Moose in no hurry to move from Maroon Lake, loop trail closed
The Scenic Loop Trail adjacent to Maroon Lake had a rare closure lasting a second day Wednesday because of moose.
Moose sightings and trail closures aren’t unusual, said Peggy Jo Trish, longtime supervisor of the Maroon Lake facilities for the Aspen Sopris Ranger District. What is unusual this time is that two bull moose have hung around the lake for an extended time.
“They’ve taken up residency at the end of the lake,” she said.
Single-day trail closures because of moose are common. It’s happened about once per week since Memorial Day weekend, Trish said. Longer closures are rare.
Too many visitors wanted to wander too close to the animals and take pictures Tuesday, so the Forest Service closed the loop trail. They had hosts take visitors who wanted to hike the Crater Lake Trail in groups of five at a time. The Crater Lake and Scenic Loop Trails run parallel to one another for a ways and the Forest Service wanted to keep trail users safe — and moving.
On Wednesday, the loop trail remained closed. Trish said she needed to keep her staff doing assigned task so there weren’t any guided passages. The Crater Lake Trail remained open and hikers were on their own. Hikes were advised to stay 200 yards away from the moose.
The Crater Lake Trail is never closed, Trish said, because it’s the gateway to the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.
One large and two smaller bull moose, all of them lovelorn, have been hanging out at Crater Lake without the company of a cow for a couple of years. One cow was killed in a previous year after getting struck by a vehicle. Another cow had a broken leg and disappeared.
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Grace Wesseling is an animal lover, a cheerleader of seven years and another soon-to-be graduate of Bridges High School, class of 2021.