It is said that no place in Colorado is more beautiful, or more photographed, than the Maroon Bells from Maroon Lake. The views from here are world-class, and the whole area is also quite birdy, from the road in to the trail around the lake at the end. Abundant traffic along the road during periods when it is open to personal vehicles makes birding the mornings and evenings along the road itself a bit of a pain. Better would be to drive to the end of the road, and walk the trails; watch for American Dipper, Pine Grosbeak, Red Crossbill, Gray and Steller’s Jay, and MacGillivray’s Warbler, among others. Black Swifts nest way up in the mountains above the lake, but can sometimes be seen high in the sky foraging. You won’t be able to miss the chipmunks and golden-mantled ground squirrels.
Habitat: Aspen Grove, Mixed-Conifer Forest
Directions: From Aspen, go west on CO 82 until you reach the roundabout. Go all the way around until you come to the Maroon Creek exit on the south side of the roundabout. Access to Maroon Lake is restricted from Memorial Day until Labor Day; the road is closed in winter. The only daytime access to the area (9am-4:30pm) is by bus. Busses depart every 20 minutes from the Rubey Park bus station and will drop you off or pick you up anywhere along the return route. You still have access by car before 8:30 am and after 5pm. Call 970-925-8484 to confirm the schedule. Maroon Lake is 9.3 miles from the roundabout.
Delorme: 45 C7
Roads of Colorado: 84 A2
Dates of Access: Closed during the winter months, closed to cars 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM; use the bus
Hours: Closed to cars 9:00AM - 4:30PM; use the bus
Ownership: US Forest Service
Restrictions: closed to personal vehicles 9 AM - 4:30 PM; be careful of traffic along the road
Parking: Roadside and parking areas
Handicapped Access: Limited car birding, handicap accessible views of the lake and the Maroon Bells