Postcarded at Maroon Bells

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...
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 Bells, Colorado
Maroon Lake, and Maroon Bells in the background
Frozen Lake, Maroon Bells
Frozen: Maroon Lake
Frozen Lake, Maroon Bells, Co
Up close: the frozen lake



  • 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)


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116 Comments on this post.
  • Rahul Bhatia
    11 January 2013 at 5:20 am

    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!!

    • dNambiar
      11 January 2013 at 8:31 pm

      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. 🙂
      Thank you so very much.
      Happy weekend.

  • R Niranjan Das
    11 January 2013 at 6:13 am
    • dNambiar
      11 January 2013 at 8:38 pm

      Thanks Nomad. You love all kinds of places, don't you? 🙂
      Hey, nice post on the churches of Goa, btw.

  • R.Ramakrishnan
    11 January 2013 at 6:57 am

    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.

    • dNambiar
      11 January 2013 at 8:42 pm

      It is. And I absolutely enjoyed your Yellowstone posts and all the other ones from that visit of yours.
      My pleasure. 🙂

  • Desi Traveler
    11 January 2013 at 7:29 am

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

    • dNambiar
      11 January 2013 at 8:47 pm

      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. 🙂
      I was fascinated by the frozen lake, most of all.:)
      It really is a gorgeous place.
      Thank you Desi Traveler.

  • Jidhu Jose
    11 January 2013 at 2:39 pm
    • dNambiar
      11 January 2013 at 8:49 pm

      Thanks Jidhu. Welcome here.
      You've good some superb pictures yourself. I checked out several posts on your photoblog. 🙂

  • Rajyalakshmi Vathyam
    11 January 2013 at 5:16 pm

    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!

    • dNambiar
      11 January 2013 at 9:02 pm

      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. 🙂

    • dNambiar
      11 January 2013 at 9:04 pm

      Raji, look up Fall photos of this place, ok.
      And have a great weekend. 🙂

  • Bikramjit
    12 January 2013 at 11:09 am

    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..


    • dNambiar
      13 January 2013 at 11:19 pm

      Thank you, Bikram. 🙂
      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. 😉

  • Anu
    12 January 2013 at 3:50 pm

    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 🙂 Din't know them earlier 🙂

    • dNambiar
      13 January 2013 at 11:27 pm

      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! 😉

      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. 😉

  • joshi daniel
    13 January 2013 at 10:10 am

    beautiful 🙂

    • dNambiar
      13 January 2013 at 11:29 pm

      Thank you Joshi. The place IS beautiful 🙂

  • Raj
    14 January 2013 at 6:31 am

    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.

    • dNambiar
      15 January 2013 at 12:33 am

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

  • magiceye
    14 January 2013 at 11:08 am

    Sure is awe inspiring!

    • dNambiar
      15 January 2013 at 12:34 am

      An extremely charming place, it was. 🙂

  • Kishan P
    14 January 2013 at 1:34 pm

    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!

    • dNambiar
      15 January 2013 at 1:24 am

      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. 🙂

  • Anil Nair
    16 January 2013 at 3:06 am

    Those are some really nice photos. I am so jealous 🙂

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

    Thanks =)

    • dNambiar
      16 January 2013 at 11:43 pm

      Thank you, Anil. 🙂 You seem to be in a very picturesque place too.

      Thank you for the invite to your blog. I see NZ in the url. I'd love to hear about NZ.

  • shooting star
    16 January 2013 at 4:44 pm
    • dNambiar
      16 January 2013 at 11:46 pm

      …and the way they're kept, maybe? 🙂

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

      I hope you're doing well, Sush. Happy New Year to you. 🙂

  • Anil Nair
    17 January 2013 at 3:26 am

    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.

    • dNambiar
      20 January 2013 at 6:33 am

      I'd love to see NZ.
      Please do write, I love to hear about the land. 🙂

  • Arti
    18 January 2013 at 12:39 pm

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

    • dNambiar
      20 January 2013 at 6:36 am

      Hey Arti, I hope you've been doing good.
      Maroon Bells IS an interesting name, isn't it! Yeah, it really is a very scenic destination.

  • Sneo
    19 January 2013 at 11:57 am

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

    • dNambiar
      20 January 2013 at 6:40 am

      It really is a beautiful place, Sneha.
      I just read about the project. Sounds interesting. I think I'll try it. Thank you for telling me about it, Sneha.

    • Sneo
      20 January 2013 at 5:44 pm

      anytime.. i just wrote a message to another postcrosser. fun stuff!

  • Saru Singhal
    19 January 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Guess I have missed a lot of lovely places in US. I have to catch up this summers. Lovely shots 🙂

    • dNambiar
      20 January 2013 at 6:42 am

      It's never too late, Saru. Go check out all these lovely places.
      Thank you so much, Saru. 🙂

  • Jay Singh
    22 January 2013 at 5:25 am

    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. 🙂

    Do check out my entry to Get Published. 🙂


    My Blog | My Entry to Indiblogger Get Published

    • dNambiar
      24 January 2013 at 1:11 am

      It's lovely, yeah. But it wasn't too cold when were visiting; even though there was some snow. Our Colorado holiday was one 'Rocky' treat. 😀

  • R.Ramakrishnan
    23 January 2013 at 1:19 pm
    • dNambiar
      24 January 2013 at 12:24 am

      Thank you so much, Mr. Ram for the appreciation and all the support. 🙂

  • Kusum Sanu
    23 January 2013 at 2:28 pm

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

    • dNambiar
      24 January 2013 at 12:26 am

      Thank you Kusum. 🙂
      What did you mean by cons here?

    • Kusum Sanu
      24 January 2013 at 3:50 am

      ha ha … sorry it is a typo. I meant 'icons' 🙂 I had been to this place once during fall and I loved it!

    • dNambiar
      24 January 2013 at 6:44 pm

      😀 I was surprised but kinda hoping I'd learn something new ;). Never mind, Kusum.
      You went there in the fall? So damn cool, girl. 🙂 Nothing like it, I'm sure.
      I went through some of your posts. Superb pictures there, I must say. 🙂

  • Pattu Raj
    24 January 2013 at 5:26 am

    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.

    • dNambiar
      24 January 2013 at 6:48 pm

      I wish I could see this place at height of Autumn, but it's unlikely to happen. 🙁

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

    24 January 2013 at 7:09 am

    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…

    • dNambiar
      24 January 2013 at 6:51 pm

      Thanks Manjulika. I hope you're having fun in Oslo. 🙂

  • Debopam
    24 January 2013 at 7:17 am
    • dNambiar
      24 January 2013 at 6:51 pm

      Thank YOU, Debopam. 🙂

  • AmitAag
    24 January 2013 at 8:33 am

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

    • dNambiar
      24 January 2013 at 6:52 pm

      Thanks a ton, Amit. And you're welcome. 🙂

  • Indrani Ghose
    24 January 2013 at 3:06 pm

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

    • dNambiar
      24 January 2013 at 6:56 pm

      Thank you Indrani.
      Do visit if you get a chance. It is such an enchanting place.

  • Akshay Kumar G
    24 January 2013 at 3:15 pm

    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. 🙂

    • dNambiar
      24 January 2013 at 7:00 pm

      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. 🙂

  • umashankar
    24 January 2013 at 4:09 pm

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

    • dNambiar
      24 January 2013 at 7:02 pm

      You're welcome, USP. A compliment from you means a whole lot. Thank you so very much.

  • Dheeraj Sharma
    24 January 2013 at 7:06 pm

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

    • dNambiar
      25 January 2013 at 7:57 pm

      I'm sure sights like this are not new to you, considering your trips to all those beautiful places in and around the Himalayas.

  • Meoww
    25 January 2013 at 1:26 am

    What beautiful designs made by the frozen water! Wow!

    • dNambiar
      26 January 2013 at 1:26 am

      Ah, you noticed that. Howz the winter at that part of the world? Still snowing there, Meoww?

  • magiceye
    25 January 2013 at 1:37 am

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

    • dNambiar
      26 January 2013 at 1:26 am

      Thank you Magiceye. 🙂

  • poonam
    25 January 2013 at 1:42 am

    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!

    • dNambiar
      26 January 2013 at 1:27 am

      Poonam, you should make some time to holiday. I hope to hear good news soon, ok. 🙂

  • Maliny
    25 January 2013 at 4:52 am

    beautiful capture ! first time on your blog i guess . .would love to read more . . following you 🙂

    • dNambiar
      26 January 2013 at 1:28 am

      Welcome here, Maliny. Thank you so much. And I would love to hear more from you. 🙂

  • Meenakshi Malhotra
    25 January 2013 at 8:17 am

    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.

    • dNambiar
      26 January 2013 at 1:35 am

      Isn't it something else in fall? 🙂 Ah, incredible!
      Welcome here, Meenakshi. 🙂

  • medha kapoor
    25 January 2013 at 3:37 pm

    I've always wanted to experience a frozen lake! Thanks for sharing, great post. 🙂

    • dNambiar
      26 January 2013 at 1:36 am

      I'm so glad I could show it to you, Medha. I still wish you get to see one in person. 🙂
      Thank YOU. 🙂

  • Anil Nair
    27 January 2013 at 4:33 am
    • dNambiar
      30 January 2013 at 11:59 pm

      I will, if you promise me that. 😀
      Just kidding, Anil, I'll come by. 🙂

  • Krishna
    29 January 2013 at 5:07 am

    beautiful place…

    • dNambiar
      30 January 2013 at 11:58 pm

      It is, Krishna, it really is. 🙂
      Thank you.

  • Rachna
    29 January 2013 at 6:59 am

    Superb pics!

    • dNambiar
      30 January 2013 at 11:57 pm

      Thanks a ton, Rachna. 🙂

  • ladyfi
    29 January 2013 at 6:20 pm

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

    • dNambiar
      31 January 2013 at 12:10 am

      It's a little piece of heaven for photographers like you. 🙂

  • Puru@ShadowsGalore
    30 January 2013 at 2:56 am

    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 🙂

    • dNambiar
      30 January 2013 at 11:55 pm

      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 😀

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

  • Arnab Maity
    30 January 2013 at 5:14 pm
    • dNambiar
      30 January 2013 at 11:51 pm

      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. 🙂 I'm trying to figure out why 'this post' 🙂
      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. 🙂

    • dNambiar
      30 January 2013 at 11:57 pm

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

  • Kalyan
    2 February 2013 at 2:06 pm

    simply beautifully captured shots…lovely place to be!

    • dNambiar
      2 February 2013 at 7:21 pm

      Thank you, Kalyan. 🙂

    5 February 2013 at 7:30 am

    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.

    • dNambiar
      11 February 2013 at 10:53 pm

      Thank you Seb. 🙂
      I just visited your blog; will be coming by that way again.

  • kalpana
    9 February 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Lovely post!

    • dNambiar
      11 February 2013 at 10:33 pm

      Thank you Kalpana.
      Long time, eh.

  • Ashwini
    10 February 2013 at 5:10 am

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

    • dNambiar
      11 February 2013 at 10:34 pm

      Thank you so much, Ashwini. I hope you are doing well. 🙂

  • the little princess
    15 February 2013 at 2:04 pm

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

    • dNambiar
      15 February 2013 at 11:34 pm

      Thank you so much, little princess. Welcome here. 🙂

  • Nisha
    16 February 2013 at 9:45 am

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

    • dNambiar
      19 February 2013 at 3:51 am

      Thank you Nisha.
      Climbing is prohibited here. I hear it's made of mud rock and so they break off easily. Apparently there have been some fatal accidents here.

  • Panchali
    22 February 2013 at 4:26 am

    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!!

    • dNambiar
      22 February 2013 at 7:13 pm

      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. 🙂

  • Kishan P
    22 March 2013 at 4:34 pm

    You had me at the first photograph!!!

    • dNambiar
      5 April 2013 at 12:44 am

      :)Wow place, alle?

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

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  • Ercotravels
    12 June 2013 at 11:02 am

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

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    20 June 2013 at 7:58 am

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  • Felicia
    15 December 2014 at 11:59 pm

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

    • dNambiar
      16 December 2014 at 11:22 am

      Yes Felicia, it is an awesome place, really. I wish I could see it when all that Aspen is in its Fall colour.
      Thank you so much. 🙂

  • Kokila Gupta
    31 March 2015 at 4:31 pm

    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 🙂

    • dNambiar
      31 March 2015 at 4:49 pm

      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.

    • Kokila Gupta
      1 April 2015 at 7:56 am

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

    • dNambiar
      2 April 2015 at 10:06 am

      You're welcome, my dear friend. 🙂

  • money goyal
    27 September 2016 at 7:00 am
  • Catching light and shadows on snow | Tipsy from the TRIP
    17 January 2017 at 7:23 pm

    […] The Maroon Bells travel story has been one of Tipsy from the TRIP’s all time top posts. You can read it here– Postcarded at Maroon Bells […]

  • LovelyGishi
    18 February 2017 at 6:22 pm

    So beautiful! How majestic are the mountains! 🙂

    • dNambiar
      19 February 2017 at 12:08 am

      Thank you for coming this way, Gishi.

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