Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness - White River

Conundrum trail with one hiker in the distance.

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.

At a Glance

Permit Info:
  • Conundrum Permit Requirement: A permit is required for overnight stays in Conundrum Hot Springs Zone. This permit must be acquired in advance at
  • For all other overnight trips to the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness registration is required at the trailhead.
Usage: Medium-Heavy

The following regulations apply to the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness and are in place to protect this special area:

  • Overnight permit required (order) for overnight stays within the Conundrum Hot Springs Zone (map).
  • Food, refuse 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, within ¼ mile of Crater Lake and above 10,800 feet. Campfires consume wood, accumulate trash, kill fragile alpine vegetation, sterilize the soil and scar the land.
  • Campers must camp in designated sites at Conundrum Hot Springs, Copper Lake, Crater Lake, Geneva Lake, and Capitol Lake.  Everywhere else campers should set up more than 100 feet from lakes, streams and trails and use previously impacted campsites.  Help provide a feeling of solitude, camp out of sight of others and 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, Colorado; Crested Butte, Colorado
Water: Treat all non-potable water before consuming.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Aspen-Sopris Ranger District

General Information

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


Day Hiking


Horse Riding

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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