It took me a while to get out to The Maroon Bells, but I made my first trip this summer after I completed The Four Pass Loop. That 30-mile hike started from a different location, though, and we were never too close to the iconic viewpoint.
This meant that I had to plan another trip back to see the Bells in all of their glory.
Watch my documentary from this four-day long journey around Colorado in my video below!
On October 1st, 2021, that trip happened. I was staying nearby in Carbondale in a Kuku Camper Van and planned my visit all out the night before - and it wasn't the easy process to figure out.
You can rent your own Kuku Camper Van with code TACOS5 for 5% off and unlimited miles!
Rules and Regulations:
There are lots of rules in place now to try to protect the sanctity of the wilderness near The Maroon Bells. You can see a complete list of all the regulations here - but below are some of the biggest obstacles:
I arrived around 6 AM and parked my van in one of many open spots. I did not do enough research beforehand to know that reservations were still required before the guard station opened at 8 AM, so I pulled in not far from the trailhead...
It was pitch black out and only about 35 degrees. I would be lucky to see the sunrise before I had to leave, so the temperature would remain pretty cold. I zipped into my Selk Bag and grabbed all of my camera gear.
My Selk Bag might be my favorite purchase. You can purchase your own warm and snuggly, wearable sleeping bag with code TACOS15!
There were tons of other photographers arriving with tripods and bags of gear. I looked quite silly walking around these professionals with just my phone and my GoPro, but that didn’t stop me. I knew I was in the right spot at the right time if they were here too! It was a quick walk from the trailhead to the lake about 2,000 yards.
I quickly snagged a spot along the fence and set up my GoPro for a time-lapse video. Sadly, this late in the year, the sun rises later and the surrounding mountains keep it from rising until even later.
See my video from my morning at The Maroon Bells in my video below!
There are several trails I could have walked, but I stayed near the lake fence mostly hoping to catch the first rays of sunlight on the mountains, but the sun never came out behind the clouds. Once I realized it wouldn't peep out for a while, I picked up my gear and walked around to get some different views.
The views were still stunning. The freshly snow-dusted mountains stood out in contrast to the grey clouds with their streaky white and black features. The leaves were just starting to change and shone bright yellow through the fog.
I took it all in, and captured it on both of my cameras before I had to get back in my Kuku Camper Van before 8 AM. I left so happy to have started my day in such a special way, and to be able to mark this Maroon Bells view off my list of wishlist Colorado locations.
On the way out, I stopped at a great viewpoint I hadn’t seen coming up the road in the complete dark. I pulled over and snagged a few pics before heading to work!
See more from my morning at The Maroon Bells in my YouTube video below.
See where else I went on this Fall road trip in my guides below:
Talkin' 'bout Tacos:
I'm Taylor, aka Tacos! I am sharing my journeys and experiences from across the world hoping to inspire travel and adventure in all who read!