Maroon-Snowmass #1975


ALERT: Due to recent bear activity, bear canisters are required for all backpackers in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.

Starting from the Snowmass Creek Trailhead, the trail climbs into the aspen trees. The trail climbs on the east side of Snowmass Creek for about 6 miles. It continues past a large beaver pond and soon crosses Snowmass Creek at a second beaver pond. Sandals are recommended for this stream crossing. The trail then continues south climbing several switchbacks before entering the forest. As the trail levels you will come to a wooden sign post. Continue straight ahead to get to Snowmass Lake. Take the left fork to remain on the Maroon-Snowmass Trail. The trail descends through forest and crosses Snowmass Creek. The trail ascends into the valley and begins a steep climb to Buckskin Pass. From the top of Buckskin Pass the trail drops steeply into a vast alpine meadow. The trail descends steeply through Minnehaha Gulch, which provides excellent camping, and then continues its steep descent to the junction at Crater Lake. You can camp in designated sites at Crater Lake or continue to the left towards Maroon Lake.

View a downloadable trail descriptions and maps: 


SAFETY: Remember climbing is dangerous, even deadly! 

Check out Colorado Fourteeners Initiative YouTube Channel to learn more.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: During the summer season, access to the Maroon Bells Scenic Area where this trail starts, is restricted during the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 
Fees The Maroon Bells Scenic Area, where this trail begins, is a recreation fee area; there is a mandatory fee. 
Permit Info: Each party overnighting in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is required to self-register at the trailhead and to carry a copy of the registration with them during their visit. There is no fee charged for the registration and no limit to the number of permits issued.
Usage: Light
Restrictions: The Maroon-Snowmass Trail is within the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness where restrictions apply.
  • Limit group sizes to 10 people and 15 stock/pack animals.
  • SANITATION - bury human waste 100 feet from water and 6 inches in the soil.
Closest Towns: Aspen, CO
Water: No potable water.
Restroom: Bury all human waste 6 inches deep and 100' from water or trails.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Aspen-Sopris Ranger District, 970-963-2266

General Information


Located 10 miles southwest of Aspen, Colorado, on Maroon Creek Road. From Highway 82 take the Maroon Creek Road exit at the roundabout on the West edge of town. Follow Maroon Creek Road to the Maroon Bells Welcome Station.

Coming to Aspen via Independence Pass: Take Highway 82 West from downtown Aspen 1 mile to the roundabout (rotary). From the roundabout, take Maroon Creek Road 4.7 miles to the Maroon Bells Welcome Station. You will pass Aspen High school and Aspen Highlands Ski Area on the way to the Maroon Bells Welcome Station, Independence Pass (Highway 82) is normally open from Memorial Day through mid-October, weather dependant. If you are planning an event during these times, please call the Colorado Department of Transportation Hotline for road updates at (877) 315-7623.

Coming to Aspen via Glenwood Springs: Take Highway 82 for 40 miles to the roundabout (rotary). From the roundabout, take Maroon Creek Road 4.7 miles to the Welcome Station.



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Areas & Activities


  Area/Length : 
To Snowmass Lake: 8.3 miles (13.36 km); to Maroon Lake: 17 miles one-way (27.37 km)

  Elevation : 
8,400 feet (2560 m) - 12,500 feet (3810 m)


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