Maroon Creek Road, Aspen, Colorado
Mark Thompsen advises hitting the gradual 9-mile Maroon Creek Road to the Maroon Bells in the spring before the road is opened to cars. (It’s nice in fall as the aspens are changing colors, too.) After that climb, which passes the T-Lazy-7 Ranch and its horses, you’ll see Pyramid Peak come into view and know that you’re almost there to Maroon Lake, a pool of glacial water at the base of the famous 14,000-foot peaks. As Thompsen says, “it’s awesome.” And, of course, you can bomb back down to Aspen.