Most of us have heard varying advice. Go for the sunrise. Go for the fall colors.
If you constrain your visit because of such rules-of-thumb, you'll miss the glorious partly-leafed-out springtime aspen. You'll miss some interesting afternoon lighting - such as of the aspen grove and slopes to the north of Maroon Lake. Partly leafed-out Aspen can appear translucent-green to almost-golden in such back-lighting on a May-June afternoon.
Is this the most beautiful sight ever? Maybe for some - but it isn't even our favorite sight in Colorado. Don't know that that favorite sight is - but it could be sunrise in the Garden of the Gods, some areas in Rocky Mountain National Park, the views around our Colorado digs, Indian Peaks Wilderness, or - just perhaps - Sylvan Lake. Beyond that, spots along the Andes in Ecuador-Chile-Argentina such as Lago Paimun; Iguazu Falls; the Sicilian coast near Taormina; Abandze Castle, Lake Bosumtwi and Twifu Prasu (Ghana, a personal fave); Sydney Harbour; Cape Cod in winter; quiet coves in the Caribbean; and others come to mind. But this is a moot issue, anyway. No doubt that the Maroon Bells area *is* very nice.
One rule of thumb that I haven't heard about this place, which I believe to be true. If you are in the area for long enough - visit on at least a couple of sunrises - and for at least one late afternoon. The differing lighting, clouds, wind levels and effects on reflections in Maroon Lake, wildlife possibly passing through, etc. will make each visit unique.
Quiet conversations with fellow visitors, sharing impressions of the place, can also be rather enjoyable - and add to the overall effect of this place.
There's other advice. Respect the environment. Watch out for wildlife. If you hike - be prepared. And: *know* what all that means. Those mantras - deserve our respect and beyond. Fortunately, all the people we saw there *were* respecting the environment - and enjoying it immensely.
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