Maroon Bells

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Maroon Peak
Maroon Bells Aspens.JPG
Maroon Bells With Aspen, September 2003
Elevation 14,163 ft (4,317 m) NAVD 88[1]
Prominence 2,316 ft (706 m)[2]
Listing Colorado Fourteener
Colorado 4000 meter summits
Maroon Peak is located in Colorado
Maroon Peak
Maroon Peak
Location Gunnison / Pitkin counties, Colorado, U.S.
Range Rocky Mountains
Coordinates 39°04′15″N 106°59′20″W / 39.07083°N 106.98889°W / 39.07083; -106.98889Coordinates: 39°04′15″N 106°59′20″W / 39.07083°N 106.98889°W / 39.07083; -106.98889[1]
Topo map USGS Maroon Bells
First ascent 1890's by C. Wilson
Easiest route Exposed scramble, class 4
North Maroon Peak
Elevation 14,014 ft (4,271 m) NGVD 29[3]
Prominence 214 ft (65 m)[3]
Parent peak Maroon Peak
Coordinates [4]
Topo map USGS Maroon Bells
Easiest route Exposed scramble, class 4

The Maroon Bells are two peaks in the Elk Mountains, Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak, separated by about a third of a mile. The mountains are on the border between Pitkin County and Gunnison County, Colorado, United States, about 12 miles southwest of Aspen. Both peaks are fourteeners. Maroon Peak, at 14,156 feet, is the 27th highest peak in Colorado; North Maroon Peak, at 14,014 feet, is the 50th highest. The view of the Maroon Bells to the southwest from the Maroon Creek valley is one of the most famous scenes in Colorado, and is reputed to be the "most-photographed spot in Colorado" and one of Colorado's premier scenic overlooks. The peaks are located in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness of White River National Forest.[5][6]

A US Forest Service sign on the access trail refers to these mountains as "The Deadly Bells" and warns would-be climbers of "downsloping, loose, rotten and unstable" rock that "kills without warning". Unlike other mountains in the Rockies that are composed of granite and limestone, the Bells are composed of metamorphic sedimentary mudstone that has hardened into rock over millions of years. Mudstone is weak and fractures readily, giving rise to dangerously loose rock along almost any route. The mudstone is responsible for the Bells' distinctive maroon color. The Bells got their "deadly" name in 1965 when eight people died in five separate accidents.

Their proximity to Aspen makes the Maroon Bells an accessible tourist destination. Although motorized vehicle access is limited, bus tours operate throughout summer.[7]

Maroon Lake (9,580') occupies a basin that was sculpted by Ice-Age glaciers and later dammed by landslide and rockfall debris from the steep slopes above the valley floor.

Maroon Lake and Maroon Bells, pre-dawn photo, 19 September 2012.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Maroon Peak". NGS data sheet. U.S. National Geodetic Survey. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  2. ^ "Maroon Peak, Colorado". Retrieved 2013-05-17. 
  3. ^ a b "North Maroon Peakl, Colorado". Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  4. ^ "North Maroon Peak". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  5. ^ "Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness". Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area". Colorado Wilderness. Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  7. ^ Stay Aspen Snowmass Maroon Bells Information

External links[edit]