Maroon-Snowmass Trailhead, #1975


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

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.

SAFETY: Remember climbing is dangerous, even deadly! 

Check out Colorado Fourteeners Initiative YouTube Channel to learn more.

At a Glance

Permit Info: A permit is required for overnight stays in Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Overnight Permit Zones. This permit must be acquired in advance at recreation.gov. 
For all other overnight trips to the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, registration is required at the trailhead.  
Usage: Light
Restrictions:

Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness regulations protect this special place:

  • 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:

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 dependent. 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.


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Mountain Climbing

Day Hiking

Backpacking

Horse Riding

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

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

  Latitude : 
39.199139

  Longitude : 
-107.000968

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