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.
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.
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.