Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness


ALERTS:

Bear canisters are required for all backpackers in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.
• Advance reservation permits are required for overnight stays in the Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness Overnight Permit Zones.

Get Permits

Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness was one of five areas in Colorado designated as wilderness in the original Wilderness Act of 1964. This Wilderness is located in Colorado within the Elk Mountains and spans the White River and Gunnison National Forests. The Wilderness area surrounds the extremely popular Maroon Bells Scenic Area which is a major access point for Wilderness travel.

Advance reservation overnight permits are required for the busiest areas of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness including Conundrum Hot Springs, Capitol Lake, Crater Lake, and the Four Pass Loop (including Snowmass Lake and Geneva Lake). 

The best way to plan for your trip and to be ready to reserve a permit is to understand where you plan to camp each night of your trip.  Use this Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Overnight Permit Zone Map to understand which areas require overnight permits.  If you (and your group) plan to camp in a permitted zone, you will need to reserve a spot in each zone that you plan to camp.  Permits are available at recreation.gov.   The best time to visit the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is July through September. From early October to late June, campsites, trails, and mountain passes are snow covered and the trailheads may be inaccessible. 

In the Conundrum Hot Springs, Crater Lake, and Capitol Lake Zones, the permit holder and group are required to camp in their reserved campsite. In all other zones, the permit holder and group should select a campsite within the zone that is already established, and is 70 big steps away from trails and water.

Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Overnight Permit Zone Map
Conundrum Hot Springs Designated Campsites
Crater Lake Zone Designated Campsites
Capitol Lake Zone Designated Campsites
Geneva Lake Zone Recommended Campsites

At a Glance

Reservations: Summer travel on Maroon Creek Road is restricted. Reservations are required to access the Maroon Bells Scenic Area by vehicle or Roaring Fork Transit Authority( RFTA) shuttle. Some Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness trailheads are within the Maroon Bells Scenic Area. See Maroon Bells Scenic Area for specific access and logistics.
Fees: Fees are charged for high season overnight stays in permitted zones of the Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness, and for parking and shuttle reservations at Maroon Bells Scenic Area.
Permit Info:
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions:

These regulations are in place to protect this special area:

  • Overnight permit required for overnight stays within the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Overnight Permit Zones.
  • Food, trash and any scented items must be stored in an IGBC approved bear resistant containerHuman food habituated bears are a threat to human safety. Visitors without approved bear resistant containers will be ticketed and required to leave. 
  • You must have a plan for human waste. Human waste bags (WAG) bags are highly recommended and are available free of charge at the Conundrum Creek and Snowmass Lake trailheads. WAG bags must be packed out. Learn more about how to use a WAG bag. If a WAG bag is not used, visitors are required to deposit solid human waste in holes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet (70 paces) from water, camp and trails.
  • Group size is limited to 10 with no more than 15 stock animals in one group. Large groups multiply impacts to the wilderness and disrupt the solitude of others.
  • Dogs are prohibited in the Conundrum Creek Valley from Silver Dollar Pond to Triangle Pass, including the hot springs.  Everywhere else, dogs must be leashed.
  • Campfires are prohibited at all designated sites at Conundrum Hot Springs, Capitol Lake, Crater Lake and above 10,800 feet including Snowmass Lake. Campfires consume wood, accumulate trash, kill fragile alpine vegetation, sterilize the soil and scar the land. Lightweight camp stoves are recommended.
  • Campers must camp in designated sites at Conundrum Hot Springs, Copper Lake, Crater Lake, Geneva Lake, Capitol Lake and Thomas Lakes.  Everywhere else campers should set up more than 100 feet from lakes, streams and trails and use previously impacted campsites.  Camp out of sight of others and away from fragile areas.
  • As with all designated Wilderness, motorized and mechanized equipment is prohibited including bicycles, motorbikes, chainsaws, ATVs, carts, drones, hang gliders and paragliders. This equipment is prohibited to provide visitors with a primitive recreational experience and to preserve outstanding opportunities for solitude.
Closest Towns: Aspen, CO
Water: Filter and treat all water
Restroom: No restrooms in Wilderness; see Restrictions
Information Center: Supervisor's Office: 
900 Grand Ave.
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
970-945-2521

General Information

Directions:
Popular Trails 
  • Four Pass Loop: The famous Four Pass Loop backpacking route in the Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness is an international treasure.  This 26 mile (42 km) circuit climbs over four mountain passes higher than 12,000ft, past alpine lakes and among high Elk Range peaks.  
  • Conundrum Hot Springs: The Conundrum Creek Trail generally parallels Conundrum Creek weaving its way up the valley through the woods and meadows to three river crossings before the hot springs. 
  • View a comprehensive list of Maroon Bells Wilderness Trails

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Day Hiking

Backpacking

Horse Riding

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Area/Length : 
8.5 miles one-way

  Latitude : 
39.119213

  Longitude : 
-106.856

  Elevation : 
8,700' - 11,200'