here are some of the most popular trails. You do not need to walk far to see the iconic Maroon Bells view but these trails let you explore more of the park.

Maroon Lake Scenic Trail: Most people who visit Maroon Bells will want to do the scenic trail to get the most out of their visit. This 1.9-mile loop trail takes you past Maroon Lake and up to a pond closer to the bells.

Crater Lake Trail: To enjoy a deeper view of the park you might want to hike to Crater Lake. This 3.5-mile out-and-back trail takes you past Maroon Lake and up closer to the bells.

Maroon Creek Trail: This 6.9-mile out-and-back trail starts near the beginning of Maroon Creek and takes you up to Maroon Lake. Note that this hikes takes you to the parking lot at the top of the park.


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