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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

West Maroon Trail #1970, CO

no permit
101 4 0
Guide 4 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List CO > West
5 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Distance One Way 10.75 miles
Trailhead Elevation 13,107 feet
Elevation Gain 2,885 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,234 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 21.53
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
30  2018-08-28
Four Pass Loop -- Maroon Bells - Snowmass
19  2018-06-20 friendofThunderg
82  2013-08-04
6-Pass Maroon Bells Snowmass Loop
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jul, Aug, Jun, Sep
Sun  5:47am - 6:20pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Named place Nearby

Likely In-Season!
The trail starts at Maroon Lake and climbs through aspen trees to Crater Lake. Take the left fork at Crater Lake. After the lake the trail follows the stream for a short distance and then enters the forest. Upon emerging from the forest you will cross a rocky scree field. The first stream crossing is in a little over three miles. The trail climbs through forest and willow before reaching another stream crossing in an open area. After crossing, the trail climbs steadily through willow and then tundra. This area is very open and the pass can be seen in the distance. The trail continues to climb steeply through switchbacks followed by a long traverse that ends at the top of the Pass. The views are spectacular on a clear day. From the top of the pass the trail descends on the other side to the East Fork Creek Trail and Schofield Park into Crested Butte or Frigid Air Pass.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Review
    West Maroon Trail #1970
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    I think I may have just backpacked into the most scenic place in Colorado that I have ever been to. In fact, I think the beauty and general scenery of this area rivals Glacier in some aspects.

    We got a later start because the Gothic road was closed due to snow and I had to back track towards Crested Butte and take the Washington Gulch Road to Paradise Divide and then over to the trailhead. Typically, most people would take the Gothic road to Schofield Pass and then the trailhead. I knew as of June 13 there was snow blocking the Gothic road, but I gambled that a week later it would be open, I lost. No worries though, as the Washington Gulch road is a jaw dropping drive with amazing scenery. Paradise Divide at the top is an awesome area, with some unreal first come basis campsites (I would utilize one after my backpack).There were a few sketchy spots with some snow lingering, but nothing too crazy and not closed.

    After some quick final packing at the East Fork Trailhead, we were on the trail at 11:30, generally not an ideal time to be shooting for a pass at 12,500 feet, but there was still not a cloud in the sky when we started. The climb up to West Maroon Pass is spectacular and the trail is in superb condition. I could not stop taking pictures of the landscape behind me, as I climbed. This was actually a good thing for me though, as the climb really killed me. I don’t know if it was the long drive the night before and lack sleep, or maybe the elevation, but I was fatigued going up that pass. The pass was perhaps the highlight of the backpack. The views towards the Aspen direction were absolutely stunning. From the pass, it was a quick descent to Crater Lake. A large portion of this route was wet, muddy and little rocky there were two wet relatively swift crossings of the primary creek in that area too. I had to carry Cup for the second one and just wear my boots because the first crossing nearly swept her down stream. I am not sure if this creek was just a little choked with snow melt or some recent rain, but it was fast moving. The mud and wet crossings were worth it though, as Crater Lake is a photogenic little gem to hike to from that direction.

    You can only camp at designated/numbered campsites on Crater Lake and fires are not allowed anytime of the year. There are a total of 11 sites and we got site 9. At first the campsite did not pique much excitement in me, but then I realized that the rushing water noise was not a nearby creek, but a several hundred foot cascading waterfall coming down the sheer cliff overlooking my campsite. What a pleasant surprise! One of my most scenic backcountry sites to date! The usual camp chores and a little bit of a walk for water before dinner and then it was lights out for me and the pups by 8:00 p.m.

    We slept 11 wonderful hours before breaking camp and heading back for the West Maroon Pass. The energy level, strength and breathing was much better on the way out. I think sleeping at 10k helped with that. The wet boots after the crossings were a little bit annoying, but I took an extended break to dry the socks and insoles out a little. After the big climb, it was a quick an uneventful hike back to the East Fork Trailhead.

    Quick Notes:

    There are a lot more rules than normal for this wilderness area, so be sure to read them before you arrive. Some notable ones include where dogs can go, no fires at most lakes or above 11k and bear canisters required for overnight trips into the backcountry. You also have to fill out a permit and itinerary (free) at the trailhead. A little early for wildflowers, however, awesome by AZ standards. You can tell this place has some potential for amazing wildflowers when the season hits.

    A little early in season

    Permit $$
    no fees or permits reported

    if incorrect tell us about it

    Map Drive

    To hike
    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.
    page created by HAZ_Hikebot on Mar 10 2010 12:41 am
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