This trail is one of the most heavily used trails in the Aspen area. Hikers, backpackers and horse travelers enjoy the wildflowers and access to the wilderness areas.
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
Maroon Bells from West Maroon Creek
The trail starts at the Maroon Lake parking area (9,580 ft). Follow the trail on the North side of the lake through a meadow to a Forest Service informational bulletin board. The right trail is the Maroon-Snowmass trail which climbs through the aspen trees to crater lake (10,076 ft). Take the left fork at the Crater Lake bulletin board. The West Maroon trail follows along Crater Lake on the right side, follows the stream for a short distance, goes through forest and then crosses a rock scree field. The first stream crossing is a little ways past the 3 mile point. The trail ascends on the other side passing through forest and willow before reaching another stream crossing in an open area. This crossing can be tricky during high spring runoffs. The trail on the other side is not always visible before crossing. The trail angles to the right and steadily ascends through willow and then tundra. This area is very open and the pass can be seen in the distance. The trail continues to climb steeply to the switchbacks and a long traverse that goes to the top of West Maroon Pass (12,500 ft). The views are spectacular on a clear day. From the top of the pass the trail descends on the other side to the East Fork Creek Trail and Schofield Park or Frigid Air Pass. It is 6 1/2 miles one-way and the average hiking time is 1-2 days. The trail is considered difficult and receives very heavy use.
West Maroon Creek and Pass are in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, so please educate yourself about Wilderness Ethics and rules.
Directions from Aspen: Drive 1/2 mile west of Aspen on Highway 82 and turn left onto Maroon Creek Road at the roundabout. Keep right and continue 9 1/2 miles to the Maroon Lake Parking Area.From mid-June through September, the Maroon Creek Road is closed from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and you will need to take a shuttle bus from Ruby Park in Aspen. The bus includes an informative guided tour of the valley. Contact the Roaring Fork Transit Agency at 925-8484 for more information.
June through September
(NOTE: Snow may obstruct the trail at high elevations through July. From Mid-June through September, the Maroon Creek Road is closed from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and you will need to take a shuttle bus from Ruby Park in Aspen. The bus includes an informative guided tour of the valley. Contact the Roaring Fork Transit Agenc)