When it comes to exploring the great outdoors, there is no better place to visit than Snowmass. This Colorado destination is typically known for exhilarating skiing conditions making for some of the best treks down the slopes. Snowmass also has an abundance of natural attractions that are simply a delight to see in person. Here are some of our favorite natural Snowmass attractions:
We highly recommend you bring your camera (or simply your phone nowadays) when visiting Snowmass and its many natural attractions. One of the most photographed attractions in the country is right here in Snowmass, the Maroon Bells. This natural attraction is the combination of Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak, which make up the Elk Mountains found just outside of town. The scenery these two peaks provide is simply unreal. These mountains get their maroon color from the mudstone that hardened into the rock now found here. In fact, it took millions of years for this mudstone to appear the way it is now. Your typical terrain surrounds the Maroon Bells, but the drive up features a beautiful display of wildflowers.
Over the years the popularity of Maroon Bells has ballooned; we currently receive over 300,000 visitors to the Maroon Bells each summer. Outdoor adventurers can also enjoy the many trails that surround the area. Only experienced hikers are recommended, as many of the trails are steep and difficult. Do not pass up on visiting this highly popular natural attraction found just outside Snowmass!
Nestled in between the Maroon Bells is the natural beauty of Maroon Lake. This incredible lake is the end result of water building in the area for millions of years, leaving behind this crystal blue lake. Maroon Lake is classified as an alpine lake due to the water forming from snowmelt. The water is so clear that a mirror image of the Maroon Bells can be seen when visiting. The local pine trees and other flora will change color with the seasons, giving you a different view each time you visit. We highly recommend visiting this area during the autumn season as the golden hue of the leaves will reflect off the water.
There are plenty of hiking trails surrounding the lake. Maroon Lake Scenic Trail takes you on a mile-long trek around the lake that is easy to traverse. For a longer trail, check out Maroon Creek Trail, which is 3.2 miles in length. Rocky slopes and aspen forests can be seen all around you. These trails are a great way to observe the local wildlife that frequents the lake. Local wildlife includes red foxes, mule deer, bighorn sheep, porcupines, and a multitude of local birds. Between the twin peaks and lake, a visit to the Maroon Bells area is a must during your stay in Snowmass.
If you book a rental car during your stay in Snowmass, you will have access to the many incredible attractions found just outside the city limits. Independence Pass is one such place that actually encompasses several natural attractions for incredible sightseeing. Independence Pass is a part of the Rockies Colorado Scenic Byway and the Continental Divide. The windy roads will lead you to popular sights including the Grottos Ice Caves and Devil’s Punch Bowl.
The Grottos Ice Caves are exactly as they sound: a connection of long caverns that feature frozen pools of water. When traveling down Independence Pass, you will find a marked area for the Grottos Day Use Area. Visitors will see how millions of years of water have shaped these incredible caverns. Hikers can explore them too; just be careful during the winter. The Devil’s Punch Bowl is the complete opposite of the Grottos Ice Caves. Instead, you will find it to be a beautiful natural swimming hole that is best enjoyed during the summer. The Devil’s Punch Bowl can also be accessed from Grottos Day Use Area around mile marker 51. Expect a 20-foot plunge when jumping from the side of the “bowl” that all cliff jumpers will enjoy. The area is surrounded by large boulders and local flora such as pine trees and more. Please exercise caution when choosing to jump into the Devil’s Punch Bowl.
More Natural Snowmass Attractions
As you can see, there are a variety of natural attractions waiting for you when visiting Snowmass. Make the most of your journey by reserving one of our vacation rentals in the area. You will be closer than ever to these incredible natural attractions!