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 about 12 miles southwest of Aspen. Both peaks are fourteeners. Maroon Peak, at 14,163 feet, is the 27th highest peak in Colorado. North Maroon Peak, at 14,019 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.
This was our first morning location on Rick Louie’s fall color tour he holds every year along with Chris Nitz, two buddies that I have been on a few trips with before with the NxNW crew. Joining us were Jerry Denham and James Knox. I will have more on the tour later, as it was an amazing time but I wanted to get this first post up from the tour up to kick off the weekend.
The adventure to photograph this location starts with a wake-up call about 2:30 in the morning. The drive is not far but the early arrival is necessary to get a good spot to along the pond. We arrived at around 4am and hiked back to the pond in the darkness. From that point, you pick your spot along the pond and then the waiting game begins, 3 hours till sunrise. It sounds crazy but within an hour virtually every spot along the pond was taken over by tripods, luckily we had our spots secured with the early arrival. We shot a few astro shots while waiting, although with the influx of people all using headlamps and flashlights trying to get good results was difficult. As sunrise came closer the place was crazy, my guess was at least a couple hundred people or more all fighting for a spot for their tripods, for most it was too late.
As the sun rose and hit the peaks it was amazing, the gold Aspens and the warm glow of the sun made the 2:30am wake-up and hours-long wait in the freezing cold well worth it.
Thanks! Rick and Chris!
Thanks for stopping and have a great weekend, stay safe if you are in the Hurricane Zone!