Postcarded at Maroon Bells

Maroon Bells, Colorado
Maroon Bells

Some people say it is the most photographed place in North America, some others say it is the most photographed place in the state of Colorado. Whatever it may be, we went to see Maroon Bells only because my bestie who lives in Colorado told me it was a place we just couldn’t miss. And wasn’t she right!

We were in Aspen, Colorado in the first week of November and since there wasn’t a whole lot of snow and we are not exactly ski enthusiasts, it was Maroon Bells that turned out to be the highlight of our Aspen expedition.

The drive from Aspen to the Maroon Bells area took us a little over a half hour. There weren’t many vehicles on the two-lane road leading up to Maroon Lake so it was a nice and easy drive. When we got there, I found a board that said that this place received around 200,000 visitors every summer. So I’m guessing it is a great place to go camping. And let me tell you it is an altogether different story in the Fall; with all those trees turning yellow, it is quite a picture. When I saw some photographs for the first time, I  had let out a loud gasp.

When we were visiting, it wasn’t winter yet and the peak of Autumn was behind us. The Aspen trees had shed their leaves so the surroundings looked very bright. It looked like winter had come in a little early and served these parts with a few rounds of precipitation. There was some snow in the trails around the lake and on the hills in the vicinity. The two peaks that made up Maroon Bells were also dressed in some snow.  As we got to the clearing I saw something I had never seen before — a frozen lake.

The Maroon Lake, at an elevation of 9000 odd feet was absolutely still. There was not a single ripple and the morning sun that shone on it bounced off perfectly. There were stones and twigs, even bits of branches embedded in the crystal-clear ice, seeming like the lake had solidified all of a sudden.

The frozen lake, the mighty twin peaks, the dry Aspen trees and the snow on the super-straight ridges of the Maroon Bells made me feel like I was in a grand post card.

Maroon Lake, and Maroon Bells in the background

Frozen: Maroon Lake

Up close: the frozen lake

Tidbits:

  • Maroon Bells gets its name from the reddish tinge of the peaks mountains here. And the mountains owe its colour to the mudstone it is made up of. 
  • Maroon Bells is around 12 miles away from Downtown Aspen but it will take you a good half hour to get there, considering you’re going to be driving uphill on a two-lane road. 
  • If your Navigation System does not show the route to Maroon Bells or Maroon Lake, you could look up an address on Colorado Road 13 and drive up to the end of the road. 
  • There are several hiking trails around here, even one to Crater Lake that lies in between Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake.
  • This place dons a different look every season. See how it looks in Fall (here).

Also from the Colorado trip:
Aboard the California Zephyr
Through Zephyr’s picture windows (a photo post)

113 Comments:

  1. Divya every post of yours is such a delight and the best thing is to get to know of a place one has not heard of! The write up and pictures were thoroughly engaging:) Thank you indeed for these trips!!

    • Aww…thank you Mr. Bhatia. It is such a pleasure to tell these travel stories. It's always nice to hear from you; it's a lot of encouragement to keep going. πŸ™‚
      Thank you so very much.
      Happy weekend.

  2. Those peaks look stunning! Lovely post Divya. Nice to read about all these interesting places.

    http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.in/2013/01/old-goa-of-cathedrals-churches-chapels.html

  3. Maroon Bells is simply magnificent and glorious. Reminded me of my visit to Yellowstone in October 2012 and the travel to Grand Teton. And Divya thanks for taking time to read all my posts in one go and finding time to leave comments individually in each one of them.

  4. This looks like a pristine place in Colorado, even though 200000+ people are visiting it. Fab pics.

    • The day we were there, there were very few visitors so we got to take in the place with little or no distraction. It was an off-season day. πŸ™‚
      I was fascinated by the frozen lake, most of all.:)
      It really is a gorgeous place.
      Thank you Desi Traveler.

  5. Divya, super cool. I have been reading and seeing pics of Maroon Bells for a long time and like always, I am just too sad that I live so far away from all those beautiful places. Nevertheless, some day :(.

    Thanks for the info on the GPS and others, good tips which no one mentions!

    • Raji, this place really is a photographer's delight; your kinda place, really :). I wish you get to go in the Fall. I know you'll bring back some of the best shots ever.

      This place is tucked away in some wilderness so there doesn't seem to be a proper address for the GPS. Good for us, we were with friends who've been there several times.
      First time visitors could use that tip. πŸ™‚

    • Raji, look up Fall photos of this place, ok.
      And have a great weekend. πŸ™‚

  6. Those are breathtaking shots .. WOWOWOWWO the first one and the third one are simply out of this world , would make for a beautiful desktop pic..

    Bikram's

    • Thank you, Bikram. πŸ™‚
      I agree, those scenes are great for desktops. It was only after I returned that I figured out why it might be called the most photographed place. If I happen to go there, again, I'll make sure I have a picture — composed the way the experts do it. πŸ˜‰

  7. Divya, Visiting snow mountains during winter itself is a kind of revelation. Chill wind, smell of fresh snow and leafless trees add life to the winter, isn't it? I love frozen lake. Walking on them itself is so much fun! Lovely pictures too!
    PS: Saw from the previous comments that you are addressed as Divya πŸ™‚ Din't know them earlier πŸ™‚

    • Yes Anu, that's an experience. After we got back to Denver, I happened to go on a nice 'long' walk in the snow, I mean while it was snowing and I surprisingly (and thankfully) I didn't fall ill. :)I never dared to try walking on a frozen lake, tho'. You're a brave one, huh! πŸ˜‰

      Thanks Anu, the place was lovely.

      You can call me that. That name leaked out when I used another account — quite by mistake — to comment on another bloggers space. πŸ˜‰

  8. Wow Divya.. that is such a serene place. The mountains are so majestic. Loved the pictures. They sure make terrific post cards. Wow.. you get to travel to such lovely places. That is so awesome. And I loved the little tidbits too.

    • It was very quiet and very heavenly when we visited, the advantage of visiting a place when it's not exactly 'in season.' πŸ™‚
      Thanks Raj. :)Always lovely to hear from you. πŸ™‚

  9. Wow.. sure looks heavenly… the mountains and the lake.
    Is the mountain trekkable – all the way to the peak? Will check this place out sometime in the future.

    Also if you get a chance to see Crater lake, dont miss it. The pictures look out of this world..really!

    • It is a beautiful place. You'll love it. Don't worry, there are a lot of trekking opportunities around here. I saw a signboard to a trail to Crater Lake that lies at the foot of the peaks. They only don't encourage climbing those peaks because they are made up of rocks that easily break off.

      You're talking about Crater Lake in Oregon, right? I so badly want to see it. We'd even planned a trip last summer. Something else came up and we had to cancel it. :(.
      Hopefully 2013 will take us there. πŸ™‚

  10. Those are some really nice photos. I am so jealous πŸ™‚

    I don't know if I am spamming or not, but I was hoping a few people could take a look at my blog.

    http://anair903.blogspot.co.nz/

    Thanks =)

  11. What really fascinates me about america are these wonderful natural landscapes….

    Maroon bells is definitely lovely!!!

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com/

    • …and the way they're kept, maybe? πŸ™‚

      I think all places have a charm of their own. It's just that sometimes other things are so distracting. πŸ™‚

      I hope you're doing well, Sush. Happy New Year to you. πŸ™‚

  12. I might blog about it someday. But I do recommend visiting new Zealand if you can afford it. It is simply beautiful. And the people are so nice here too.

  13. Grand postcard indeed, Divya! This landscape is beautiful and I love the name too – maroon bells, so very inviting. πŸ™‚

  14. aye aye.. the first photo had me swooning πŸ™‚
    this is lovely. have you tried the postcrossing project btw? Its a lovely way to meet new people, learn of new places. try!

  15. Guess I have missed a lot of lovely places in US. I have to catch up this summers. Lovely shots πŸ™‚

  16. Hi DN,

    Wow, this place looks amazing. It must've been quite cold out there. Colorado is full of rocky terrain and landscapes, I suppose. Perfect place for camping.
    Thanks for sharing the pics. πŸ™‚

    Do check out my entry to Get Published. πŸ™‚

    Regards

    Jay
    My Blog | My Entry to Indiblogger Get Published

  17. Hi Divya: There is a Blog of 2012 Award for you. Please pick it up at Ramblings and Musings: http://www.sankriti.blogspot.in

  18. Maroon bells are one of the cons of Colorado. Beautiful pictures.

  19. Beauty form the god' own land! I loved those autumn sunrise pictures, though.

    Thanks Divya, for showing us the beauty of USA , in your posts.

    • I wish I could see this place at height of Autumn, but it's unlikely to happen. πŸ™

      You're welcome. It really is such a pleasure to share these travel stories. πŸ™‚

  20. Wow.. lovely pics… worth a Post card feeling!! Its always fun to go to places which are most visited by the travelers.
    I have seen the European beauty, hope I get to see America soon…

  21. Thanks for such a nice narration and wonderful shots….

    http://debnature.blogspot.in

  22. Lovely description and lively pictures:)
    An awesome postcard post Divya:) Thanks a lot:)

  23. Whoa! Such lovely shots!
    I want to be there NOW!

  24. Wow Divya, you paint such a beautiful mental picture. The place looks beautiful, I have never seen a frozen lake before, I would wish to see it someday for sure. Love the pictures as always, they beautifully complement your wonderful narration. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you so much Akshay for those lovely words. You just made my day.

      I was fascinated by that lake. We were a wee bit late for the fall colours at this destination but that frozen lake almost made up for it. :)I hope you get to see one soon. πŸ™‚

  25. Thanks for the journey to the Maroon Bells. You make the journeys sound so real, places so breathtaking. Perfect shots for the travelogue.

  26. Seems a nice place. First look I thought of Himalayas being first time here and then realized it is different but almost equally beautiful πŸ™‚

  27. What beautiful designs made by the frozen water! Wow!

  28. Wow! Edenic! You have captured it so beautifully too!

  29. Divya, this place reminds me of Yumthang … so beautiful! You are one lucky girl to be traveling so exhaustive. I havent been on vacation for over 2 years now! Damn!

  30. beautiful capture ! first time on your blog i guess . .would love to read more . . following you πŸ™‚

  31. Breathtakingly beautiful! I saw the fall photographs too. Now I realise I have seen these photographs earlier so many times. No wonder, it has to be the most photographed place.

  32. I've always wanted to experience a frozen lake! Thanks for sharing, great post. πŸ™‚

  33. @D.Nambiar I will post about it tomorrow. Meanwhile, check out my new blog post.

    πŸ˜€

    http://anair903.blogspot.co.nz/

  34. I can see why this is so photographed! Such beauty!

  35. Wow ! Some very beautiful photographs, especially the first one. It seems that the nature has chiseled the mountain in sharp patterns of brown and white πŸ™‚

    • Thank you so much, Puru.
      Yes, it does look like this place was sculpted with a whole lot of care. Doesn't it look lake nature used some enormous rulers to get those lines on the peaks so straight πŸ˜€

      Hey, and I've been enjoying your Hampi photographs, eh. They're wow!

    • Arnab, I am so so so sorry, I accidentally deleted your comment when I was taking off a 100+ spam comments that came for this post. (crazy numbers, never has this happened to any of the posts in this blog. πŸ™‚ I'm trying to figure out why 'this post' πŸ™‚
      So so sorry. But I have to reply to your comment — " What an amazing place this is! No doubt its the most photographed in the United States.You have done real justice to this place with your clicks."

      So, Thank you so very very, much. It's whole lot, coming from you.
      This place is an amazing sight. I'm guessing this place is so photographed because form one point near the lake, you get this amazingly reflection of the peaks and the surrounding vegetation, on that lake. I wish, I noticed that before. But then again, I don't think I'd have captured that amazing symmetry because the lake was frozen. I could have tried tho' :(.

      I hope you looked up that link to see how this place looks in Autumn. If you visited this place, you'd bring back truly magical images, I know.
      You're posts and photographs inspire me no end. Honest. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you for making my day, Arnab.
      It was so exciting to see one my 'most favourite travel bloggers' on my followers list. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  36. simply beautifully captured shots…lovely place to be!

  37. good pictures and nice description…….the stuff and theme of the blog is so impressive. The actual match, like your blog, is found on very rare places.

  38. WOW!! What a beautiful place!! Excellent job with the snaps, especially the first one.

  39. utterly delightful!! loved the pics and the write up!

  40. Beautiful pictures of 'Maroon' bells. Has anybody tried to climb it?

  41. Breathtaking pics!! And a good narrative adds more to the pics, Divya. Exqusite!! Maroon bells–sounds so sweet n romantic!! How did I miss these blogs, I wonder. Lovely!!

    • Even I thought that was a lovely name for a couple of peaks. It really is a gorgeous place. Did you see how it looks in Fall?

      Thank you so much, Panchali di. Always lovely to hear from you. πŸ™‚

  42. You had me at the first photograph!!!

    • :)Wow place, alle?

      Isn't this your second visit to this post, Kishan I don't mind an extra comment; not at all. πŸ˜‰ I was just hoping you'd seen the comment reply I left for you. πŸ™‚

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  44. Wonderful informative post! the peaks are looking beautiful to visit. and pictures show that have a unforgettable memory about this journey.

  45. This is a cool and nice post ever.I was looking at some of your posts on this website and I conceive this web site is really instructive.

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  46. your images are gorgeous and bring back memories of the time I visited this awesome place.

  47. hey dee… this is my first pic of a frozen lake or a thinly iced lake to be correct .
    Well the Maroon Bells name history is interesting and the name is beautiful but all I could see was snow wali blue peaks ! Guess when the snow would melt , the red tinge would be visible …
    loved it dear πŸ™‚

    • Isn't that quite a sight? I was so fascinated seeing the lake like that.

      I don't think it's a bright red, just a tinge. I hear it breaks off easily so mountain climbing is a no-no here.

      Thank you so, so much Kokila. It seems like a post from a long time ago. It was nice reading it again, thanks to you.:) I hope you had a look at what this place looks like in Autumn. There's a link in the post.

    • Got it Girl πŸ™‚ The maroon tinge is AMAZING … your words are so apt- " … like I was in a grand post card " Thanks for the share Dee πŸ™‚

    • You're welcome, my dear friend. πŸ™‚

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