Aspen to Crested Butte via East Maroon Trail #1983


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

This hiking trail to Crested Butte is 5 miles longer than the shortesttrail to Crested Butte, but it is most direct and the easiest to hike. It provides outstanding views of Pyramid Peak, scenic wooded walks, fields of wildflowers, several challenging river crossings and access to Copper Lake. For those choosing an overnight stay the camp sites in the vicinity of Copper Lake are ideal. The trail ends two miles past the small town of Gothic, seven miles from Crested Butte.Transportation into Crested Butte should be arranged in advance. Plan on starting this hike in the early morning as thunderstorms are common on the pass in the early afternoon. This trail is heavily used by those going to Crested Butte on horseback.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: During the summer season, access to the Maroon Bells Scenic Area is restricted during the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.. Please refer to Restrictions and Fee Description for more details.
Fees The Maroon Bells Scenic Area is a recreation fee area; there is a mandatory fee. Visitors wanting to visit the Bells during the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. will need to take the bus from Aspen Highlands (few exceptions apply**). You may park your vehicle at Aspen Highlands Village Parking Lot for a fee and travel via RFTA bus up the Maroon Valley. Vehicles visiting outside of the bus operating hours can access with a $10.00 recreation use fee* ** Exceptions to the motorized vehicle restriction * Vehicles with people with disabilities or with a valid Handicap placard or license plate * Vehicles with 11 people or more * Vehicles with infants that require a restraining child seat (not a booster seat) * Campers at Silver Bar, Silver Bell & Silver Queen Campgrounds * Holders with Special Use Permits issued by the Forest Service * Overnight Backpackers * Horse trailers
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 registrationwith them during their visit. There is no fee charged and no limit to the number of permits issued.
Restrictions: From mid-June through September, day use traffice is restricted on Maroon Creek Road between 8:00 a.m.—5:00 p.m. beyond the T-Lazy 7 Ranch. Take the shuttle from Aspen Highlands Ski Area, which leaves every 20 minutes; dogs are allowed onthe bus. For bus information, call RFTA at 970-925-8484
Closest Towns: Aspen

General Information

Directions: Located 6 1/2 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 : 
14 miles one-way (22.5 km)

  Elevation : 
8,709 feet (2655 m) - 11,800 feet (3596 m)