20 Jun 2017 Maroon Bells Colorado biking vacation
The Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake will knock your socks off on day 4 of your Colorado biking vacation. Mind blowing scenery and a 9 mile, 1000 vertical foot descent.
The Maroon Creek Valley is a classic glacial valley, with the unmistakable U profile. The valley is about 8 miles long stretching from the Roaring Fork River in the north and terminating with the namesake mountains as the end of the road on the south. A beautiful stretch of pavement runs down the middle, providing you a front row seat to this amazing show. We will shuttle from the Rio Grande Trail to the visitors center at the head of the valley, starting our ride at the lake, so that descending is the name of the game.
During early summer, the wildflowers are just flat out breathtaking, in the fall with the Aspens ablaze, tears might just well up due to the overwhelming beauty. The “Bells” are the 2 main peaks in the top picture, Maroon Peak, at 14,156 feet, is the 27th highest peak in Colorado; North Maroon Peak, at 14,014 feet, is the 50th highest. When you are at the lake you can also see 2 other “Fourteeners”, Capital Peak and Pyramid Peak.
Maroon Lake is located at an elevation of 9,580 and lies in a basin that was sculpted by glaciers during the last ice age. On calm days the lake is an absolute reflective mirror, doubling the grandeur of these really cool mountains. Nice thing about cameras these days, you don’t have to worry about running out of film. This is important because the Maroon Bells are reputedly the most photographed location in Colorado. That is quite a claim in a state that has such a ridiculous amount of scenery.
Maroon Creek tumbles out of the north end of the lake headed toward the Roaring Fork River. The stream has ridiculous clarity and is the definition of a Rocky Mountain Stream. Word has it that there are a few trout lurking in the cracks and crevasses.
Keep your eyes peeled, there is a resident Moose population that are often visible in the creek bottom.
These hunks of rock are part of the Elk Mountains, a sub range of the Rockies. The bells themselves are a somewhat unique geologic feature, being composed of sedimentary mudstone. This does make them quite geologically unstable and not to be climbed by the faint of heart.
During the summer months the road access is limited to a bus system and shuttles operated by Blazing Adventures. This makes for a biking paradise. In the fall, we have to share the road with cars, but the Forest Service does a great job of keeping the speed down and keeping it friendly for bikes. Not to mention that many days, bikes outnumber cars. We will shuttle to the top of the
Lets race back to Aspen, it is all down hill from here. The last one down is buying the beers at Aspen Brewing. Tonight we are lodging in the middle of this world class town, bring your stepping out clothes.
Details on this Colorado biking vacation.
Wilderness Voyageurs Bike Tours
103 Garrett Street, Ohiopyle, PA 15470